Ministers and officials gather today to develop a new type of partnership on ocean cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.

Following the 3rd APEC Blue Economy Forum involving a public-private sector dialogue on sustainable ocean practices, Ministers will work on promoting the establishment of a more integrated, sustainable and mutually beneficial partnership among APEC members.

“Planning for the future of APEC ocean cooperation is critical for members,” said Chen Lianzeng, Vice-Administrator of China’s State Oceanic Administration.

“We will focus on issues including marine environmental protection, disaster prevention and mitigation, the role of oceans in food security, marine science and technology innovation and the blue economy.”

APEC economies account for over 80 per cent of global aquaculture production and 65 per cent of the harvesting and processing of the world’s capture fisheries. The ocean serves as a conduit for 90 per cent of world trade as well as providing an important ecosystem which is increasingly at risk.

“There is an urgent need for enhanced cooperation on our world’s oceans due to the complex nature of ocean and coastal issues, including the impact of climate change,” said Zhang Haiwen, Chair of the Senior Oceans Officials’ Meeting, which met on the eve of the 4th APEC Ocean-related Ministerial Meeting.

“We recognize the need to conserve and sustain our ocean’s resources so it can continue to meet the needs of the present without damaging the interest of future generations,” added Zhang.

The blue economy is an approach, being pursued by APEC, to advance sustainable management and conservation of ocean, coastal resources and ecosystems and sustainable development, in order to foster economic growth.

The 3rd Blue Economy Forum involving the private and public sector as well as local communities on how to advance the blue economy took place on Tuesday in Xiamen, prior to the Ministerial meeting. The policy dialogue focused on deepening the understanding of the policies and needs of the private sector in order to promote sustainable ocean practices. Marine science and technology, such as marine spatial planning to balance both conservation and harvesting of ocean resources, was also a priority.

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