What we do

The Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) is responsible for the implementation of the COBSEA Strategic Directions 2018-2022, as adopted by the Second Extraordinary Intergovernmental Meeting of COBSEA, held in Bangkok, Thailand, 25-26 April 2018.

Past strategies in the context of the East Asian Seas Action Plan include:

  • Long term strategies (1987-96) for the East Asian Seas Action Plan
  • Long-term strategy (1994-2009) of the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia
  • Vision and Plan – A Systematic Approach adopted in 1999
  • New Strategic Direction for COBSEA (2008-2012)


The Strategic Directions address current regional priorities and priorities expressed in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

Land-based Marine Pollution
Human activities on land are a major threat to the health, productivity and biodiversity of the marine environment in East Asian Seas. Approximately 80 per cent of all marine pollution is caused by human activities on land in the form of solid waste leakage including plastic from inadequate waste management; sewage disposal in rivers and coastal waters; urban storm-water run-off; sediment mobilisation; inadequately treated waters from industries; discharges of phosphorus and nitrogen used in agriculture; and dumping of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. Read more

Marine and Coastal Planning and Management
The East Asian Seas region has the richest marine biodiversity in the world. It contains one of the greatest concentrations of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, coastal wetlands and other important habitats. Human activities in the region threaten reef health and other ecosystems and jeopardize the benefits that flow from the services and goods. Read more

Governance, Resource Mobilization and Partnerships
The East Asian Seas Action Plan identifies COBSEA as the overall authority to determine the content of the action plan, to review its progress and to approve its programme of implementation (paragraph 52). It further, inter alia, identifies COBSEA’s role in providing information and guidance on the coordination of coastal and marine environmental activities (paragraph 52.6); and in exploring the feasibility of development and adoption of suitable legal frameworks (paragraph 50). Read more