Good morning!

It is my great honor and pleasure to be here with you today as we conduct the Southeast Asia Regional Forum on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).

Before I continue, I would like to commend the Greenpeace Southeast Asia and The Pew Charitable Trusts and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for their unceasing commitment and for consistently collaborating with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF). Our concerted efforts are much-needed to ensure proactive engagements for the benefit of our future generation.

This forum seeks to promote understanding and awareness, and as well as update the participants from Southeast Asia on the issues relating to conservation of BBNJ currently tackled at the United Nations Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) discussions, formerly Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group. This undertaking also aims to strengthen the capacities of Southeast Asia nation in creating instrumentalities of BBNJ.

The discussions in the UN PrepCom sessions focused on thematic areas such as marine genetic resources including the sharing of benefits; area-based management tools, including marine protected areas; environmental impact assessments; and capacity-building and marine technology transfer, and cross-cutting issues relating to biodiversity conservation and management.

Given these issues, the working group has recognized the need for an international implementing instrument on BBNJ while also ensuring that the region’s marine biodiversity is protected from destructive practices and overexploitation.

This undertaking is one of our resounding efforts in managing the marine biodiversities to ensure healthy, bountiful and productive oceans for generations to come.

I believe that with our contribution and cooperation, we will arrive at mutually beneficial decisions on how to safeguard the oceans. I wish all of you an enlightening and productive discussion.

Likewise, may our words eventually be translated into concrete undertakings that will ultimately advance the common good!

Maraming salamat po!


Date: January 16-18, 2017
Venue: Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel