Ocean conference concludes with unanimous statement by participants

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Minister of Environment Say Samal at the 7th ministerial forum of the 11 member states of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) held on December 1-2 in Preah Sihanouk province, and attended virtually by the member states' representatives. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Minister of Environment Say Samal affirmed Cambodia's commitment to the principles of sustainability, equality and resiliency in socio-economic development.

Samal was speaking at the 7th ministerial forum of the 11 member states of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) held on December 1-2 in Preah Sihanouk province, and attended virtually by the member states' representatives.

“Cambodia is committed in principle to following a sustainable, equable and resilient blueprint for our socio-economic development,” Samal said at the forum on December 2, which was the last day of the congress.

“Now, we have arrived at a decade of science and ocean and ecological system restoration. We must learn to seize all of the opportunities in front of us to achieve our sustainable development goals, including our Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) vision,” he said.

Samal went on to say that the history, culture, economy and health of the region were all closely related to use of the sea and that based on the PEMSEA Blue Economy Report, the ocean economies are estimated to be worth about $1.4 trillion.

“As a centre for the world's marine biodiversity that also has the world's busiest commercial shipping lanes, our region plays an important role in food security, income generation, livelihoods, recreation, coastal protection and climate regulation among other things, not just in the region but for the whole world,” he said.

PEMSEA issued a press release following the congress on December 2 saying that the member countries all endorsed the PEMSEA Roadmap to 2030 to support the recovery of greenery and strengthen ocean governance in East Asia.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told reporters after the forum that it went smoothly and the results were good.

He added that the PEMSEA Ministerial International Conference on December 2 reviewed the implementation of past plans among the 11 PEMSEA member countries and the management and implementation, of development in coastal areas, sustainable development and the well-being of the people involved in capacity enhancing and income generation.

“This was the last day of the meeting and we consider it to be another great success - the 11 member countries all signed the PEMSEA Sihanoukville Ministerial Statement.

"This statement affirms the efforts of all member countries in protecting and conserving the sea which hundreds of millions of people in the region depend on,” he said.