Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 56: Sulu-Celebes Sea

  • Major intergovernmental agreements and actors
  • Action programmes, strategies, and research
  • State of the regional environment
  • GEF Projects in the region
  • Other actors and initiatives

    Major intergovernmental agreements and actors

    UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP
    Within the Water Resources Programme under its Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, the UN ESCAP organizes seminars and workshops on various issues relating to water resources, including: Water resources assessment; Integrated water resources development and management; Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; River basin development and management; Promotion of infrastructure development and investment for drinking water supply and sanitation; Water pricing and promotion of private investment in the water sector; Water demand management, water saving and economic use of water; and Mitigation of water-related natural disasters, particularly flood loss reduction.

    Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN
    ASEAN was established in 1967 and has ten member countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The ASEAN Declaration states that the aims and purposes of the Association are: to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region through joint endeavours in the spirit of equality and partnership in order to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations, and to promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries in the region and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter. In 1995, the ASEAN Heads of States and Government re-affirmed that "Cooperative peace and shared prosperity shall be the fundamental goals of ASEAN." See also

    UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, ROAP
    Working closely with the Division of Regional Co-operation and Representation in UNEP's Nairobi-based headquarters, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) looks to adopt global environmental policy to regional priorities and needs. It acts as a catalyst, co-ordinator, facilitater and mobilizer of resources. It puts particular emphasis on building partnerships with regional and sub-regional intergovernmental fora, other UN agencies, national governments, NGOs, the private sector, academic and research institutions, and civil society, and the media. See also here.

    East Asian Seas Regional Coordinating Unit
    Information on the UNEP East Asian Seas Programme can be found on the web site of the Coordinating Unit, which is located with ROAP. The Unit is the co-ordinating body for the East Asian Seas Action Plan (see below).

    Financial institutions

    Asian Development Bank, ADB
    The Asian Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution, was founded in 1966 by 31 member governments to promote the social and economic progress of the Asia-Pacific region. It now has 58 member countries - 42 from within the region and 16 non-regional. ADB gives special attention to the needs of the smaller or less-developed countries, and to regional, subregional, and national projects and programs. Promoting sustainable development and environmental protection is a key strategic development objective of the Bank. (See also about environment.) To fulfill this objective, the Bank (i) reviews the environmental impacts of its projects, programs, and policies; (ii) encourages DMC governments and executing agencies to incorporate environmental protection measures in their project design and implementation procedures, and provides technical assistance for this purpose; (iii) promotes projects and programs that will protect, rehabilitate, and enhance the environment and the quality of life; and (iv) trains Bank and DMC staff in, and provides documentation on, environmental aspects of economic development. The Asian Development Fund (ADF) is the concessional lending window of the Bank.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment
    The Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment for 1994-1998 has the following five objectives:

    • to respond to specific recommendations of Agenda 21 requiring priority action in ASEAN;
    • to introduce policy measures and promote institutional development that encourage the integration of environmental factors in all developmental processes both at the national and regional levels;
    • to establish long term goals on environmental quality and work towards harmonised environmental quality standards for the ASEAN region;
    • to harmonise policy directions and enhance operational and technical cooperation on environmental matters, and undertake joint actions to address common environmental problems; and
    • to study the implications of AFTA on the environment and take steps to integrate sound trade policies with sound environmental policies.

    Despite the impacts of the recent economic crisis on the natural resources and environmental conditions, the ASEAN Environment Ministers at their Fifth Informal Meeting in April 2000 discussed the importance of keeping their commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development. Hence, to move forward towards the future goals and directions that the ASEAN leaders expressed in ASEAN Vision 2020 and the Hanoi Plan of Action (adopted in 1997 and 1998 respectively) the Ministers adopted the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on the Environment (SPAE) for 1999-2004. It consists of the key activities to be implemented by ASOEN (ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment) and its subsidiary bodies over the next five years, including the areas of coastal and marine environment, nature conservation and biodiversity, multilateral environmental agreements, management of land and forest fires and haze, and other environmental activities.

    Partnership in Environmental Management for for the Seas of East Asia, PEMSEA
    A GEF project, focusing on "building partnerships within and among governments of the region, as well as across public and private sectors of the economy. The goal is to reduce or remove barriers to effective environmental management, including inadequate or inappropriate policies, disparate institutional and technical capabilities and limited investment in environmental facilities and services". PEMSEA is "based on two management frameworks developed and tested in an earlier GEF Project: Integrated coastal management, addressing land-water interactions and the impacts of human activity in coastal areas; and risk assessment/risk management, applying to subregional sea areas and the impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems." PEMSEA web resources include Virtual ICM; a Legal Information Database Reference Catalogue; and a Directory of Research and Management Institutions in Southeast Asia. and a database of Good Practices. See also the PEMSEA Updates, a free online newsletter.

    UNEP Regional Seas Programme
    The Regional Seas Programme was initiated in 1974 as a global programme implemented through regional components. The Regional Seas Programme is UNEP's main framework in the field of the coastal and marine environment. It includes 14 regions and three partner seas, involves more than 140 coastal states, and focuses on sustainable development of coastal and marine areas. Each regional action plan is formulated according to the needs and priorities of the region as perceived by the Governments concerned. Regional conventions are in place for several areas. See a map of all regional seas, and go to more information on the Black Sea, Wider Caribbean, Mediterranean, East Asian Seas, South Asian Seas, Eastern Africa, Kuwait Region, North West Pacific, Red Sea And Gulf of Aden, South East Pacific, North East Pacific, South Pacific, Upper South West Atlantic, and West and Central Africa. The UNEP Regional Seas web site also contains information on What's at stake, Major threats, and Actions.

    East Asian Seas Action Plan
    On the initiative of the five States of the East Asian region — Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — the Governing Council of UNEP in 1977 decided that "steps are urgently needed to formulate and establish a scientific programme involving research, prevention and control of marine pollution and monitoring " for a regional action plan in East Asia. An Action Plan for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the East Asian Region was adopted in 1981, with a decision making body, the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA). A revised Action Plan and a Long-term Strategy for the COBSEA for the 1994-2000 period were developed in 1994 and Australia, Cambodia, China, Korea and Vietnam joined the Action Plan.
    A new East Asian Seas Action Plan — "Leading the EAS Action Plan to the 21st Century" — has been elaborated for the period 2000-2009.


    State of the regional environment

    GEO 2000 State of the Environment: Asia and the Pacific

    Global Enviroment Outlook 2000. GEO is:

    • a global environmental assessment process, the GEO Process, that is cross-sectoral and participatory. It incorporates regional views and perceptions, and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy-makers and scientists at regional and global levels.
    • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO Report series. This series makes periodic reviews of the state of the world's environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include technical reports, a web site and a publication for young people.

    GEF Projects in the region

    Projects under implementation

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Building Partnerships for the Environmental Protection and Management of the East Asian Seas
    The objective of the project is to assist the riparian countries of the East Asian Seas to collectively protect and manage their heavily stressed coastal and marine environments through intergovernmental and intersectoral partnerships. These countries include the Republic of Korea which for the first time is a GEF recipient. Building upon the methodologies, approaches, typologies, networks and lessons learned from the pilot phase, the project would enhance and complement national and international efforts by removing or lowering critical barriers regarding policy, investment, capacity, which are having negative effects on the management of the coastal/marine environment in the region. Together with several waterbody-based projects in the area, these projects constitute GEF's programmatic approach to these coastal and marine waters with globally significant ecosystems that are experiencing severe degradation.

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas

    Development of policies and plans to control marine pollution from land-based and sea-based sources, upgrading of national and regional infrastructures and technical skills, and establishment of financing instruments for project sustainability. Project will include selection of demonstration sites, establishment of regional monitoring and information network, and involvement of regional association of marine legal experts to improve capacity to implement relevant conventions.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation in Mindanao, Philippines
    In this project, the GEF would aim to finance the incremental costs of promoting coastal and marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in the coastal waters of Mindanao, Philippines. Mindanao has received little attention to date with regard to conservation of its marine biodiversity resources. The GEF-assisted Coastal and Marine and Biodiversity Conservation Component (CMBC) of the proposed Mindanao Rural Development Project (MRDP) will remove the barriers to mainstreaming marine and coastal biodiversity conservation in coastal zone development by: (a) establishing community-based management of marine sanctuaries; (b) strengthening local capacity to address marine ecosystem management issues; (c) enhancing the knowledge base for sound ecosystem management and decision- making, including monitoring and evaluation for sustainable long-term marine ecosystem management; and (d) developing policy and action plans for marine biodiversity conservation and mainstreaming it into coastal development plans. The concept is based on the precept and the experiences that show that good marine management can simultaneously conserve and protect biodiversity and increase fisheries productivity. These activities would have considerable replication potential in Mindanao as part of the MRDP that would be an Adaptable Lending Program of 10-12 year duration. The lessons learned during the first three-year phase would be applied to subsequent phases when additional coastal provinces would be included under the MRDP with the cumulative experience strengthening implementation of the CMBC. These lessons would also have applicability in other regions of the Philippines and other tropical countries.

    Project concepts in the pipeline

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Conservation of the Ecological Balance of the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecosystems
    The overall objective of the project is to ensure that the shared marine resources and key biological features and processes are conserved in the long term. The PDF-B phase will focus on four components: (i) establish coordination and consultation mechanisms, (ii) undertake a preliminary diagnostic analysis of transboundary problems, (iii) prepare a full project brief and project document, (iv) secure co-financing for the full project.


    Other actors, initiatives and resources

    International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management, ICLARM
    An international research organization "devoted to improving the productivity, management and conservation of aquatic resources for the benefit of users and consumers in developing countries". ICLARM is one of the research centres of CGIAR, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. ICLARM, in collaboration with the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other partners, and with support from the European Commission, has developed
    FishBase, a global information system on fishes for research scientists, fisheries managers, zoologists and many more. FishBase contains full information on 23,500 species. ICLARM has also developed similar systems on coral reefs and their resources (ReefBase) and management of fish stocks in Asia (TrawlBase).

    International Coral Reef Initiative, ICRI
    An environmental partnership that brings stakeholders together with the objective of sustainable use and conservation of coral reefs for future generations. ICRI is an informal mechanism that allows representatives of over 80 developing countries with coral reefs to sit in equal partnership with major donor countries and development banks, international environmental and development agencies, scientific associations, the private sector and NGOs to decide on the best strategies to conserve the world's coral reef resources.

    Coral Health and Monitoring Programme, NOOA
    The mission of the NOOA Coral Health and Monitoring Program is to provide services to help improve and sustain coral reef health throughout the world. Long term goals:Establish an international network of coral reef researchers for the purpose of sharing knowledge and information on coral health and monitoring.Provide near real-time data products derived from satellite images and monitoring stations at coral reef areas. Provide a data repository for historical data collected from coral reef areas. Add to the general fund of coral reef knowledge.See also Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, GCRMN.

    The Sulu-Celebes Sea — a Large Marine Ecosystem (LME)
    A Large Marine Ecosystem, LME, is a "region of ocean space encompassing coastal areas from river basins and estuaries to the seaward boundary of continental shelves and the seaward margins of coastal current systems. It is a relatively large region characterized by distinct bathymetry, hydrography, productivity, and trophically dependent populations." See also Rhode Island University map of LMEs.


  • Global International Waters Assessment, GIWA
    SE- 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
    Phone: +46- 480 44 60 00. Fax: +46- 480 44 73 55.

    page last modified on 22 August 2006