Welcome to the PEMSEA Blue Economy Bulletin for June 2020. The first half of 2020 saw the rise of COVID-19 throughout the world, including the East Asian region. This has slowed down the pace of the implementation of blue economy plans and programs, but at the same time has provided the space to recalibrate economies to better utilize blue economy approaches. PEMSEA has continued to work during this period, and a new Secretary General has been named for the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments (PNLG), who has pledged to help boost blue economy implementation in the region at the local level. We also share a paper on integrating blue economy principles into the governing framework of Timor-Leste, and progress in the ATSEA-2 project, which is working towards achieving a blue economy in the Arafura and Timor seas.
Outside of PEMSEA, new reports on global fisheries and aquaculture and on seagrass meadows highlight the crucial importance the sustainability component of the blue economy has for the environment and human health and livelihoods. One example of increasing sustainability is the blue swimming crab fisheries of Thailand. The seafood industry in Viet Nam has been encouraged to diversify its products.
A new toolbox released by BlueHealth serves to help asses the impacts of urban planning in an integrated framework. Integrated thinking is evident in Timor-Leste, where guidelines have been developed to ensure marine mammal eco-tourism is sustainable for wildlife and coastal communities. Meanwhile, the Philippines has developed an action plan for sustainable consumption and production and a shift to a more circular economy, and the GEF Council has approved $700 million for use in urgent environmental action during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Included near the end of this email are virtual events that one can participate in during the month of July, and recordings of past ocean webinars. Follow the latest updates on blue economy and coastal sustainable development in East Asia on Facebook and Twitter (@PEMSEA). We welcome your feedback, and please let us know if there are other blue economy topics you would like to see in future newsletters and programs.