The 7th China-Southeast Asian Countries Marine Cooperation Forum Held in Beihai
On October 26, 2021, the 7th China-Southeast Asian Countries Marine Cooperation Forum was held in Beihai, Guangxi. Wang Hong, Vice Minister of Natural Resources and Director of the State Oceanic Administration, Pornsri Suthanaruk, representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, and Huang Shiyong, Vice Chairman of the People's Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, delivered speeches at the opening ceremony.
This forum, held both online and offline, was themed on drawing a blueprint for cooperation under the UN framework of the "Decade of the Ocean" and deepening the blue partnership between China and Southeast Asian countries. More than 270 representatives, experts and scholars from China and Southeast Asian countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar and Singapore, as well as international organizations, attended the forum. Representatives of China, Thailand, Indonesia, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and Beihai Municipal People's Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region delivered keynote speeches. There are four parallel sessions in this forum, namely Ocean and Climate Observation, Prediction and Disaster Mitigation Services, Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation, Marine Geological Processes and Disaster Mitigation, and Ocean policy and Ocean Management. The experts and scholars present exchanged and discussed ideas on jointly promoting the implementation of the United Nations' initiative of the Decade and deepening practical maritime cooperation.
Wang Hong pointed out in his speech that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN partnership. Over the past 30 years, the maritime cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries has kept growing from scratch, which has blazed a trail of constantly deepened cooperation with enhanced mutual trust. When talking about the next step of cooperation, he expressed three expectations. First, he hopes we can further create an open and win-win cooperation atmosphere, take into account the demands and interests of all parties, and build the ocean where we live together into an ocean of peace, friendship and cooperation. Second, we should further expand our understanding of the ocean, especially under the framework of the United Nations' initiative of the Decade, and jointly promote the reform of ocean science, so that we can transform scientific research achievements into effective solutions and policy tools to improve ocean governance and promote sustainable development of the ocean. We should provide more public service products for the region. Third, we should further explore various cooperation models with rich contents, and carry out in-depth cooperation through various ways such as policy exchanges, experience sharing, joint research, technology transfer and demonstration projects to better maintain the health, safety and sustainable development of the ocean.
Pornsri Suthanaruk said in his speech that over the years, the China–Southeast Asian Countries Marine Cooperation Forum has developed into an important platform for China and Southeast Asian countries to share knowledge and experience related to marine resources and environmental crises. Marine ecosystems are critical to maintaining and improving the livelihoods of coastal residents in Southeast Asian countries. At present, the ocean is facing problems such as habitat degradation and biodiversity reduction. China and Southeast Asian countries should strengthen cooperation to jointly address the problems of marine resources and habitat degradation.
In his speech, Huang Shiyong said that Guangxi is the only coastal province in western China and the nearest seaport to ASEAN. Guangxi is willing to work with Southeast Asian countries to promote all-around cooperation in various marine fields, promote marine cooperation of the two parties to a new level, and build a maritime community with a shared future. To this end, we should, first, strengthen marine environmental protection and promote green and low-carbon marine development; second, promote interconnection and advance the prosperity of the blue economy; third, enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges and mutual learning, and form a diversified exchange pattern.
The forum is co-sponsored by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the People's Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and jointly undertaken by the First Institute of Oceanography of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Fourth Institute of Oceanography of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, and relevant government departments of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
During the forum, the first meeting of the Scientific Steering Committee of the China–Southeast Asian Countries Marine Cooperation Forum was held.