East Asian Seas Action Plan
The Action Plan for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the East Asian Seas Region, known as the East Asian Seas Action Plan, was stimulated by concerns on the effects and sources of marine pollution and approved in 1981. Today it has nine member countries - Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam - and activities are overseen by the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA). The COBSEA focuses on marine- and land-based pollution, coastal and marine habitat conservation, and management and response to coastal disasters. The COBSEA Secretariat is co-located with the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
Protecting Marine Ecosystems Using the Green Fins Approach
The Green Fins Project, supported by Mangroves for the Future, has developed the world's only environmental set of standards for scuba diving and snorkeling centres operating in the East Asian Seas. Diving centres that agree to follow the Code of Conduct undergo a training session followed by a yearly assessment of their dive centres to ensure they are minimizing their impact on coral reefs and associated coastal ecosystems.
The project is an initiative of UNEP and was first implemented in Thailand in 2004, then in Malaysia and Indonesia in 2008 and the Philippines in 2010. The Reef-World Foundation was subsequently requested to support the development and monitoring of the project. Today, dive centres in Viet Nam and Maldives have also joined the Green Fins effort.
Protecting and Conserving Marine Species and Habitats
The Indian Ocean-Southeast Asian (IOSEA) Marine Turtle Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is an intergovernmental agreement that aims to protect, conserve, replenish and recover marine turtles and their habitats in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian region, working in partnership with relevant actors and organizations. The IOSEA, which now has 33 Signatory States, is a flagship agreement concluded in 2000 under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). Current activities include the development of a regional network of important sites for marine turtles; working with partner organisations to elucidate and mitigate the impacts of fisheries by-catch; and providing technical support and capacity-building to member States. The IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU Secretariat is co-located with the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The office also supports other CMS initiatives in the East and South-East Asia region, such as the East Asia – Australasia Flyway Partnership Agreement.
The Great Apes Survival Partnership
The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) is an innovative and ambitious partnership comprised of great ape range states faced with an immediate challenge: to lift the threat of imminent extinction faced by gorillas, chimpanzee, bonobos and orangutans across their ranges in Equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia. GRASP's mission is to work as a coherent alliance to conserve wild populations of every great ape in their natural habitats, and to ensure that where apes and people interact, their interactions are both positive and sustainable.
The main priorities for GRASP in 2013-2016 in Asia are: combating illegal trade, making the link between Great Apes conservation, green economy and payments for ecosystem services such as the REDD+ initiative, and enhancing engagement with the palm oil and extractive industries.
Forest Certification for Ecosystem Service
This new landmark project, “ForCES – Forest Certification for Ecosystem Services” (FSC) looks at what changes to the FSC® system are needed over a four year period, 2011-2015, for FSC to become a global leader in the certification of ecosystem services.
FSC and partner organizations research, analyze, and field test innovative ways to evaluate and reward the provision of critical ecosystem services, such as biodiversity conservation, watershed protection and carbon storage/sequestration.
Pilot tests are carried out at ten forest sites under different socio-political and environmental conditions.
Strengthening Forest and Ecosystem Connectivity in the RIMBA Corridor in Central Sumatra
UNEP has been successful in obtaining clearance from the Global Environment Facility for the development of the RIMBA Project which is designed to develop Green Economy investment and governance structures to protect, restore and expand natural capital for sustainable development in the RIMBA Corridor in Sumatra, Indonesia. Natural capital in the RIMBA landscapes include natural resource stocks like the sustained value of forests and peatland, the values of biodiversity, environmental services such as water, carbon and potential renewable energy and the diversity of human culture and traditional knowledge.
The RIMBA Corridor is a major reservoir of Sumatra’s stored forest and peat carbon, the conversion and burning of which has put Indonesia among the highest source of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Its ecosystems contribute critically to the global environment, to national and local economic activity, livelihoods and wealth.