Onward to a New Chapter of Regional Cooperation in YSLME


The completion of the YSLME Phase II Project this year provides a good starting point, and signals a new

beginning for the Yellow Sea region.”- Ms. Danhong Chen, Deputy Director General of the Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Natural Resources, PR China

The key to the 20-year success of the UNDP/GEF YSLME Project is the collaboration and commitment of both PR China and RO Korea, with the strong support from UNDP, GEF, UNOPS, the PMO and various partners and collaborators.”- Mr. Changsoo Kim, Director of the Green Diplomacy Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, RO Korea

After six years, the UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (YSLME) Phase II Project is wrapping up with a bang. Armed with more lessons, knowledge and successful outputs and outcomes from the implementation of the regional Strategic Action Programme (SAP) under the YSLME Phase II Project, the region is gearing up towards a new chapter of cooperation for One Yellow Sea, One Vision, A Shared Future.

At the occasion of YSLME Project’s 5th Interim Commission Council (ICC) Meeting held on 19 October 2020, the Governments of PR China and RO Korea agreed to a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a partnership-based YSLME Governance Mechanism. The MOU, which is set for final signature before the end of the year, highlights the commitment by YSLME countries for stronger cooperation towards the sustainable management and development of the Yellow Sea ecosystems.

The meeting also celebrated a number of major achievements of the region, including the adoption of the updated Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and the technical clearance on the YSLME Strategic Action Programme (SAP) 2020-2030. The SAP 2020-2030 is undergoing final review by the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee of the PR China and RO Korea and is expected for adoption by year-end.

The draft Project Terminal Evaluation report presented at the meeting further highlighted a number of lessons learned, achievements and recommendations as good foundation for future YSLME activities and programs. In particular, the report highlighted the following good practices from the project:

  • Substantive progress in regional and collaborative management in support of SAP implementation;
  • Expanded stakeholder engagement including civil society and private sector, which facilitated buy-in on conservation and sustainable production initiatives;
  • Strong transboundary knowledge sharing through collaboration with regional entities (i.e., PEMSEA, NOWPAP, NEAMPEN, etc.);
  • Production and dissemination of high quality knowledge products and information materials; and
  • Effective technical and political cooperation through the Regional and National Working Groups.

The YSLME Phase II Project is in the process of completing its operational closure, while the project’s financial closure is expected to be fully completed by mid-2021.

A total of 66 participants were present during the milestone virtual meeting. Representatives from the YSLME member countries were present led by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) of PR China, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) of RO Korea. Representatives from UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub, UNDP Country Office in PR China, and UNOPS were present on behalf of the YSLME II Project’s executing and implementing agencies. Observers coming from the YSLME Regional and National Working Groups (RWGs and NWGs), as well as representatives from other UN agencies, regional organizations, and collaborators from the academe, NGOs and business sector were also present. The YSLME Project Management Office (PMO) served as Secretariat of the Meeting. The summary report of the meeting can be found here.