PH pledges commitment for green recovery, blue economy amid climate change threats

Published December 2, 2021, 4:42 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The Philippine government on Thursday, Dec. 2, joined 10 other East Asian nations that pledged their support and commitment to invest in the “blue economy” or ocean governance and follow green recovery plans and programs as a roadmap for 2030 as a response to the threats of climate change.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Sec. Roy Cimatu represented the country during the virtual 7th Ministerial Forum of the 2021 East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress and expressed the country’s affirmation with the Preah Sihanouk Ministerial Declaration.

The Preah Sihanouk Ministerial Declaration reaffirms commitments made in previous Ministerial Forums such as in Malaysia in 2003, which aims to work towards sustainable development of the region’s coasts and oceans under the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA); in the Philippines in 2009 which geared towards strengthening the implementation of ICM for sustainable development and climate change adaptation; and in Vietnam in 2015, among others, which focused on aligning the region’s strategies in the SDS-SEA with global goals and targets.

The forum, with the theme “Advancing our Sustainable Development Agenda: Road to 2030 for Healthy Ocean, People, and Economies,” was hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia and participated in a historic first by representatives of the Philippines, Cambodia, China, North Korea, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Singapore, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.


In his speech, Cimatu said the Philippines “reiterates its firm commitment to the implementation of the PEMSEA roadmap 2030 and the SDS-SEA Implementation Plan 2022 to 2027.”

PEMSEA stands for the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia Roadmap to 2030 while SDS-SEA means Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia.

Cimatu also said the country vowed to “urge all Country Partners to embrace the Preah Sihanouk Ministerial Declaration on building coastal resilience to climate change impacts in East Asia and to contribute in advancing the global sustainable development agenda.”

The country’s environment chief believes that the East Asian Region, being the most vulnerable region in the world to climate change, “needs to enhance strategic partnership under the existing mechanism which the PEMSEA provides.”

“We need to maximize this shared responsibility among us country and non-country partners to strengthen such action-oriented regional platform,” he added.

For Cimatu, PEMSE offers “a pathway for establishing meaningful partnerships, effective follow-up and review and inclusive sharing of experiences across stakeholders and countries.”

In his speech, Cimatu also cited the country’s efforts in terms of green recovery and blue economy, which includes the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay as well as the rehabilitation of the Boracay Island.

He also took pride in the country’s adoptation of the the national plan of action for the prevention, reduction and management of marine litter to provide a blueprint for the reduction of marine litter toward zero waste in Philippine waters by 2040.