Committed to protecting South-East Asian seas
The seven South-East Asian countries participating in IMO’s MEPSEAS* project have reiterated their commitment to implementing high priority IMO conventions** which aim to protect the marine environment.
Delegations from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, led by their Heads of Maritime Administrations and other senior officials, gathered at the Second High-level Regional Meeting of the project in Manila, Philippines (27-29 August). Special emphasis was put on MARPOL Annex V, which covers pollution from ships by garbage, given the major threat posed by plastic pollution in the region – one of the planet’s worst affected areas.
The Manila meeting provided a platform to take stock of the first two years of the MEPSEAS project, which is implemented by IMO in partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and to plan for the next two years.
Looking ahead, the delegations emphasized their interest in the capacity building component of the project, which will focus on compliance, monitoring and enforcement; and on developing and implementing administrative procedures for port State control and flag State implementation.
Cooperation under the Tokyo MoU umbrella was explored. The meeting also discussed the plans for a regional conference focussed on green technologies for maritime transport, to be held in 2020.
The delegations also addressed the subject of women’s rights and gender equality – one of the developmental objectives of the project. They unanimously supported a proposal to consider engaging with the project strategic partner, Women in Maritime Association, Asia (WIMA Asia), for organising awareness raising seminars on marine environmental issues and to promote strategies and policies on gender equality.
The meeting was hosted by the Maritime Industry Authority of Philippines (MARINA). It was attended by IMO and Norad representatives and MEPSEAS strategic partners including representatives from Singapore, Tokyo MoU Secretariat, PEMSEA, WIMA Asia and an observer from MTCC-Asia.
* Marine Environment Protection of the South-East Asian Seas (MEPSEAS)
** The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); the Anti-Fouling Systems Convention (AFS); the London dumping of wastes at sea convention and protocol (LC/LP); and the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC)