Ministers from APEC member economies have outlined a new regional framework to address oceans-related challenges. 

The Xiamen Declaration was issued by Ministers following their just concluded meeting here. It details measures to establish a more integrated and sustainable ocean partnership in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The Xiamen Declaration can be viewed at this link. 

“We are facing many challenges, including damage of the marine coastal environment and depletion of fishing stocks,” said Liu Cigui, Administrator of China’s State Oceanic Administration and Chair of the 4th APEC Ocean-Related Ministerial Meeting. 

“These critical issues have brought us together to seek common ground and promote win-win cooperation on managing and conserving our ocean resources,” Liu explained. 

Ministers agreed to focus collaborative actions on four priority areas: coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and disaster resilience; the role of oceans on food security and food-related trade; marine science, technology and innovation; and the Blue Economy. 

Actions include a commitment by APEC economies to conserve at least ten per cent of coastal and marine areas through managed marine protected areas by 2020. 

It was also agreed to work together to promote marine science, technology and innovation to mitigate the effects of climate change and disasters such as oil spills as well as support marine-based industries that strengthen trade and economic growth in the region. 

“APEC economies recognize that the only way to effectively address challenges to the fragile ocean ecosystem is through greater cooperation,” said Greg Schneider, Lead Shepherd of the APEC Ocean and Fisheries Working Group. 

“We are intent on building technical capacity across the region’s diverse economies to ensure the sustainability of marine resources and long-term productivity of the oceans,” Schneider added. 

Improving the use of marine spatial planning and conditions for small-scale fisheries that support jobs, economic growth and the well-being of the nearly three billion people in the APEC region are among the focus areas. 

“APEC’s 21 member economies are inextricably linked in a physical and economic sense by the Pacific Ocean,” concluded Dr Alan Bollard, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat. “Strengthening management of the oceans is a fundamental task that we face and one that we must advance together by taking advantage of these vital linkages between us.”

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A downloadable high resolution “family photo” of APEC Oceans-Related Ministers is available at this link.

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