Partnership Dialogue 2 - Managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems


Marine and coastal ecosystems, which include natural assets such as marine living resources and a range of important habitats or features, such as mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, coastal tidal marshes, seamounts, thermal vents and cold water corals, are crucial for human well-being and sustainable development. They provide humans with food, water, medicines, construction materials, energy, transport, shoreline stabilization, coastline protection and erosion prevention, climate regulation, oxygen production, maintenance of biodiversity, as well as recreation, aesthetic, cultural, religious and spiritual services. Marine and coastal ecosystems act as carbon sinks absorbing annually about one-fourth of the total annual anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide.1 They provide a vital basis for the livelihoods of many coastal communities, particularly resource-dependent communities in developing countries. The ecosystem services marine and coastal ecosystems provide have substantial economic value – estimated by studies on the order of trillions of US dollars annually.


  • H.E. Mr. Tommy Remengesau, President of Palau
  • H.E. Ms. Silvia Velo, Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea, Italy


  • Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands


  • Mr. Lin Shanqing, Deputy Administrator, State Oceanic Administration, China
  • Ms. Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Mr. Jake Rice, Chief Scientist - Emeritus, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • Ms. Cyrie Sendashonga, Global Director, Program and Policy Group, IUCN

Registered List of Participants


First preference (speaking slot guaranteed)

  • Cook Islands (HG)
  • Samoa (HG)
  • Brazil (M)
  • Egypt (M)
  • Grenada (M)
  • Monaco (M)
  • Sri Lanka (M)
  • Sweden (M)
  • Timor-Leste (M)
  • Tonga (M)
  • United Arab Emirates (M)
  • Germany (VM)
  • Canada (CD)
  • Colombia (CD)
  • Holy See (CD)
  • Nepal (CD)
  • Philippines (CD)
  • Seychelles (CD)
  • France (TBD)
  • Togo (TBD)

Second preference (possible speaking slot)

  • Saint Lucia (HS)
  • Gabon (M)
  • Ireland (M)
  • Kiribati (M)
  • Romania (M)
  • Greece (CD)
  • Israel (CD)
  • Portugal (M)

Other participants and observers

  • Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission)
  • Pacific Community
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme
  • French Polynesia
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • Drammeh Institute, Inc
  • Mediterranean Protected Areas Network
  • Ocean Sanctuary Alliance
  • PEMSEA- Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia
  • Union Nationale des Travailleurs Democrates
  • World Wide Fund for Nature International
Biographies (alphabetical order)
H.E. Mr. Tommy E. Remengesau
President of Palau
H.E. Mr. Tommy E. Remengesau

President of Palau

President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. of Palau is a recognized environment champion. He was born in Koror, Republic of Palau. For his academic achievements, he attended college in the United States. He entered politics, and in 1984 was elected as Palau's youngest Senator. He went on to become Vice President in 1992 and then President from 2000 to 2008. He regained the office of the President in 2012 and last year 2016. President Remengesau now serves his fourth term in the Office of the President. In his role as President he continues to work towards prioritizing the protection and conservation of the environment and works towards the expansion and growth of the tourism industry through his policy and slogan "Preserve the Best and Improve the Rest." The "best" here, refers to Palau's particularly abundant and diverse underwater resources in the Micronesian region, and its reputation of being considered among the top underwater diving attractions of the world. In Palau's foreign policy, President Remengesau has been active in enhancing Palau's presence at the United Nations and giving Palau a global profile amongst the international community through environmental initiatives some of which follow: In 2005, along with the President of the Seychelles, they founded the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) and continue to provide leadership and support to this initiative, which has catalyzed more than 130 million USD for conservation and support for livelihoods on islands. In 2006, President Remengesau challenged other Micronesian leaders to launch the Micronesia Challenge (an initiative that is being replicated in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean). In his tenure, President Remengesau has successfully championed Palau’s Protected Areas Network (PAN) and the green fee imposed on tourists which supports the protected area network. He has changed the shark fishing laws for Palau to make it illegal to fish for sharks or to keep sharks caught as by-catch. He created the Palau’s Office of Environmental Response and Coordination – an innovative structure that enabled environmental considerations to be integrated into planning at multiple levels. He is a leader in working to ban the odious practice of deep sea bottom trawling – where weighted nets are dragged along the seafloor destroying whole habitats -- banning it in Palau and advocating for a moratorium on it at the international level. As a result of his stand on bottom trawling, the practice has been severely curtailed in international waters. He is a visionary who is advocating for closure of the commercial fisheries for Palau to ensure the health of the reef and to secure local food security as well as protect long-term tourism resources. He continues to lead efforts on oceans and climate change and on a number of environment issues and was instrumental in ensuring that a specific sustainable development goal on Oceans is adopted at the 70th Session of the General Assembly, where the world adopted, the set of Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. In 2015, President Remengesau led the launching and establishment of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, a landmark legislation that moves to close 80% of Palau’s Exclusive Economic Zone to Commercial fishing while maintain the 20% for domestics needs. He was named a Time Magazine Hero of the Environment in 2007 and in 2014 named the UNEP Champion of the Earth. President Remengesau is married to First Lady Mrs. Debbie Remengesau. They have four children and numerous grand children. His hobbies are sports, fishing and diving.

H.E. Ms. Silvia Velo
Under Secretary for Environment, Land and Sea, Italy
H.E. Ms. Silvia Velo

Under Secretary for Environment, Land and Sea, Italy

Hon. Silvia Velo is currently appointed as Under Secretary of State of the Italian Ministry of Environment Land and Sea, with a focus on sea policies. In this capacity, she participated in the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States and in the High-Level Meeting on “Healthy Oceans and Seas: Paving the Way towards a Sustainable Development Goal” during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly. In 2015 and 2016, she served as the Italian high-level representative at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. On 28 February 2014 Hon. Velo was appointed Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment Land and Sea under the Renzi Government. In 2014, during the Italian Presidency of the European Union, she promoted the "Livorno Charter for Sustainable Sea", an international charter for the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive in support of marine biodiversity. From 2010 to 2013 she was Deputy Chair of the Italian Parliamentary Committee for Transport and Telecommunications. In this capacity, she presented various parliamentary initiatives on sustainable development, maritime transport, sea navigation, and the sustainability of small Islands. In 2013 and 2008 she was re-elected Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies and became member of the Parliamentary Committee for Transport and Telecommunications. In April 2006 she was elected member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. In 2004, she was re-elected Mayor of Campiglia Marittima. As Mayor and focal point of the Agenda 21 program, she promoted an original and constructive policy for sustainability, creating numerous initiatives to combat the loss of marine biodiversity. In 1999 she was elected Mayor of Campiglia with a list of center-left representatives. In 1995 she was Councilwoman for her hometown Municipality of Campiglia Marittima. In 1992 she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pisa with a Degree in Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Technology and holds a PhD in Chemistry and Pharmacology. Silvia Velo was born in 1967 at Campiglia Marittima – Livorno, Tuscany.

Mr. Jake Rice
Chief Scientist - Emeritus, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
Mr. Jake Rice

Chief Scientist - Emeritus, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Mr. Jake Rice is Chief Scientist-Emeritus for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. Over the course of his research career he has worked on a variety of oceans-and climate change-related issues, including as a member of the Group of Experts for the UN Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, and as Lead Author for the chapter on Drivers, Trends and Mitigation of the IPCC Assessment Report 5. He has more than 270 publications in the scientific and technical literature, primarily on the ecosystem approach to integrated management.

Mr. Lin Shanqing
Deputy Administrator, State Oceanic Administration, China
Mr. Lin Shanqing

Deputy Administrator, State Oceanic Administration, China

Mr. Lin Shanqing has been Deputy Administrator of the State Oceanic Administration, P. R. China, since 2016. He was Mayor of Beihai City in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region from 2015 to 2016, after being the executive vice-mayor from 2012 to 2015. From 2010 to 2012, he was the Country Party Secretary in Heng County, Nanning City in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. From 2008 to 2010, he was the Director General of the Department of Marine Forecast and Disaster and from 2000 to 2008, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Eco-Environment Protection. From 1993 to 2000, Mr. Lin was Senior Engineer, Director of Environmental Protection Department and Director of Monitoring Center in the North China Sea Branch of the State Oceanic Administration. From 1985 to 1993 he was Assistant Engineer in the North China Sea Branch of the State Oceanic Administration.

Ms. Cristiana Pașca Palmer
Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
Ms. Cristiana Pașca Palmer

Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity

Ms. Cristiana Paşca Palmer has extensive experience in global policymaking and in coordinating the implementation of environment and sustainable development policies, programmes and projects at the national and international levels. With sound knowledge of intergovernmental processes and advocacy work, she has a strong science base and hands-on experience in programmatic and management challenges related to the Biodiversity Convention. Before joining CBD, she served as Romania’s Minister for Environment, Waters and Forests from November 2015 to January 2017. A former Head of the Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources Unit within the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development between 2011 and 2015, Ms. Paşca Palmer was also a Policy Analyst on International Relations and the Western Balkans in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action, from 2010-2011. She is a multidisciplinary practitioner and academic in international development with a strong focus on green economy and environmental sustainability, in addition to business management, international negotiations and environmental diplomacy.

Ms. Cyrie Sendashonga
Global Director, Program and Policy Group, IUCN
Ms. Cyrie Sendashonga

Global Director, Program and Policy Group, IUCN

Ms. Cyrie Sendashonga is a biologist by training. Her career has focused on natural resources management, encompassing both research and development perspectives. She has previously worked at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi where she was responsible for biodiversity and biotechnology issues in the framework of the programme to support the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In 1998, she became the head of the Biosafety Programme at the Secretariat of the CBD. In 2006, Ms. Sendashonga joined CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research) as Regional Coordinator for the Central Africa Regional Office based in Yaounde, Cameroon. She joined IUCN in September 2010. She is the author and co-author of many publications on environmental issues.

Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego
Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Ms. Martha Rojas-Urrego

Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

Ms. Martha Rojas- Urrego is the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty ratified by 169 countries and that provides the global framework for the conservation and sustainable use of all wetlands. Under the Convention, mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass meadows are recognized as coastal wetlands. Parties to the Convention have designated about 944 sites that contain coastal or marine elements as Wetlands of International Importance. Conservation, sustainable development and social equity are running themes throughout her career from grassroots level to the highest levels of international policy making. Before joining the Ramsar Convention on 22 August 2016, Ms. Rojas- Urrego was Head of Global Advocacy and Acting Deputy Secretary General of CARE International, a development and humanitarian organization, where she led local to global policy work on fighting poverty, development and humanitarian aid, with a strong focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Between 1994 and 2008, Ms. Rojas-Urrego worked for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), first as a Senior Biodiversity Policy Advisor and then in 2002 as Head of Global Policy. In the latter position she coordinated IUCN’s global policy work, leading the Union’s engagement with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). She managed the UN Representation and EU policy function in both CARE and IUCN. Prior to joining IUCN, Ms. Rojas-Urrego was Executive Director of National Parks of Colombia and represented the Government in several multilateral environmental agreements. She also worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Natura Foundation in Colombia. She is a Colombian and French national.