The first meeting of the CSCAP Study Group on Marine Environment Protection gathered marine scientists, researchers, and policy experts from 12 countries.

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) co-hosted the first meeting of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) Study Group on Marine Environment Protection on 4-5 April 2016 at the Marco Polo Hotel, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.

The meeting was co-organized with other CSCAP Philippines member institutions, namely, the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS), National Security Council (NSC), Department of National Defense (DND), the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), and the Office for Strategic Studies and Strategy Management-AFP (OSSSM-AFP).

The Study Group, proposed by CSCAP Philippines in June 2015, promotes regional cooperation in marine environment protection, particularly in safeguarding the coral reefs; contribute to an understanding of maritime security in the Asia Pacific that includes the protection of the marine environment; and help build habits of cooperation among Asia-Pacific countries through marine environment protection.

The first meeting in Manila gathered marine scientists and policy analysts from 12 countries that are part of CSCAP.  The meeting affirmed that despite the rich biodiversity in the Asia Pacific, especially in the Coral Triangle and the South China Sea, the marine environment–particularly the corals and fish stocks–are severely threatened. The meeting also recognized that despite the existence of several mechanisms on marine environment protection, many are detached from each other, not legally binding, and/or have inadequate implementation.

At the end of its two-year mandate, the Study Group will submit its policy recommendations on marine environment protection, which will be forwarded by CSCAP to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF), and Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), among others.

Professor Edgardo Gomez, National Scientist and Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines-Marine Sciences Institute (UP-MSI), explains the status of biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region particularly in the Coral Triangle.


Professor Robin Warner of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, discusses the different threats to the marine environment in the South China Sea.


The members of the secretariat composed of the Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS), the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), and the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) pose for a photo after the event.