July 26, 2022
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 face 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 project importance to sustainable development. LMEs in ASEAN are a huge source of livelihood and jobs for struggling fishers.
The workshop aimed to inform the stakeholders from the national and regional government agencies, private sector, non-government organizations and academe about the project and to validate/gather inputs to the project concept that 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 MPAs and marine corridors within selected Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) in the ASEAN region for the conservation of globally significant biodiversity and support for 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 MPA and the management of its 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 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 has supported sustainable governance of 23 large marine ecosystems (LMEs) involving collaborative of work of many countries. The world’s oceans is known to be divided into 66 LMEs.
This area covers 7.7 million square kilomters 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. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)
PHOTO General characteristics of an LME. NOAA