The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) held an inception workshop as it prepares for an extensive GEF-funded ASEAN collaborative project on Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) which faces serious threats amid their vast marine resources.
The project “Effectively Managing Networks of Marine Protected Areas in Large Marine Ecosystems (LME) in ASEAN” (ENMAPS) is being deliberated for implementation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Director Al Orolfo of the DENR Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS) joined the National Inception Workshop at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Quezon City, Metro Manila on July 13, 2022, stressing the project’s importance to sustainable development.
LMEs in ASEAN are a huge source of livelihood and jobs for struggling fishers.
The workshop validated data and gathered inputs from stakeholders from the national and regional government agencies, private sector, non-government organizations and academe. The project’s concept will be elaborated during the full proposal development.
The Coastal and Marine Biodiversity of ASEAN is known to have 20% of the world’s seagrass beds, a third of world’s mangrove forests with 45 to 75 true species, and a third of the world’s coral reefs with more than 75% of species of coral and 40% of of fish species.
ENMAPS will involve at least five countries in ASEAN including Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and South China Sea.
The workshop also provided the opportunity to discuss the project partners’ potential role and contribution in project implementation.
The ASEAN ENMAPS project will be executed by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) in collaboration with the DENR’s Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) under the Global Environment (GEF) Facility funding.
It aims to develop and improve the management of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine corridors within selected LMEs in the ASEAN region for the conservation of globally significant biodiversity. It will support sustainable fisheries and other ecosystem goods and services.
As the oversight office for foreign-assisted and special projects, FASPS Director Orolfo delivered the closing message highlighting the importance of the establishment of MPAs. He stressed the need for the management of this ASEAN network as an effective approach to address challenges such as climate change, marine pollution, and biodiversity loss.
“The project is expected to complement our existing efforts in the Philippines towards productive partnerships with the neighboring countries in terms of scaling up management under the regional MPAN (marine protected area network) approach,” said Orolfo.
GEF has been concerned that the world’s oceans have been reaching their ecological carrying capacity, a limit to their ability to produce fish for food.
“More than 75% of world fish stocks are already fully exploited, overexploirted, depleted or recovering from depeletion,” according to GEF website.
GEF jas supported sustainable governance of 23 LMEs involving collaborative work of many countries. The world’s oceans is known to be divided into 66 LMEs.
This area covers 7.7 million square kilometers with 173,000 kilometers of coastline.
LMEs are huge marine areas extending beyond boundaries among countries which is why collaboration is important here.
ENMAPS has a cost of $77.596 million. Of this, $12.548 million consists of GEF grant.