United Nations

June 2022 - You are accessing an old version of our website. The Ocean Voluntary Commitments have been migrated here: https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/action-networks/ocean-commitments

You will be redirected to the new Voluntary Commitments register in 10 seconds.

Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA)
by COBSEA Secretariat (United Nations entity)
The Action Plan for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the East Asian Region (the East Asian Seas Action Plan) was originally adopted in April 1981, and revised in 1994. The principal objective of the Action Plan is the development and protection of the marine environment and coastal areas, for the protection of the health and wellbeing of present and future generations. The Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) is the intergovernmental mechanism that oversees implementation of the action plan. The COBSEA Secretariat is hosted by Thailand and administered by UN Environment.

COBSEA Strategic Directions 2017-2021, under development for adoption in 2017, will guide how COBSEA activities are carried out to support participating countries in implementing and tracking achievement in relation to ocean-related SDGs.

The COBSEA Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter, adopted in 2008, will be reviewed and updated and a regional initiative to reduce marine plastic litter developed, in collaboration with UN Environment as well as government, private sector and civil society partners.

COBSEA is also supporting the execution of two GEF projects on the Strategic Action Programme for the South China Sea: Implementing the Strategic Action Programme for the South China Sea, which addresses the habitat, land-based pollution and regional coordination components of the Strategic Action Programme (USD 15M GEF grant, starting in 2017); and Establishment and Operation of a Regional System of Fisheries Refugia in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand, covering the fisheries component of the Strategic Action Programme (USD 3M GEF grant, executed by SEAFDEC, started in 2016).

Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Policy development for addressing land-based sources of marine pollution
  • Coastal clean-ups
  • Plastics product bans or restrictions
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Integrated Coastal Management
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Large Marine Ecosystem approach
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Coastal carbon sinks/blue carbon
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • No take marine protected area
  • Marine protected area with partial protection
  • Multiple use marine protected area
  • Locally or community managed marine areas
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Data access and sharing
Revised COBSEA Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter
Launch of a regional initiative to reduce marine plastic litter contributing to implementation of the COBSEA Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter
December 2017
COBSEA Strategic Directions 2017-2021
Financing (in USD)
340,000 USD
Other, please specify
Project funding from bilateral and multilateral donors
Staff / Technical expertise
Provided by national experts towards activities
Basic information
Time-frame: 1981 - open ended
Cambodia, Peoples Republic of China, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam (government partners) UN Environment (UN Entity)
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Jerker Tamelander, COBSEA Coordinator a.i., tamelander@un.org, +6622881099
UN Environment Asia and the Pacific Office, Bangok, Thailand
Other SDGs
United Nations