Oliver Bugarin 10 0 0 5 min to read

DFA executive: Urgent action is required due to the oceans’ dire situation

In light of the critical condition of the seas as a result of marine pollution and climate change, the Philippine government called on stakeholders to adopt prompt, science-based efforts toward “sustainable, healthy, and clean oceans” on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro discussed the need to boost scientific and technical cooperation to create “transformative” solutions to safeguard and conserve the maritime environment at the 2022 East Asia Summit (EAS) Workshop on Maritime Cooperation, which was hosted by Manila.

The difficulties facing our marine ecosystem demand immediate attention, she said, especially as our EAS region is a global hotspot for marine biodiversity. “Although we face regional issues and global challenges, including as this ongoing epidemic and the effects of climate change,” she said in a speech.

By 2050, according to reports cited by Lazaro, there will be more plastic than fish, and if people do nothing, the waters would become warmed and acidified.

If this “environmental calamity” persists, she sounded the alarm for even non-coastal states.

Despite being island nations, she stated that they will suffer from the long-term economic consequences of the disruption of the world’s supply and value networks as well as the decreased flow of trade brought on by this anticipated environmental catastrophe.

“All of us gathered here in this summit would bear the same repercussions of our wanton disregard of our maritime resources and ecosystems, from the Indo-Pacific area to the East Asia seas,” she continued.

From August 30 to September 1, 2022, there will be a three-day EAS Workshop on Maritime Cooperation: Technical and Scientific Cooperation Towards Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Oceans.

A situation on the oceans of East Asia and the Indo-Pacific, habitat restoration, climate change adaptation, science-based policy making on marine sustainability, solid waste management, and other topics would also be included in the discussions.

A byproduct of the Manila Plan of Action to Advance the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative 2018–2022, the workshop.

The forum was attended by representatives and subject matter experts from 16 of the 18 EAS participating nations.

Daniel Espiritu, Assistant Secretary for Asean Affairs at the Department of Foreign Affairs, said, “As we move toward a new action plan for 2023-2027, we hope that this activity can serve as a strategic platform to further reinforce our maritime cooperation in the area.”

collaborating with others

Espiritu claimed that because the Philippines is an archipelago, marine pollution, particularly the ever-increasing microplastic trash, is a “major” problem.

“Nearly 80% of marine pollution worldwide is now made up of marine microplastics. “Now, ang laki ng implication nito sa atin kasi nai-ingest ito ng fishes at marine life, and then nadi-disrupt ‘yong life and reproduction nila (It has a huge implication because the fishes ingest them, disrupting ‘yong life and reproduction nila), which of course, has a deep impact on the sustainability of our marine economy

Korean Embassy Consul General Lee Kyoo Ho, one of the delegates, stated that Seoul would continue to work with the Philippines to address this issue and that Seoul is actually in the process of creating a marine litter-collecting ship for the nation.

According to Lee, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources would work with the Korea International Cooperation Agency to conduct a marine litter management effort worth USD 7.7 million.

He informed reporters outside the facility that “Korea is already in the process of building the ship.”

“We will then turn it over to the Philippine Coast Guard and give capacity-building training after that. The project’s second phase would focus on how to handle gathered marine debris, he said.

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