Press Release : Thailand hosted the ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability news3

Press Release : Thailand hosted the ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability

On 7 March 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand hosted the ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability at Centara Grand at Central World Hotel, Bangkok. On this occasion, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, presided over the opening ceremony. Keynote speeches were given by various high-level executives including H.E. Mr. Net Pheaktra, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia; Dr. Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand; H.E. Mr. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand; H.E. Ms. Kjersti RØdsmoen, Ambassador of Norway to Thailand; and Mr. Kazushige Endo, Director of the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD). Moreover, there were more than 170 participants representing ASEM members, international organisations, government agencies, private sector, academia, civil society organisations, and youths, from both Asia and Europe, attending the Meeting.

The Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs stated in his opening remarks that the purpose of the Meeting was to discuss approaches in which the two regions can work together to promote marine sustainability. He stressed that, under the ASEM framework, marine sustainability is one of the areas that Thailand attached great importance to H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, pledged that Thailand would organise this meeting during his remarks at the 12th ASEM Summit in Brussels held on 18 - 19 October 2018. The Meeting was also built upon the ASEM Meeting on Sustainable Marine Environment: Marine Debris hosted by Thailand in 2018. This year, the ASEM High-Level Meeting on Marine Sustainability was held back-to-back with two other meetings, also hosted by Thailand, namely, the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Marine Debris and the 9th Regional 3R Forum in Asia and the Pacific.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand reiterated that Thailand attaches utmost importance to the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. This was reflected in the 2017 - 2021 Pollution Management Plan and the National Master Plan on Waste Management 2016 - 2021. Additionally, Thailand has undertaken numerous activities to raise awareness and reduce the use of plastic and to enhance research capacity in the field of plastic substitution, as well as the conservation of marine resources, especially to address the marine debris issue. Moreover, Thailand has undergone a complete reform of her fishing industries in an effort to combat IUU fishing. In April 2019, Thailand will host an ASEAN Meeting on Combatting IUU Fishing in partnership with the EU. To this end, Thailand seeks to forge collaboration among Asia and Europe in the pursuit of a global standard to combat marine-related problems in a sustainable manner.

Apart from the delivery of remarks by other high-level personalities, the Meeting was attended by distinguished participants from the government sectors, business sectors, international organisations, academia as well as civil society organisations from both Asia and Europe. Ideas and best practices were exchanged under 3 main themes namely, (1) Asia-Europe Paths for Achieving Marine Sustainability: Resources Efficiency and Technology towards Circular Economy and SMART Ocean; (2) Enhancing Cooperation for Sustainable and Responsible Blue Economy Development; and (3) Waste Management and Pollution-free Ocean: Practical Solutions. Furthermore, the Meeting emphasised the importance of cooperation among ASEM members in order to achieve marine sustainability and to address the marine debris issue. Thailand will present the outcomes of the Meeting at the 14th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid in December this year.

On this occasion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand organised a field trip for participants of the Meeting to visit the Klong Khong Mangrove Forest Conservation Centre in Samut Songkhram Province on 8 March 2019. With 70 participants, the trip provided an opportunity for ASEM members to learn and exchange best practices of Thailand’s community-based mangrove conservation methods and promotion of the Blue Economy model, emphasising the sustainable and balanced use of marine and coastal resources.