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The implementation phase of the SCS SAP is fully underway with the support of participating countries to finalize detailed activities at the national and regional level and in spite of the challenges of COVID-19, all partners and national teams are able to initiate initial actions.

The project supported bilateral meetings and calls with: national teams to guide and provide details of the implementation phase activities; implementing and executing agencies like UNEP, UNOPS and SEAFDEC on project implementation progress and concerns; and regional organizations and projects such as COBSEA, PEMSEA and Fisheries Refugia Project on possible synergies and collaborations. Project staff and regional and national advisors were recruited to provide management, technical and scientific support to the project and national teams in developing regional and national level activities. In addition, National Coordinators for Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam were recruited to provide project management and technical support to the project and national teams in development and implementation of national level activities for execution.

Regional event, committee and working groups meetings were organized. The First Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting was held on 29-30 June 2021, with fifty-one (51) participants from national lead agencies from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam together with UNEP, UNOPS, SEAFDEC and PCU and its regional and national advisors to present, discuss and adopt project implementation documents and arrangements. The SCS SAP Inception Workshop was held on 1 July 2021 to present and launch the project and discuss key partnerships, with over 200 participants, including participating country national teams, and other relevant national stakeholders, and key regional and global partners and projects. The First Regional Working Group Meetings for Mangroves (1 December 2021), Coral Reefs (2 December 2021), Seagrass (3 December 2021) and Wetlands (7 December 2021) were held with national committee chairs and representatives of each working group including national project teams and experts to present and discuss the SAP targets particularly the status of SAP implementation from 2008-2020, and the status and progress of the SCS SAP Project implementation. Across the habitat working groups, it was evident that significant progress had been achieved in SAP implementation over the last decade in terms of the declaration of sites with protection and conservation status, development and implementation of management plans including restoration in sites, and adoption of policy and legislative reforms, among others.

The project participated and presented virtually in the UN Decade Action Incubator on Coral Reef organized by IOC/WESTPAC in November 2021, and co-organized with the IOC/UNESCO and MSPglobal Project the virtual dialogue on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) for the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand Large Marine Ecosystems in December 2021, with around 70 participants mostly coming from the members and participants of the SCS SAP Regional Working Group meetings and partners.

During the Inception Phase of the SCS SAP project, the Inception Phase Regional Implementation Report (June 2021) was developed to further elaborate and update the activities and execution arrangements of the project, based on the UNEP project document adopted by the GEF Secretariat on 2 November 2016 (GEF ID 55381) and consultations with executing agencies, partners and participating countries.

For the complete Regional Implementation Report, please click this link.

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