The EU Ocean Governance project was delighted to take part in the capacity-building workshop of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) for East, South and South-East Asia, held on 5-8 September 2023 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The SOI is a global platform created in 2010 on the margins of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in Nagoya, Japan. It responds to the need for training and capacity-building of developing country parties to the CBD, with regard to marine conservation and management. Implemented by the CBD secretariat with partners, the SOI aims to build partnerships and enhance capacity to achieve the global goals and targets on marine and coastal biodiversity.

The regional workshop was attended by representatives of parties to the Convention from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as several international organisations and stakeholder groups.

The workshop began by scene-setting the regional and national context, hearing from partners about environment, biodiversity and fisheries issues in the region, and sharing national priorities, challenges and experiences.

It continued with an overview of Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and its relevance for marine and coastal biodiversity, including approaches to implementing targets 1-4, on spatial planning, restoration, protection and conservation, in alignment with regional goals and strategies.

It was during this session that Puri Canals, OG project Technical Coordinator and Team Leader, present the project’s work in South-East Asia, in ecosystem restoration, knowledge exchange, networking and transboundary cooperation, describing how the four components of the Ocean Governance project contribute to targets 1-4 [see info box below].

The workshop then covered sustainable fisheries and the GBF, before continuing with a presentation and discussion on targets 6, 7 and 8: related to invasive alien species, pollution and climate change.

Participants took part in a discussion on developing strategies and/or action plans to accelerate the implementation of the GBF in their region or countries, and presented their respective strategies, opportunities, next steps, and action items, developing these further before the workshop closed.

Puri Canals said: “We hope that the EU Ocean Governance project’s activities to support ecosystem restoration, knowledge exchange, networking  and transboundary cooperation in South-East Asia over the past three years can provide a useful example for countries and regions as they plan strategies and actions to contribute to Global Biodiversity Framework targets.”

GBF Targets 1-4

Target 1: All areas are planned or managed to bring loss of areas of high biodiversity importance close to zero.

Target 2: 30% of degraded areas are under effective restoration.

Target 3: 30% of areas are effectively conserved.

Target 4: Threatened species are recovering, genetic diversity is being maintained and human-wildlife conflict is being managed.