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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

Commemorative plaque unveiled for marine spatial planning demonstration site in Chonburi Province, Thailand

On 6 December 2023, the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) unveiled a plaque for Chonburi Province, Thailand, a demonstration site in Thailand for marine spatial planning, representing a substantive step forward in the implementation of the UN Ocean Decade Action- UN 21: Accelerate Marine Spatial Planning in the Western Pacific. The ceremony was attended by Thailand’s lead agency- Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), local province and Prince of Songkla University, in partnership with the First Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources and China Oceanic Development Foundation.
Marine Spatial Planning, in a nutshell, has been increasingly recognized as a practical way or process of analyzing and informing the spatial and temporal distributions of ocean uses to achieve sustainable development. Though it has gained considerable importance all around the world, relatively fewer Asian countries have put it on national agenda, with most still at an early development stage. In response to the strong demands of Member States in the region for advancing marine spatial planning, the Sub-Commission initiated the UN Ocean Decade Action 21 in 2022, and also established an MSP Experts Group in April 2023 consists of national experts from member states in the region to provide guidance for MSP activities in the Western Pacific and its adjacent areas. Together with global partners, the Sub-Commission and its MSP Experts Group have formulated a list of concrete actions to be undertaken over the course of the UN Ocean Decade Action 21.

Sand beach restoration and erosion in Chonburi Province

Coastal Erosion caused by artificial facilities in Chonburi Province

Chonburi is a coastal province in southern Thailand, and hosts the largest port of Thailand (Laem Chabang Port). The province has a land area of approximately 4,363 km2 with a total coastline of 57.4 km. It is blessed with abundant marine resources and high biodiversity, also home to quite many industrial parks, towns, and other densely populated areas. With rapid economic development, conflicts among various sea area uses have been on the rise over the past years.
Among others, the UN Decade Action 21 will work closely with central and local agencies, planners and stakeholders, assisting the demonstration site to raise awareness and build capacity for MSP, conduct field survey and stakeholder consultations, come up with a spatial plan towards harmonizing the potential conflicts between social development and ecosystem conservation. The experience of Chonburi Province will be continuously shared with other MSP sites in the region, and we hope our MSP effort will contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development of the coastal areas in the Western Pacific.