U.S.-ASEAN Conference on Marine Environmental Issues

On September 14-15, 2017, The Stimson Center in partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) co-chaired a U.S. State Department funded U.S.-ASEAN Conference on Marine Environmental Issues. The two-day conference, which closely adhered to Chatham House Rules, was held in Bangkok, Thailand at the Shangri-la Hotel. The conference brought together sixty experts from think tanks, academia, private industry, and governments across ASEAN member countries, as well as from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia to engage on a wide variety of marine environmental issues facing Southeast Asia. US Ambassador to Thailand Mr. Glyn Davies and Thailand’s Tourism Minister Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul provided keynote addresses.

Building off the many inaugural commitments announced at Our Oceans Conference 2016, the U.S.-ASEAN Conference on Marine Environmental Issues provided the opportunity to explore policy strategies to meet the call of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. The conference served as a model to showcase regional collaborative efforts, policies and technical work which can support SDG14 implementation and preparation for Our Oceans 2018 in Indonesia. An overarching goal of the conference was to provide attendees with the opportunity to build networks for future research and collaboration, as well as make recommendations for policymakers in ASEAN member states and at a multi-lateral level. Moreover, the conference reiterated and reassured ASEAN participants that U.S. stakeholders in the government, academia, and private industry continue to be engaged on these critical issues.

The conference brought together experts with extensive background on the following topics, each of which represented separate conference session: Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing; Small Scale Fisheries; Marine Protected Areas; Natural Disaster Resilience; Ocean Pollution; the Blue Economy; Sustainability and Traceability of Fisheries and Fish Products; Port State Measures Agreement and Port Security; Marine and Coastal Resource Management; and Corals and Mangroves Protection and Restoration.

Participants were chosen based on their expertise and their ability to translate research into effective policy approaches. Additionally, eight participants were members of the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI). All participants presented at or facilitated a conference panel based on their area of expertise.

Contents of this final report include a summary of major policy recommendations, conference agenda, participant list, summary of the content discussion, and major policy recommendations from each panel session, and conference photographs.