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Group picture, Planning Workshop for “Green Fins” Local Network Leaders, 7th – 9th July 2004, Phuket, Thailand
During its first two decades the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) was heavily project oriented. In the 1980's, the effects and extent of marine pollution were still not well documented. It was essential to provide more scientific information as a base for decision-making and initially, for the formulation of the East Asian Seas Action Plan. A large number of assessments were carried out regarding the extent of marine pollution from different sources, the impact of marine pollution on marine ecosystems and the financial importance of coastal and marine resources. In the mid-90's COBSEA increased its focus on translating the gathered information into improved coastal/marine management, regional action plans (land based pollution) and capacity building.

COBSEA, being a UNEP initiated and supported body, has been able to attract support and funding from various donors that have benefited member countries. COBSEA has established good working relationships with other intergovernmental bodies, regional programmes and has been instrumental for the initiation of several projects in the region, the most notable one being "UNEP GEF project on Reversing Environmental Degradation Trends in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand (SCS)".

In the course of project preparation and implementation, extensive information and data have been generated useful for planning countries' coastal and environmental management programmes. Country-specific problems have been identified and remedial measures recommended. Subsequent inter-country sharing of experiences, expertise and knowledge has facilitated identification and overcoming of similar problems in the region.

Through trainings, workshops and seminars implemented by the COBSEA Secretariat, COBSEA has contributed to the capacity building of member governments and increased public awareness of marine environmental issues. In addition, networking among policymakers and experts of countries in the region has been enhanced through joint participation in these events as well as in project planning and implementation.


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