During the 14th East Asian Seas Partnership Council (EAS PC) Meeting last July 27, new Chairs and Co-Chairs were sworn in for the period of 31 July 2022 to 30 July 2025. As the governing body of PEMSEA, the Council formulates policies in support of sustainable coastal development throughout the EAS region. It consists of the Executive Committee, made up of elected Chairs and Co-Chairs and the Executive Director of PEMSEA Resource Facility, and PEMSEA’s country and non-country partners.
Council Chair: Dr. Vann Monyneath
Dr. Vann has over 30 years of experience in law and policy formulation and project implementation in the coastal and marine sector and climate resilience. He has served in various senior leadership capacities, having headed the Cambodian delegation at regional and international platforms such as the ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment and the United Nations (UN) Environment Assembly as well as managing national government committees and research projects and regional programs. He rose from the ranks in the Ministry of Environment of Cambodia and is presently the Director General of the Ministry’s General Directorate of Policy and Strategy.
Among his previous roles were Co-Chair of the EAS PC; Secretary General of the country’s National Council for Sustainable Development; Chairman of the Governing Board of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, a PEMSEA non-country partner; Chief of the Fisheries Research Sector of the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and lecturer and thesis adviser at the Faculty of Fisheries in the Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia.
Dr. Vann holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Preston University, USA; an MSc degree in General Maritime Administration and Environment Protection from the World Maritime University, Sweden; and a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries Science from the Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia.
Council Co-Chair: Usec. Jonas Leones
Usec. Leones is a lawyer with over 30 years of experience in the environmental sector, having served in senior leadership capacities at the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources where he rose from the ranks and has managed various matters such as policy and planning, ecosystems research, foreign-assisted project oversight, priority programs, legal affairs, strategic communications, and forest management. He is presently the Department’s Spokesman; Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs; and Presiding Officer of the Pollution Adjudication Board. He is also a part-time law professor at New Era University and Saint Dominic Savio College of the Philippines.
Atty. Leones also represented the country in various global and regional platforms such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives of the UN Environment Programme; Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, and Minamata Conventions; Montreal Protocol; Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Chemical Dialogue. He also chaired various national and project steering committees or councils on sustainable development.
Atty. Leones has a Master’s Degree in Public Management from Harvard University, USA, and the National University of Singapore; a Bachelor of Laws from New Era University, Philippines; and an MS degree in Environmental Science and BS degree in Forestry, both from the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
Intergovernmental Session Chair: Ms. Chen Danhong
Ms. Chen comes with 30 years of experience in research, capacity-building, and international cooperation for the coastal and marine sector of China, the Yellow Sea, and the Antarctic. As a home-grown official of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources, she carries several roles such as Director General of the International Cooperation Department, PEMSEA’s National Focal Point in China, as well as Focal Point for the UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem Project Phase II and its post-project efforts.
Previously, Ms. Chen helped manage the Ministry’s human resources, archives, and knowledge sharing and capacity-building initiatives and led expeditions and international cooperation efforts, planning, and environmental management in relation to the Antarctic.
She graduated with a Master’s degree in Administrative Management from Wuhan University, China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Fudan University, China.
Intergovernmental Session Co-Chair: Mr. Le Dai Thang
Mr. Thang has twenty years of experience in integrated coastal management, environmental impact assessment, marine pollution, and monitoring and evaluation of the coastal and marine sector of Viet Nam. He is the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Marine Resources Control and Marine, Island Environment Protection of Viet Nam Administration of Seas and Islands. He also serves as Viet Nam’s Alternate National Focal Point for the ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment and a member of various other regional and national platforms such as the UN Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection.
Previously, Mr. Thang was a national coordinator for the PEMSEA/SDS-SEA Project, Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, and other regional programs in Viet Nam. He also worked with the National Environment Agency, Viet Nam Environment Protection Agency, and Viet Nam Environment Administration.
He has a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management from Ha Noi National University, Viet Nam, and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Ha Noi University of Foreign Studies.
Technical Session Chair: Dr. Keita Furukawa
Dr. Furukawa is an environmental scientist with over 30 years of experience in coastal and marine-related research, policy formulation, education, and ecosystem conservation and restoration under his belt. His work focuses on integrated coastal management and blue economy, delving on the open sea, seagrass beds, coral reefs, mangrove forests, tidal flats, and estuaries. He is a Board Member at the Association for Shore Environment Creation, an NPO based in Japan; an Affiliated Research Fellow at one of PEMSEA’s non-country partners, the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation; and Affiliate Professor at Yokohama National University and Tokushima University, Japan.
Previously, he was the Technical Session Co-Chair of the EAS PC, researcher at the National Institute for Land and Infrastructure Management of Japan, and visiting research fellow at the Australian Institute for Marine Science.
He holds a PhD in Engineering and a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, all from Waseda University, Japan.
Technical Session Co-Chair: Dr. Sue-Jae Kwon
Dr. Kwon is an environmental and natural resource economist whose research interests focus on integrated coastal management, economic evaluation of ecosystem services, and assessment of natural resource damages from climate change and disasters. He is currently a Principal Research Scientist and Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, a PEMSEA non-country partner where he has been working for over a decade. He is also the Committee Chair/Vice President of the Equatorial Forum, Chairman of one of the subcommittees of the Korean Wetlands Society, and Adjunct Professor at the Korea Maritime and Ocean University.
Prior to these, Dr. Kwon held senior leadership positions at the Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea (another PEMSEA non-country partner), Korean Society of Marine Environment and Safety, and Green Growth Ocean Forum. He also served as an advisor to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of RO Korea and the UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem Project, another non-country partner.
Dr. Kwon holds a PhD in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Rhode Island, USA, and an MA and BA degree in Economics from Sungkyunkwan University, RO Korea.
While welcoming these new leaders in regional ocean and coastal sustainability, the PEMSEA Resource Facility would like to thank and extend its appreciation towards the outgoing Chairs and Co-Chairs, namely Mr. Arief Yuwono, Dr. Ca Vu Thanh, and Dr. Jae Ryoung Oh. We wish them the best and hope for their continued involvement in creating healthy ocean, people, and economies in the EAS region. (PEMSEA/ Karen See)