The ICCF Group in Asia
Maritime Economy, Maritime Security, Sustainable Fisheries, and Good Natural Resource Governance and Conservation
Good natural resource governance is critical to fostering economic and human development and ensuring the sustainable management of environmental resources.
The ICCF Group is expanding its model of supporting parliamentary conservation and oceans caucuses throughout the ASEAN region to further the strategic priorities of legislative leaders throughout Asia, with a focus on Indonesia and Thailand as the largest economies in Southeast Asia and stewards of tremendous biodiversity and marine and terrestrial natural resources.
Indonesia's Oceans Caucus Priorities
Indonesia has an expansive coastline whose coastal communities and export markets depend on healthy fisheries. Well managed fisheries are key to both healthy fish populations and a strong marine economy. Kaukus Kelautan works to promote multi-sectoral dialogue on the importance of effective fisheries management through a series of briefings, site visits, and parliamentary exchanges.
Maritime Security & IUU Fishing
Indonesia’s strategic geographic area places Indonesia in an important role as a center of gravity for the Indo-Pacific region. IUU fishing has long been a major issue that impacts not only Indonesia’s marine environment, but their economic and regional stability. Overlapping regulations and jurisdictions make the management and enforcement of IUU fishing more difficult than it already is. Clear, strong regulations and the synergy between stakeholders are major factors in eradicating IUU fishing and protecting Indonesia’s maritime sovereignty. Kaukus Kelautan works with relevant stakeholders in an effort to formulate robust and effective maritime policies to safeguard Indonesian waters.
Marine Protected Area Governance
As a country with some of the greatest marine biodiversity in the world, which benefits from its geographical position at the confluence of multiple large marine ecosystems, such as the Indonesia Sea, the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, the Sulu Celebes Sea, and the Bay of Bengal, Indonesia regards its seas as its most valuable natural resources. Therefore, marine conservation for Indonesia is not an option but a mandatory way to secure prosperity from it for generations to come. ICCF Indonesia supports the Kaukus Kelautan and its efforts to strengthen Marine Protected Area governance and coastal ecotourism domestically and regionally through a series of multilateral discussions, stakeholder briefings, and parliamentary exchanges.
The Nature Conservation Caucus at the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia
The environmental challenges facing Mongolia require multiple stakeholders to collaborate and work together to address. One vital component is the ability for governments to understand and respond to the natural resource challenges through good governance. Within the scope of these issues, the Nature Conservation Caucus at the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia (NCC) was established on July 30, 2021 and is comprised of 12 members. The Caucus has been active in its work to improve the legal environment in support of green development and monitor and ensure the implementation of corresponding legislation.
The NCC and the ICCF Group established an official Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the maintenance of healthy forests, forest restoration, pasture management, combating illegal mining practices and green budgeting based on leading international nature conservation experiences.
Thailand's Caucus Priorities
National Parks Management
Situated between two major biogeographical regions, the Indochinese region in the north and the Sundiac region in the south, Thailand’s expansive coastlines, varied topography, and range of climates make it one of the most biodiverse countries in Southeast Asia and the world. Its unique biodiversity is supported by a wide variety of ecosystems and habitats, many of which are significantly threatened by human activities like deforestation, pollution, and large increases in tourism. Thailand recognizes the importance of protecting ecosystems and the services they provide. Currently, there are over 100 national parks in Thailand with many in the process of establishment. Strengthening the management of national parks and natural resources through the Senate Conservation Caucus (SCC) is therefore critical for the future benefit of people and nature.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global issue. As one of the world’s largest seafood exporters, Thailand takes its responsibility to tackle this challenge very seriously. In accordance with international commitments, the country has pushed for a major upgrade of fisheries governance and enforced tough reforms to eradicate IUU fishing. It has committed to an “IUU-Free Thailand” meaning fish and fisheries products imported into or exported from Thailand will not come from IUU activities nor infiltrate supply chains. The Thai fisheries sector is vital for the social and economic prosperity of the country, and the government has introduced several measures to improve the welfare of local fishermen impacted by new IUU regulations. SCC works with concerned stakeholders to formulate and uphold policies aimed at maintaining a sustainable and ethical fishing industry.
With roughly 3,000 kilometers of coastline, coastal erosion is a serious problem for Thailand. Its coasts border the Andaman Sea in the west and the Gulf of Thailand in the east. Coastal erosion in Thailand is caused by several factors such as decreasing mangrove forest areas, overpumping of groundwater in metropolitan areas, tourism and large-scale development projects, decreasing sediment supply due to upstream damming, sea level rise and increased monsoonal storm activity linked to global warming, and lack of proper coastal land use planning. ICCF supports the SCC and its efforts to combat coastal erosion through expert briefings, multisector discussions, and field visits to see the issues first hand.
Marine Debris and Air Pollution
An environment free of marine and air pollution is necessary for the health of Thai people, marine life, and natural resources. Currently, Thailand is the world’s sixth largest source of plastic polluting the ocean, with over 1 million tons per year. The government has initiated a plastic waste management plan to reduce the amount and increase the understanding of marine debris. Similarly, as Thailand’s air quality reaches dangerous levels, building political will to address the real causes of this pollution is essential. The SCC’s clean air priority requires strong, overarching air quality policy to address all types of air pollutants from various sectors. SCC works with relevant stakeholders to address marine and air pollution by declaring comprehensive and integrated policy actions and strengthening governance.