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).