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December 2010

Cancun Oceans Day Discusses Strategy on Oceans and Climate

4 December 2010: The Cancun Oceans Day event convened in Cancun, Mexico, on 4 December 2010, organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, in association with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Secretaries of Environment and Natural Resources of the Mexican States of Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatan, and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Mexico, in collaboration with other partners. Cancun Oceans Day met in parallel to the UN Cancun Climate Change Conference and aimed to review the “building blocks” of a comprehensive strategy on oceans and climate, addressing mitigation, adaptation, financing, and capacity building. This event was the second Oceans Day in the UNFCCC context, and featured more than 20 speakers and panelists. Over 90 participants registered to attend the one-day meeting, including representatives of governments, international organizations, business, academia, and non-governmental organizations. Cancun Oceans Day was part of the Rio Conventions' Ecosystems and Climate Change Pavilion, organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UNFCCC, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Cancun Oceans Day featured: three panel discussions; two special addresses; and three workshops on developing an integrated approach to climate and oceans and preparation for Rio+20. [IISD RS Coverage] [Cancun Oceans Day Website]
UNESCO Marine Heritage Site Managers Discuss Conservation

26 November 2010: Managers from the 43 marine sites on the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) met for the first time from 1-3 December 2010, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to explore ways of strengthening their conservation. Participants heard keynote addresses from Jean-Michel Cousteau, ocean explorer and marine conservationist, and Greg Stone, senior vice-president and chief scientist for oceans at Conservation International. In addition, an official ceremony was held for inscription of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (US), which was added to the World Heritage List in August 2010, along with the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati). UNESCO underscores that these sites represent the “crown jewels of the ocean,” as places "recognized by the international community for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological and geological processes." The site managers' meeting was co-organized by UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and financed by 10 other national governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. [UNESCO Press Release] [World Heritage Marine Programme Website]

November 2010

CBD Secretariat Releases Report of Cairo Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance

10 December 2010: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the report of the Regional Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance in Support of the Nagoya Outcome, held from 29-30 November 2010, in Cairo, Egypt. The workshop's objectives were to elaborate regional financial responses to the outcomes adopted by the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD. Responses were to include an effective action plan for the Arab region for the strategy for resource mobilization and innovative financial mechanisms, and to provide a platform for developing a common vision, shared commitments and concrete funding action for the Arab countries and their external partners to support implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and the associated targets. The workshop participants agreed to the Arab Regional Statement for Action on the 2020 Biodiversity Targets, Funding Strategies and Innovative Financial Mechanisms, which underscored, inter alia, the need for all Arab countries to: sign and ratify the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible, but no later than 2012; raise awareness at all levels of society; develop national policy framework on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) accordingly; update their national biodiversity strategies and action plans as the first step to respond to the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan; appoint resource mobilization focal points by 2012 and develop country-specific resource mobilization strategies; mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into sectoral ministries, and mitigate the negative impacts of unsustainable tourism on biodiversity; launch a regional programme with the Rio Conventions to mitigate concurrent challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation, and to enhance adaptability of the region to environmental changes; increase the number and coverage of protected areas for marine and coastal ecosystems; conduct national assessments and develop regulations on endangered species; and establish or update a clearinghouse mechanism. Furthermore, participants highlighted that the Arab Environment Facility provides an innovative example of mobilizing financial cooperation for environmental objectives at the regional level, and that the Arab Union for Protected Areas can assist in expanding the Arab protected areas system. They stressed the need for: an Arab regional biodiversity strategy and action plan and an Arab strategy for resource mobilization; national and regional workshops to promote better understanding of innovative financial mechanisms; valuing Arabic biodiversity and ecosystem services, in order to incorporate them into development sectors and national financing, inviting the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to undertake an Arab TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) initiative; regional workshops on invasive alien species; a regional training workshop to transfer knowledge from the North to the Arab region on ecological footprints and sustainability; and financial resources to enable the Palestine Authority to prepare national reports and undertake the biodiversity planning exercise. [The Report] [Meeting documents]
ICCAT Extraordinary Meeting Adopts By Catch Measures

27 November 2010: The 17th Extraordinary Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) took place from 17-27 November in Paris, France, bringing together over 500 delegates from 35 contracting parties. The Commission reviewed the status of tuna stocks and by caught species, including sharks and turtles, in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The contracting parties adopted: new management measures for bigeye and bluefin tunas and North Atlantic swordfish, as well as for the conservation of sharks and sea turtles that are taken as by catch and improved measures for monitoring, surveillance and control. [ICCAT Press release]
ACP Fisheries Ministers Adopt Action Plan

25 November 2010: The second meeting of the fisheries ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, which took place in Mahe, Seychelles, from 24-25 November 2010, adopted a resolution addressing climate change and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, among other issues. In the resolution, ACP fisheries ministers: recognize the growing importance of aquaculture in meeting the increased world demand for fish protein in an environment of depleted fisheries resources resulting from overfishing, climate change, pollution and habitat destruction; express concern over the threat and current impacts of climate change on the fisheries and aquaculture sectors; and recognize that the identification and implementation of appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures will represent a high cost for vulnerable States. Ministers appealed to the ACP States to take steps to further integrate fisheries and oceans into the national and international climate change agendas to secure space for fisheries and oceans in financial instruments that support adaptation and mitigation, including in the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), the Special Climate Change Fund, and the Adaptation Funds. Ministers also urgently requested the international community to agree at the Cancun Climate Change Conference to a package of immediate and concrete action to assist ACP States, in particular those most vulnerable to climate change crises. Ministers further requested that, in view of their special circumstances, ACP States benefit from a special and preferential treatment in respect of the overall prohibition of fisheries subsidies. They urged: ACP States to pool their technical and financial resources together to better combat IUU fishing; the international community to support financially and technically, through specific programmes, the efforts made at the national and regional levels to prevent, counteract and eradicate IUU fishing; and support international measures for combating IUU fishing such as the listing of IUU vessels by the EU and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), as well as the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The ACP fisheries ministers further agreed to a five-year strategic plan of action, expressing commitment to a more pro-active approach for the preservation of aquatic biodiversity and the economic value of the fisheries sector. They agreed to devise fisheries management plans and use relevant assessment tools for evaluating the efficiency of (ACP and foreign) fishing fleets. [The Resolution] [ACP Press-Communiqué]
Bluefin Tuna Seminar Provides Perspectives Ahead of ICCAT

16 November 2010: The seminar titled “What is the Future of Bluefin Tuna? Perspectives before the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)” immediately preceded the 17th Special Meeting of ICCAT (ICCAT 2010). The event, which took place on 16 November 2010, at the Oceanographic Institute in Paris, France, was attended by over 200 participants representing intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia and representatives of the media. The seminar considered two different views on a proposal to address this issue under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and perspectives before ICCAT. The event was an initiative of the Pew Environment Group and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI-Sciences Po). Hosted by the Oceanographic Institute, the seminar consisted of presentations by expert panelists, followed by an interactive audience discussion and a reception. [IISD RS Summary] [Seminar Website]
INTERPOL General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Environmental Crime

8 November 2010: Meeting in Doha, Qatar, from 8-11 November 2010, the General Assembly of INTERPOL has adopted a resolution in support of the organization's Environmental Crime Programme. The resolution calls upon national law enforcement authorities to recognize that “environmental crime is not restricted by borders and involves organized crime networks which engage in other crime types including murder, corruption, fraud and theft.” It notes that there is a vital need for a global response and that INTERPOL should play a leading role in supporting national and international enforcement. Environmental crime encompasses activities ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, timber and marine species, to transborder movements of hazardous waste and the illicit exploitation of natural resources. The adopted resolution was welcomed by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). [The Resolution] [CITES Press Release]

October 2010

Oceans Day Adopts Nagoya Oceans Statement

23 October 2010: "Oceans Day" at Nagoya took place on the sidelines of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in Nagoya, Japan, to emphasize the importance of marine and coastal biodiversity as a common concern of humankind and its essential role for preserving life on Earth. The Day brought together over 150 participants from 35 countries representing all sectors of the global oceans community. Building on the discussions on marine and coastal biodiversity held at the Global Oceans Conference 2010, held in Paris, France, from 3-7 May 2010, Oceans Day at Nagoya addressed the major threats to the world's marine and coastal biodiversity, which are exacerbated by climate change. Participants addressed the status and trends in biodiversity loss and progress made in achieving biodiversity targets, examined various tools and approaches to conserving and sustainably utilizing marine and coastal biodiversity, and discussed potential next steps in advancing the global oceans agenda. Oceans Day featured presentations from panelists organized into thematic panels focused on major issues in marine and coastal biodiversity. The co-chairs of the Nagoya Oceans Day drafted the Nagoya Oceans Statement, which calls for the high-level government representatives gathered at the CBD COP 10 to: rekindle the political will and commitment of resources to halt marine biodiversity loss; restore degraded marine habitats; and establish global representative and resilient networks of marine and coastal protected areas in the next decade, 2011-2020. The Statement further stresses the need for a new process of setting new marine and coastal biodiversity targets at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and at the CBD COP 11 in 2012 in order to move the marine biodiversity agenda forward. Oceans Day at Nagoya was organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, in association with the Secretariat of the CBD, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF), Japan, with funding support from various governments and intergovernmental and UN organizations. [Nagoya Oceans Statement] [Nagoya Oceans Day Programme]
IMO Meeting Adopts Assessment Framework for Ocean Fertilization

20 October 2010: Parties to the treaties regulating the dumping of wastes at sea met from 11-15 October 2010, at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in London, UK, and adopted an Assessment Framework for Ocean Fertilization. The 32nd Consultative Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) and fifth Meeting of Contracting Parties to the 1996 Protocol thereto (London Protocol) adopted the Assessment Framework for Scientific Research Involving Ocean Fertilization as resolution LC-LP.2(2010). The Framework, which is designed to assess whether proposals for ocean fertilization constitute legitimate scientific research, was developed by the Scientific Groups under the London Convention and Protocol. The resolution follows previous discussions by parties to the London Convention and Protocol on planned operations for large-scale fertilization of the oceans using micro-nutrients to sequester carbon dioxide. The Assessment Framework provides criteria for an initial assessment of a proposal and detailed steps for completion of an environmental assessment, including risk management and monitoring, and does not contain a threshold below which experiments would be exempt from its assessment provisions. [Website for the London Convention and Protocol] [IMO Press Release]
APEC Oceans Ministers Discuss Fisheries Management

12 October 2010: Oceans-related Ministers of the members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) discussed "Healthy Oceans and Fisheries Management towards Food Security" on 11-12 October 2010, in Paracas, Peru. The meeting focused on four themes: sustainable development and protection of the marine environment; climate change impacts on the oceans; free and open trade and investment; and the role of oceans in food security. At the conclusion of the meeting, Ministers adopted the Paracas Declaration, in which they call for: seeking ways to promote cooperation among APEC economies to contribute towards regional assessments in the APEC region and understanding of the marine ecosystem; ensuring sustainable management of the marine environment by encouraging capacity building and information sharing; encouraging APEC economies to reduce both sea and land-based sources of marine pollution and marine debris; gathering and sharing scientific knowledge on climate change and its impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture; strengthening disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector, taking into account the importance of the fisheries sector for poverty reduction, job creation and food security; and promoting the sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture resources both domestically and internationally. APEC oceans-related Ministers are to convey the outcomes of the Paracas meeting to the first APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, which will be held from 16-17 October 2010, in Niigata, Japan, and to the APEC Leaders' meeting scheduled in November 2010, in Yokohama, Japan. [APEC Press Release] [Paracas Declaration]
CMS Meeting Adopts Conservation Strategy for Dugongs

6 October 2010: Held from 4-6 October 2010, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the first meeting of the Signatory States of the Memorandum of Understanding on dugongs, developed under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), concluded that the species conservation strategy should address the need for greater protection of marine biodiversity by combining different conservation tools. A newly developed innovative toolbox to mitigate threats to dugongs includes incentives to replace harmful gillnets with alternative fishing gear to reduce bycatch and minimize mortality rates. Governments represented at the meeting noted that different conservation tools are necessary for reducing the entanglement in fishing gear of other marine species such as whales and dolphins, turtles and coastal sharks. Pilot projects are expected to be developed, to implement the new incentive based tools. At the meeting, Bahrain, Palau, Seychelles, Vanuatu and Yemen also signed the memorandum, bringing the number of signatories to 18. [UNEP/CMS press release]
UNEP Completes GEO-5 Regional Consultations

5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has completed its scheduled regional consultations for GEO-5. The consultations were convened in Washington DC, US (September 2), Panama City, Panama (September 6-7), Ottawa, Canada (September 9), Bangkok, Thailand (September 16-17), Nairobi, Kenya (September 20-21), Geneva, Switzerland (September 23-24) and Bahrain (October 4-5). The consultations sought to identify priority environmental issues and challenges for each region. Agreed priorities for North America included land use, energy, freshwater and environmental governance. Priorities agreed for Latin America and the Caribbean region included: biodiversity; climate change; freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; seas and oceans; and environmental governance. Priorities for the Asia and Pacific region included: climate change; environmental governance; biodiversity; freshwater; and chemicals and waste. Priority issues for Africa included: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; biodiversity; freshwater; and seas and oceans. European priorities included: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and wastes; climate change; and freshwater, water and water resources. Priorities for West Asia included: freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; energy; environmental governance; and oceans and seas. [UNEP GEO Meetings webpage] [IISD RS coverage of selected GEO regional consultations]
FAO Finalizes First Global Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification

1 October 2010: The Sub-Committee on Aquaculture of the Committee on Fisheries of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has adopted the first global guidelines for aquaculture certification. The Sub-Committee met for its fifth session in Phuket, Thailand, from 27 September-1 October 2010, bringing together over 50 country representatives. The guidelines, which are non-binding, cover animal health, food safety, the environment and socioeconomic issues relating to aquaculture workers. They will be forwarded for approval to the 29th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, which will take place from 31 January-4 February 2011, in Rome, Italy. [FAO press release] [Sub-Committee fifth session website]
IMO MEPC Revises MARPOL, Addresses Emissions From Ships

4 October 2010: The 61st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which took place from 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, UK, addressed: the mitigation of emissions from maritime transport; revisions to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); and the implementation of the ballast water and ship recycling conventions. On the emissions from maritime transport, the Committee noted the desire of some States party to Annex VI (Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships) to MARPOL to request the IMO Secretary-General to circulate proposed amendments to that Annex, to make mandatory, for new ships, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), which have already been disseminated for voluntary use. The Committee also noted, however, that other States did not support the circulation of such amendments. Despite the lack of consensus on how to proceed with the next step of IMO's climate change strategy, the Committee made progress on all three elements of its work, namely technical, operational and market-based measures. The MEPC agreed Terms of Reference for an intersessional meeting of the Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships, to be held in March 2011, to provide an opinion on the need and purpose of market-based measures as a possible mechanism to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. A report from the intersessional group will be submitted to the 62nd session of the MEPC in July 2011. Participants also adopted by consensus the revised MARPOL Annex III Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2014. In other MARPOL develoments, the MEPC approved, with a view to adoption at its next session, amendments to revise and update Annex V of the Convention on Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships. On ships recycling, the Committee agreed to re-establish the intersessional Correspondence Group on Ship Recycling to further develop the draft Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan and Guidelines for the authorization of Ship Recycling Facilities. The MEPC also encouraged governments to ratify the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which was adopted in May 2009, and to review the programme for technical assistance aimed at supporting its early implementation. [IMO press release 5 October] [IMO press release 6 October]
Ramsar Workshop on Conservation and Wise Use of High Andean Wetlands Evaluates Ecosystem Services

15 October 2010: The VIIth workshop of the Ramsar Regional Initiative for the Conservation and Wise Use of High Andean Wetlands took place in San José, Costa Rica, from 29 September-1 October 2010. The main outcomes of the meeting were progress in the preparation of a project on evaluation of ecosystem services of high Andean wetlands, which will be submitted to the fifth replenishment of resources of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund, the addition of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) as a member of the contact group of the strategy, and the preparation of web pages about the initiative on the Infoandina website. [Ramsar Report]

September 2010

MSI+5 Reaffirms Support to SIDS' Development

26 September 2010: The High-level Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (MSI+5), convened from 24-25 September 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, as part of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). During the two-day event, delegates focused on reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience of SIDS, as well as enhancing international support for SIDS. A key outcome of the meeting was the adoption of a political declaration that reasserts the support of the international community to the development of SIDS. Discussion on enhancing international support to SIDS focused on the need for SIDS to be classified as a special grouping and protection within the global community. According to SIDS, such a grouping would ensure SIDS issues were mainstreamed across the UN system, and help identify opportunities for dedicated financing. During discussions, SIDS also emphasized the need for assistance in renewable energy projects, to avoid reliance on imported fossil fuels. Discussion on reducing vulnerabilities of SIDS reflected on SIDS' national efforts at mainstreaming sustainable development into national development plans, but that a post-Kyoto agreement is necessary to mitigate the existential threat posed by sea level rise and extreme weather events. [UN Press Release] [IISD RS Coverage] [Meeting Website]
Global Conference on Aquaculture Carries Out 10-Year Review

September 2010: The Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010, which took place from 22-25 September 2010, in Phuket, Thailand, was co-organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific under the theme “Farming the Waters for People and Food.” The conference carried out a review of the development and progress in the aquaculture sector since the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium in 2000. The event brought together national, regional and international organizations and government representatives to appreciate the current state of aquaculture development, evaluate where the sector stands today and face upcoming challenges. [FAO press release] [Conference Website]
GEO-5 Geneva Consultations Identify European Priorities

25 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Europe took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23-24 September 2010, bringing together 53 participants representing a range of stakeholders, including UN agencies, government departments, research and academic institutions, the private sector and press from Europe. This meeting was the sixth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each region containing the outcomes of the meeting, including key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and target audiences. This consultation resulted in agreement on key regional environmental issues and challenges as follows: air quality and air pollution; biodiversity; chemicals and waste; climate change; and freshwater. Environmental governance was identified as an overarching issue. On climate change, participants highlighted the need to consider both mitigation and adaptation activities. Noting that its scope was broader, participants agreed to adopt Article 2 of the UNFCCC as the regional goal for climate change for GEO-5. This article requires stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. [IISD RS Summary] [GEO-5 Website]
African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture Focus on Agricultural Development

23 September 2010: Hosted by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the first Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) took place in Banjul, The Gambia, from 20-23 September 2010, under the theme “African Fisheries and Aquaculture: Contributing towards Agricultural Development and Economic Growth.” The Conference brought together ministers, experts and development partners who reaffirmed the role of fisheries and aquaculture in achieving the 6% annual growth of the wider agricultural sector as envisaged by the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Programme (CAADP). They called for putting in place robust strategies and policies to tackle illegal and unreported activities in Africa's waters. They called on member States and the AU to constitute fish expert pools to urgently engage in national CAADP processes. Participants also underscored the need to strengthen the policy coherence in national fisheries sector regarding CAADP in order to enhance the role of fish in food security, poverty alleviation and trade development. Keynote speakers at the event included: Sheikh Alhaji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of The Gambia, whose message was read on his behalf by the Vice President, Ajaratou Isatou Nüe-Saidy; Elizabeth Tankeu, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the AU Commission (AUC); Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, whose statement was read on his behalf by Sloans Chimatiro, Senior Fisheries Advisor, NEPAD Agency; and Jacques Diouf, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), whose statement was read on his behalf by Musa Saihou Mbenga, Deputy Regional Representative for Africa/Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa. [AU Website] [Conference Brochure]
Regional Seas Meeting Discusses Pressures to the Marine Environment and Management Responses

22 September 2010: The 12th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, which took place from 20-22 September 2010, in Bergen, Norway, addressed, inter alia, issues pertaining to: marine and coastal invasive species and ballast water management;the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) and the Regional Seas Programmes; transboundary waters assessment programme; ecosystem-based management; and economic valuation of marine and coastal ecosystem services. Furthermore, the meeting discussed the state of marine biodiversity, along with the key pressures and management response mechanisms. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has been working with all the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to develop Marine Biodiversity Assessment and Outlook series consisting of a Global Synthesis and 18 Regional reports to be launched in Nagoya, Japan, on 19 October 2010, at the 10th session of the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10). The next step will be to translate the conclusions of these regional reports to actions at the policy level. [Meeting website] [IISD RS Sources]
GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Africa Identifies Regional Priorities

22 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Africa took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on 20-21 September 2010. This was the fifth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each region containing the outcomes of the meeting, including key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and target audiences. The Africa regional consultation resulted, inter alia, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; freshwater; biodiversity; and oceans and seas. On climate change, participants clustered relevant issues into the categories of: climate extremes; adaptation; mitigation; financing; governance; climate monitoring and information; and capacity building among stakeholders. The Secretariat was advised to take note of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) list of priorities, which some participants described as representative of the region's needs. Regarding goals, most participants favored UNFCCC Article 3 paragraphs 1-3 on responsibilities, specific needs and special circumstances of parties to the UNFCCC and on precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its effects. They also requested the authors to reference paragraph (e) of the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, which calls for the support of effective and results-based measures for the development of approaches on vulnerability and adaptation. [IISD RS Report] [Consultations Website]
GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific Identifies Priority Issues

17 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 16-17 September 2010. This regional consultation was the fourth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each regional consultation, containing the outcomes of the meeting including all key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and key target audiences. The Asia and the Pacific regional consultation focused on: the priority environmental issues and challenges to be the focus of the regional chapter of GEO-5; associated internationally agreed goals for these regional environmental priorities; and policy gaps related to these environmental priorities. The consultations resulted, inter alia, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change, environmental governance, biodiversity, freshwater, and chemicals and waste. During the discussion and selection of internationally agreed goals for the region related to the environmental priorities selected, most participants emphasized that all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, adaptation, capacity building and finance, are important. By voting, participants selected Article 3, paragraphs 1-3, of the UNFCCC as the regional goal for climate change for GEO-5. This Article requires countries to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It further requires developed countries to take the lead in combating climate change, and provides that the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries should be given full consideration. Finally, it requires countries to take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Participants also recognized the importance of: the goals contained in Article 2 of the UNFCCC (stabilization of greenhouse (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system); the Bali Action Plan; and the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. [IISD RS Summary][GEO-5 Regional Consultations Website]
Ministerial Meeting Discusses Enhanced Cuba-CARICOM Cooperation

17 September 2010: The third meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cuba and of the member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) convened in Havana, Cuba, on 17 September 2010, to evaluate the progress of their relations and explore new areas to strengthen their cooperation on issues of mutual importance at all levels. According to the final declaration adopted at the conclusion of the meeting, ministers underscore that climate change constitutes a major threat to mankind and the most important environmental challenge to the development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the low-lying coastal developing States. In this regard, they urge the international community to make the greatest effort to reach, through a transparent and inclusive process under the UNFCCC, an international binding agreement, taking into account the situation and special needs of low-lying coastal and SIDS. Ministers further reaffirm the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and reiterate their call for developed countries, based on their ecological debt, to contribute the new and additional financial resources required to implement adaptation and mitigation measures. They also emphasize the urgency of promoting global actions to encourage rational and sustainable use of natural resources, and for the preservation and protection of the environment. [The Final Declaration]
World Water Week Focuses on Water Quality

11 September 2010: World Water Week took place from 5-11 September 2010, in Stockholm, Sweden, under the theme “The Water Quality Challenge.” During the Week, a number of UN and intergovernmental actors organized seminars, side events and workshops. On 6 September, the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) presented on the working structure and themes of the next UN World Water Development Report, to be launched in March 2012. On 7 September,the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the World Bank and others co-organized a seminar on water adaptation to climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean. The “Expert and Ministerial Panel on Water Adaptation to Climate Change: Prospects and Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean Region” brought together ministers from different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as experts to identify common priorities and opportunities for greater action in water resources management in the face of climate change. The outcomes of the seminar will be documented in a policy paper and the resulting policy recommendations will be presented at a side event at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-16), in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010. In addition, UN-Water held a stakeholder dialogue on “Sick water is threatening the MDGs: A stakeholder dialogue to address capacity development and communication needs,” on 8 September. The session brought together experts and stakeholders to discuss the current situation and challenges related to wastewater production and management. Specifically, participants looked at the ways different agents can provide solutions and response options to improve water quality and ensure sustainable development. The Week concluded with the adoption of a Statement titled "Our Goals Need Water," which is addressed to the High Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be held in September 2010, in New York, US. [Expert and Ministerial Panel on Water Adaptation to Climate Change] [UN-Water Stakeholder Dialogue] [WWAP Side Event] [Statement "Our Goals Need Water"]
UNESCO Co-organizes Conference on Oceans and Climate Change

3 September 2010: The International Ocean Institute (IOI), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the State Oceanic Administration of the People's Republic of China co-organized the Pacem in Maribus XXXIII International Conference on Oceans, which took place from 2-4 September 2010, in Beijing, China, under the theme "Oceans, Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Challenges to Oceans and Coastal Cities." The Conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of the IOC. During the conference, Patricia O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, delivered a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, underlining the importance of the marine environment to human well-being, adding that its role in regulating the global climate is "perhaps the most significant." She drew attention to the vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change, in particular people living in small island developing States (SIDS). She underscored the importance of halting the decline of coastal ecosystems in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. [UN Secretary-General's Statement] [Conference Announcement]
Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole Formulates Recommendations on the Regular Process

3 September 2010: The General Assembly Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole held a meeting from 30 August-3 September 2010, in New York, US, to further consider and make recommendations on the modalities for the implementation of the regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects (the Regular Process). The Working Group considered and heard the views of States on the key features, institutional arrangements and financing of the Regular Process. During the meeting, an interactive dialogue between the Working Group and the Group of Experts, established pursuant to paragraph 180 of General Assembly resolution 64/71, took place to enable the latter to respond and make suggestions on the results of the “assessment of assessments.” The Ad Hoc Working Group also discussed the objective and scope of the first cycle of the Regular Process, key questions to be answered and primary target audiences, in order to ensure that assessments are relevant for decision-makers. Participants also heard a briefing by the Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of Sea (DOALOS) on the establishment of the voluntary Trust Fund aimed at supporting the operations of the first five-year cycle of the Regular Process. The recommendations of the Working Gourp will be forwarded to the 65th session of the UN General Assembly. [Meeting Agenda]

August 2010

New Marine Sites Added to UNESCO's World Heritage List

September 2010: Marine sites in the US and in Kiribati have been added to the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). During its 34th session, held in Brasilia, Brazil, from 25 July-3 August 2010, the World Heritage Committee added the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the US and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati to the UNESCO World Heritage List. These additions bring the number of marine protected areas on the list to 43. Papahanaumokuakea was inscribed for both its cultural and natural value, while the Phoenix Islands Protected Area was inscribed for its natural value. In addition, the World Heritage Committee made changes to two of the marine sites of its World Heritage in Danger List, which is designed to highlight threats to the value of listed sites and to encourage corrective action. The Committee removed the Galápagos Islands from the list in recognition of the Ecuadorian Government's efforts to protect the site. The Committee also added the Everglades National Park in the US to the list, as it suffers from diversion of its water to nearby cities. [World Heritage Marine Programme Website] [Report of the 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee]

July 2010

Basel Convention Convenes Ship Recycling Workshop

16 July 2010: The Basel Convention Secretariat convened a workshop on Ship Recycling Technology and Knowledge Transfer in Izmir, Turkey, from 14-16 July 2010. A key outcome of the workshop was progress in strengthening the understanding of the Convention's role in the international regulatory regime of ship recycling. The workshop focused on the situation in Pakistan. The Pakistani delegation attending the workshop included representatives of both Government and industry, seeking to learn from the improvements made in the ship-recycling industry in Turkey in order to enable them to implement the practical, regulatory and institutional changes in Pakistan. [UNEP Press Release]
IMO Reviews Progress on Climate Change

14 July 2010: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held a meeting in London, UK, on 14 July 2010, with representatives from the shipping industry to review, inter alia, progress on climate change issues. At the meeting, participants noted progress made by the IMO towards setting up a comprehensive regulatory regime aimed at limiting or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, through the work of its Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Industry representatives confirmed they would continue supporting IMO in its work on climate change through various actions, including those aiming at promoting the Organization's work on technical, operational and market-based measures, as well as at the 61st meeting of the MEPC, to be held from 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, UK, with a view to achieving proportionate, balanced and workable measures. They further pledged to support the outcome of MEPC 61, when presented to the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), scheduled to meet in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November-10 December 2010. [IMO Press Release]
GEF Council Approves Major Reforms in New Funding Cycle

2 July 2010: The 38th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council took place in Washington DC, US, from 29 June-1 July 2010, and approved major reforms aimed at helping developing countries to meet international environmental challenges, including those related to climate change and biodiversity. During the meeting the Council approved major reforms designed to give developing countries and stakeholders more control and access to funds, including: direct access to GEF resources for recipient countries looking to meet various UN convention requirements; streamlined GEF project cycle and a move to a more refined and strategic programmatic investment approach; reformed GEF's Country Support Program with$26 million in funding. The Council also agreed to initiate a process to determine how best to integrate new agencies, including qualified national entities, into the GEF network. In May 2010, during the sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, over 30 countries pledged US$4.34 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The meeting of donors also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges included some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Commenting on the reforms, Monique Barbut, GEF CEO and Chairperson, stated that "the GEF Council has accorded long overdue recognition to the ability of countries to take the lead in the efficient and effective programming of their multilateral assistance." [38th GEF Council Meeting Website] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the GEF Replen...] [Joint Summary of the Chairs]

June 2010

ICP 11 Considers Capacity Building in Ocean Affairs

25 June 2010: The 11th meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP 11) took place from 21-25 June 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Delegates discussed capacity building in ocean affairs and the law of the sea, including marine science, as well as inter-agency cooperation and coordination, issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on ocean affairs and the law of the sea, process for the selection of topics and panelists so as to facilitate the work of the UNGA, and consideration of the outcome of the meeting. The meeting concluded with the adoption of a Co-Chairs' summary of ICP-11's discussions, which had been prepared by Co-Chairs Amb. Paul Badji (Senegal) and Amb. Don MacKay (New Zealand). The report will be submitted to the UNGA for consideration at its 65th session under the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea.” [IISD RS coverage of ICP 11] [Meeting web site] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin archives of ICP coverage]
62nd IWC Meeting Postpones Decision on Lifting Moratorium

The 62nd Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) took place in Agadir, Morocco, from 21-25 June 2010, and focused its discussions on the future of the Commission. The IWC Chair had drafted a compromise that would suspend the whaling ban. It would legitimize commercial hunting in exchange for a drop in the number of whales actually killed by those claiming exemptions to the ban, namely Japan, Norway and Iceland. On the last day of the meeting, the Commission agreed that while it was very close to agreement on a number of issues within the proposed consensus decision, there remain major issues upon which more work is required, including such matters as the question of the moratorium, numbers of whales that might be taken, special permit whaling, indigenous whaling, sanctuaries and trade. The IWC also received the report of the Scientific Committee on the status of whale stocks, paid special attention to the status of the endangered western North Pacific gray whale, and received reports from a number of countries on animal welfare issues related to whales and whaling. [IWC press release, 23 June 2010]
AMCEN 13 Focuses on Rio Conventions, Prepares for Cancun

25 June 2010: The 13th Session of the African Ministers' Conference on Environment (AMCEN) took place in Bamako, Mali, from 20-25 June 2010, under the theme “Enhancing the interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity and desertification for sustainable development.” The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Bamako Declaration, which was developed to serve as the continent's new road map for sustainable development and basis for strengthening the common negotiating position on climate change and biological diversity. The session aimed to provide a platform for environment ministers to deliberate on substantive issues of importance to Africa, including ongoing negotiations on climate change and biodiversity. A ministerial dialogue reviewed progress towards: Africa's development of a common negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012; the development of a comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; and Africa's preparations for developing a common negotiating position on the international regime on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources (ABS). The Ministerial segment on climate change discussed: the outcomes of the meetings of the Conference of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 11 May 2010, and in Bamako, Mali, on 23 June 2010; and the salient aspects of the comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes, including opportunities presented by climate change responses, in addition to the institutional arrangements in Africa for managing and using climate funding provided by the international community. The ministerial dialogue on desertification focused on the links between desertification, land degradation and climate change, particularly on efforts needed to combat climate change in Africa taking into account measures for sustainable land and water management. At the opening of the session, Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, stressed that the AMCEN 13 theme presents a useful approach to expanding the strategic focus of AMCEN to include "other important environmental issues facing the continent - in addition and in relation to the challenges posed by climate change." Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission (AUC), stressed that climate change is a developmental emergency for Africa and urged contextualizing the next round of global climate change negotiations into the development agenda. She underscored that the AUC, in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Agency and the EU, is currently engaged in discussions to ensure that agriculture is taken forward in the climate change negotiations. She stressed that Africa does not need to compromise its economic growth due to mitigation efforts, but rather should push for access to affordable technology for a green economy. She reported that the 23rd June CAHOSCC meeting deliberated on how best to organize the coordinating structure of CAHOSCC at ministers and experts levels, and that their recommendations will be considered by the Heads of State and Government during the July Summit in Kampala, Uganda. She also noted an initiative by the UN Secretary-General to set up a High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, to ensure the interconnectivity between food security, climate change, access to water and energy among others, in which Africa will be represented. AMCEN 13 was preceded by the third meeting of African high-level expert panel on climate change, held on 20 June 2010, which discussed: a draft AMCEN climate change communication strategy; a draft comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; climate change, clean technology and green growth opportunities; air pollution abatement in relation to other environmentally-friendly initiatives: the case of sustainable transport in Africa; carbon market, innovation and Arabic gum; and the status of the international climate change negotiations. The UN Environment Progarmme (UNEP) Regional Office for Africa serves as the Secretariat to AMCEN. [AMCEN 13 Website] [Sonjica's Speech] [Tumusiime's Speech]
IPCC Holds Workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities

24 June 2010: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened a workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities from 21-24 June 2010, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was held under the auspices of IPCC Working Group I (WG I), which deals with the Physical Science Basis. Global sea-level rise is among the major long-term consequences of climate change. A reliable projection is required in order to quantify coastal impacts and to assess the sustainability of coastal settlements around the world. In particular, small islands are already now affected by rising sea level and therefore a robust estimate of the future rates of sea-level increase is crucial. The WG I contribution to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will comprehensively assess the physical science basis of climate change, including sea level. The WG I contribution to the AR5 will include a chapter on Observations in the Cryosphere and a separate chapter on Sea-Level Change. The latter chapter will provide an end-to-end assessment of sea-level changes, including causes and regional expression. It will also treat the role of ice sheets and potential ice sheet instabilities as major potential contributors to future sea level. The assessment of regional sea-level change provides important regional information relevant for impacts studies which will be assessed in the WG II contribution to AR5. The workshop was held early in the assessment cycle so that to provide a platform to discuss the current understanding of sea-level change in a comprehensive way across various scientific disciplines, ranging from oceanography, remote sensing, in situ observations, ice sheet dynamics and glacier research. About 100 experts from over 40 countries attended the workshop, including members of the newly appointed author teams for the two most relevant chapters of the WG I AR5. A workshop report will be published in the third quarter of 2010 and will include extended abstracts of presentations and a short summary of the key issues addressed during the meeting. [IISD-RS Sources] [WG I Meeting Information]
UNFCCC Holds Technical Workshop on Costs and Benefits of Adaptation Options

24 June 2010: The UNFCCC Secretariat organized a technical workshop on costs and benefits of adaptation options from 22-24 June 2010, in Madrid, Spain. The workshop involved approximately 70 representatives from parties, relevant organizations, communities and experts with a view to facilitating the identification of appropriate adaptation practices and measures, and avoiding maladaptation. During the workshop, participants addressed methodological issues, including those related to the assessments of costs and benefits. On the second day, three break-out groups considered assessments of costs and benefits in the following sectors: agriculture and ecosystems/biodiversity; water resources and health; and coastal zones, settlements and infrastructure. The event concluded with a discussion on follow up activities to be undertaken by parties and/or organizations to advance assessments of costs and benefits. In her closing statement, Workshop Chair Paz Valiente, Deputy Director General of Impacts and Adaptation, Spanish Office of Climate Change, Spanish Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs, underlined the complexity of the issue and the need for more methodological work. She noted repeated calls for: taking account of ecosystem services; ensuring that assessment processes do not lead to discounting their importance and role; capacity building on the different tools available and the appropriateness of their use in different contexts; and sharing and disseminating experience to advance understanding of these issues. [IISD RS Sources] [Workshop Website]
17th Katoomba Meeting Discusses Payments for Ecosystem Services

24 June 2010: The Katoomba Group, an international network of individuals working to promote and improve capacity related to markets and payments for ecosystem services (PES), held its 17th meeting in Hanoi, Viet Nam, from 23-24 June 2010. The meeting was co-hosted by several organizations, including two centers of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR): the Center for International Forestry Research and the World Agroforestry Center. Participants discussed carbon financing and systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), focusing on Southeast Asia. On carbon financing, participants focused on: national-level REDD systems; international, regional and national experiences; engagement of stakeholders, including investors; pilot demonstration sites; and training, capacity building and research agendas. On forest carbon and REDD architecture, presentations and discussions highlighted: work and experiences in Papua New Guinea, Viet Nam and Indonesia; a comparative analysis of policy implementation and approaches across Southeast Asia; the design of national REDD programmes from the bottom up; public-private partnerships; and the state of emerging environmental markets. Tim Boyle, Asia Pacific regional coordinator for the UN-REDD Programme, presented on UN-REDD's activities with partner countries in the region. Participants also discussed schemes for payments for watershed and marine ecosystem services, and biodiversity markets and market-like structures like biodiversity banking. [2010 Katoomba Meeting XVII]
Third Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development Adopts Solo Declaration

24 June 2010: The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Government of Indonesia co-organized the third Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) in the city of Solo, Indonesia, from 22-24 June 2010. The Conference gathered government representatives and experts from Asia and Pacific countries to focus on the theme "Empowering Communities for Sustainable Urbanization." It concluded with the adoption of the Solo Declaration, which: announces the creation of a Permanent Secretariat for the APMCHUD in New Delhi, India; expresses concern about the impacts of the economic crisis and climate change on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); recognizes the role of local stakeholders, including women and children, in achieving sustainable urbanization and tackling climate change; and agrees on an implementation plan to address the challenges of housing and urbanization. Participants adopted an implementation plan that proposes actions spanning the five areas addressed by Conference working groups, namely: community participation in planning and governance; participatory slum upgrading; delivery of MDGs on water and sanitation; financing sustainable housing and urban development; and the role of community in addressing climate change. On the latter issue, the governments committed to: organize a training programme and develop guidelines to mainstream climate change interventions at the local level; hold a policy seminar with existing regional networks and initiatives on climate change to share experience and knowledge; and identify an institution to serve as a focal point for the exchange of information and experiences on climate change best practices and lessons learned in the region. The APMCHUD is a consultative inter-governmental mechanism for the promotion of sustainable housing and urban development in the Asia-Pacific region. The fourth Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development is expected to be held in Jordan in 2012.[UN-HABITAT Press Release] [APMCHUD Website] [Solo Declaration]
UNEP and ICTSD Co-organize Meeting on Fisheries, Trade and Development

16 June 2010: The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-organized a meeting on fisheries, trade and development, on 16 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants considered the state of play regarding global marine fisheries as well as current management issues. They looked at ways to green the fishery sector, including investment costs and returns related to sustainable fisheries management. Participants also examined: the current fishery negotiations and opportunities with regard to the way forward, from the perspective of key sustainable development issues; key market access issues in the fishery sector and opportunities for win-win solutions for environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development; and sustainable aquaculture trade. [Meeting web site]
Conference Conducts Midterm Review of International Decade for Action Water for Life

10 June 2010: Organized by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the UN, the High Level International Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015, took place from 8-10 June 2010, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Participants focused on six themes: accelerating progress towards water-related internationally-agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and ensuring involvement of women; transboundary water cooperation; water quality; water resources and adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction; sustainable financing; and Integrated Water Resource Management, energy, agriculture and food security. It also built on the outcomes of the high-level interactive dialogue of the 64th session of the General Assembly, which was held in New York, US, on 22 March 2010, for World Water Day. The outcome of the High Level Conference consists of a number of conclusions and recommendations contained in the Dushanbe Declaration on Water, which will be submitted to the UN General Assembly at its 65th session by the Government of Tajikistan. [Meeting website] [The Declaration]
World Oceans Day Celebrated

8 June 2010: World Oceans Day, which is celebrated on 8 June, focused on the theme “Our oceans: opportunities and challenges” in 2010. In a message to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that ocean ecosystems are facing multiple challenges, including exposure to land and marine based pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, unsustainable harvests and the introduction of invasive species. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) noted that coastal ecosystem services, which are often overlooked, are valued at around US$25,000 billion per year through areas like food production, storm and flood regulatory services, climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration. Also on World Oceans Day, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the celebrations of its 50th anniversary. The celebrations provided an opportunity for IOC to take stock of its work in improving understanding of the seas and oceans, and their climate regulating role. In a message for the anniversary, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova underlined the role played by IOC in addressing some of the major global challenges, including: identifying and protecting marine biodiversity; monitoring global climate change; and coordinating tsunami warning systems. [World Oceans Day website] [UNEP press release, 8 June 2010] [UN Secretary-General's speech] [UNESCO press release, 8 June 2010]
UNCCD Organizes Land Day 2

6 June 2010: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organized Land Day 2 on 5 June 2010, in parallel to the May/June Climate Change Talks in Bonn, Germany. The event sought to heighten the attention of policy- and decision-makers to the importance of land issues in the ongoing climate change negotiations, and to foster a dialogue that could strengthen an agreement regarding the post-2012 period for climate change policy. Discussions were organized around questions related to: how synergetic implementation of the actions mandated under the UNFCCC and UNCCD can be fostered at the country level; how land and soil fit into an agreement for the post-2012 period; and what negotiators need to know about water and land assets in confronting climate change. Among the ideas highlighted during the conclusion were: the importance of cooperation at various levels in order to minimize the proliferation of actions; the need for social innovation to transform success stories into processes with broader national and regional impacts; the need for a change in perception of water sources; the need to give attention to upscaling and downscaling of actions; the role for investment in human resources in order to build the capacity to make long-term change; and the need to focus on poverty eradication and economic growth as primary objectives. [UNCCD Website] [Land Day 2 Website]
Joint Tuna RFMOs Workshop Agrees to Expand Certificate Requirements

5 June 2010: The International Workshop on Improvement, Harmonization and Compatibility of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Measures, Including Monitoring Catches from Catching Vessels to Markets was hosted by Japan and the EU, and took place from 2-5 June 2010, in Barcelona, Spain. The workshop was organized by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Secretariat and was attended by participants from 32 members and cooperating non-Members of the five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) (IATTC: Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; ICCAT: International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas; IOTC: Indian Ocean Tuna Commission; WCPFC: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission; and CCSBT: Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna) as well as representatives of the Secretariats of the five tuna RFMOs, three inter-governmental organizations, and four non-governmental organizations. One of the outcomes of the workshop was the agreement that catch documentation schemes should be expanded to tuna species other than southern bluefin tuna and Atlantic bluefin tuna and to sharks. The requirement is considered an effective measure for curbing poaching and overfishing. The new agreement targets the whole tuna family, including bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna and longfin tuna. The certificate must indicate the quantity, method and place of catch, as well as movement from the time of catch to shipment, and must be verified by the governments of exporting countries. [Meeting website] [Report of the meeting]
Experts Discuss High Seas MPAs

4 June 2010: The Workshop on the Design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for Hydrothermal-Vent and Cold-Seep Ecosystems Potentially Threatened by Human Activities in the Deep Sea took place from 1-4 June 2010, in Dinard, France. The event was co-organized by Duke University, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)/GRID-Arendal, and others. The Workshop brought together 31 experts in ocean governance, industry, and marine scientific (natural sciences and social sciences) research from 14 countries, with the objective to: formulate general guidelines for the design of networks of areas for conservation of vent and seep ecosystems; and outline research needs to allow better application of spatially based ecosystem management of vent and seep ecosystems. The first two days of the Workshop were devoted to brief presentations on background topics relevant to management goals. The subsequent two days progressed through a series of break-out discussions on vent and seep, and plenary sessions. Discussions focused first on design goals, next on human activities within vent and seep ecosystems, and finally on design principles for conservation and knowledge gaps. A preliminary report from the Workshop will be available on-line within the next two months. [IISD RS Sources]
MedWet Committee Holds 10th Meeting

12 July 2010: The Mediterranean Wetlands Committee (MedWet/Com) met for its 10th meeting near Bastia on the shores of Biguglia lagoon in Corsica, France, from 31 May-3 June 2010. The initial session was open to the public and attracted citizen, experts and NGO representatives who came to learn about the new French National Action Plan on Wetlands. During the second part of the meeting, participants discussed, inter alia, water management, environmental safety, flood mitigation, biodiversity conservation, fisheries, agriculture, forestry, cultural heritage, coastal development and marine issues. [MedWet Meetings Website] [Ramsar press release, 12 July 2010]

May 2010

Fifth GEF Replenishment Negotiations Conclude

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) finalized its Fifth Replenishment negotiations, with over 30 countries pledging US$4.25 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, on 12 May 2010, also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges also include some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and will feature the creation of a Sustainable Forest Management-REDD Plus (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) initiative. Some of the main areas of work for the GEF during the four-year period starting July 2010 will be to: lower carbon dioxide emissions; expand sustainable management of protected areas and critical landscapes; strengthen multi-State cooperation on transboundary water systems management; reduce persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in land and water; reduce mercury emissions; and expand and protect the Earth's forest cover. Links to further information GEF press release, 12 May 2010 Documents for the Sixth Meeting of the GEF-5 replenishment
Fifth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands Held

The Fifth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands took place in Paris, France, from 3-7 May 2010, and was organized around three thematic sessions: ensuring survival; preserving life; and improving governance. The event also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. It brought together over 850 participants from 80 countries (63% of which were developing countries and small island developing States), including leaders from governments, UN and other international agencies, NGOs, industry, oceans donors, organized science groups, and networks of museums and aquariums. A Policy, Science and Technical Symposium was held on the first two days, during which participants attended plenary and concurrent panels that explored the three major themes of the conference through presentations and discussions. On the third day, three special roundtables were held for high-level national officials, ocean parliamentarians, and regional, provincial and local authorities. Concurrently, seven Global Forum Working Groups met throughout the day to discuss specific recommendations for national and international decision makers to advance the global oceans agenda. The last two days of the Conference were dedicated to a Policy Conference on “Charting the Way Ahead,” which featured plenary panels on the major conference themes. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

April 2010

Regional Commissions Discuss Forests and Climate Change in Europe, Latin America

The 35th Session of the European Forestry Commission (ECE) met from 27-29 April 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal, to discuss European forests' central role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The conference considered the role of European forests as carbon sinks, as a major source of renewable energy, and as a provider of ecosystem services such as protection of freshwater resources and reduction of risks from natural disasters. Conference participants further recognized the forest sector's relevance for countries' economic well-being. The Commission decided to engage and intensify the dialogue with water, energy and climate change sectors. Meanwhile, from 26-30 April 2010, the 31st Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) met in Panama City, Panama, and considered, among other issues, the impacts of climate change on agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the region. Links to further information Latin American and the Caribbean FAO Regional Conference web... UNECE press release, 30 April 2010
Water Framework Directive Conference Held

The Conference on Integrated River Basin Management under the Water Framework Directive 2010 took place in Lille, France, from 26-28 April 2010. Participants focused on aspects of integration, examining the way cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary cooperation has developed, and how emerging issues such as adaptation to climate change will be considered in the future. Over 100 scientists evaluated and predicted the impact of climate change on the availability and quality of water, as well as the socioeconomic consequences in the Mediterranean coastal areas of Spain. Link to further information Conference web site
Mediterranean Dialogue Addresses Environment and Renewable Energy

The First Ministerial Conference on the Environment and Renewable Energy within the framework of the 5+5 Mediterranean Dialogue convened on 26 April 2010, in Oran, Algeria, with representatives from Northern Mediterranean countries (Spain, France, Italy and Portugal) and five Southern Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia). The Conference produced the “Oran Declaration,” which underscores the need for more significant integration of environmental issues into the development strategies adopted by the countries in the region, as well as in their international cooperation policies. The Declaration, inter alia, calls for cooperation in renewable energy and energy efficiency, indicating that the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) must constitute a supplementary framework for strengthening agreement between countries in this area. It also addresses the protection of the marine environment, water, waste, desertification and sustainable urban development. Link to further information Spanish Government press release
UNICEF Hosts High-Level Sanitation and Water Meeting

The first annual High-Level Meeting of Sanitation and Water for All, hosted by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), took place on 23 April 2010, in Washington, DC, US. The event provided a forum for ministers of finance from developing countries, accompanied by ministers responsible for sanitation and water, to meet with representatives from donor countries and gain a greater understanding of the linkages between water, sanitation and economic growth. During the meeting, the findings from the UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report were presented. These include that over 2.6 billion people live without access to improved sanitation facilities, and nearly 900 million people are not receiving their drinking water from improved water sources. These findings highlight where efforts stagnate in achieving Millennium Development Goal Target 7.C, which calls for –reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. It also highlights the post-2015 challenges that need to be addressed by the UN system to collectively support its member States. GLASS is a UN-Water initiative implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to provide policy makers at all levels with a reliable, easily accessible, comprehensive and global analysis of the evidence to make informed decisions in sanitation and drinking water. Link to further information UN-Water update, April 2010
Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water Concludes Without Agreement on Water Strategy

The fourth Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water took place on 13 April 2010, in Barcelona, Spain, bringing together representatives of the 43 countries of the Union for the Mediterranean. Participants considered a draft document intended to promote common initiatives for water management, but because of the lack of agreement between Israel and Arab countries over the naming of the occupied Palestine territories, they did not reach an agreement. The draft water strategy was supposed to establish the political, methodological and financial framework for bringing in regional policies on the matter. It also envisaged reducing the consumption of water between now and the year 2025, to levels 25% below those of 2005. Link to further information EU press release, 13 April 2010
Coastal and Marine Environment Management Programme Adopted for Eastern and Southern Africa

The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean, organized from 29 March-1 April 2010, by the UN Environment Programme, was held under the theme “Sustaining Progress.” The Conference brought together ministers responsible for the environment and other government delegates from all ten contracting parties, along with experts, representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society. At the meeting, delegates adopted a 25-year programme of action aimed at ensuring efficient management of the marine and coastal environment in the larger Eastern and Southern African region. They also adopted a protocol amending the Convention to take into account new provisions on emerging issues, such as climate change and the need for an ecosystem-based management approach. Links to further information UNEP press release, 29 March 2010 UNEP press release, 1 April 2010

March 2010

UNEP Convenes Meeting on Existing Environmental Goals and Objectives

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) convened the Existing Internationally Agreed Environmental Goals and Objectives meeting from 29-31 March in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was attended by over 80 governments who considered the preparation of a compilation of internationally agreed environmental goals and objectives, which includes thematic areas on: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and waste; climate change; energy; environmental governance; forests; freshwater; oceans and seas; and soil, land use, land degradation and desertification (IISD RS sources).
Global Conference on Agriculture Research for Development Discusses Investment Needs

The first Global Conference on Agriculture Research for Development (GCARD), which convened in Montpelier, France, from 29-31 March 2010, examined the need for investment in agricultural research and the roles that can be played by various institutions to increase the impact of new knowledge among the poor. The event produced a non-binding “Montpelier Roadmap” for how to tailor agricultural research to the needs of the rural poor. It highlights the need for implementation of regional priorities, identified through regional consultations, and suggests that characteristics of a well-functioning agricultural research for development system include mutual and equal accountability among all stakeholders and strengthened relationships among those involved with research, development and farming. The document will be further refined in the coming months. GCARD was organized by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), in collaboration with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It will be a biennial meeting that will replace the triennial GFAR meetings and the annual general meetings of the CGIAR. At the event, CGIAR introduced its proposed large-scale collective-action programmes through eight thematic areas: climate change and agriculture; agricultural systems for the poor and vulnerable; enabling agricultural incomes for the poor; optimizing productivity of global food security crops; agriculture nutrition and health; water, soils and ecosystems; forests and trees; and agricultural biodiversity. Link to further information Meeting website

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held its 60th session from 22-26 March 2010, in London, UK, and focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. The MEPC concluded that more work needs to be done before it completes its consideration of the proposed mandatory application of technical and operational measures designed to regulate and reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. The MEPC established an intersessional Working Group to build on the progress that had been made during the meeting on technical and operational measures to increase the energy efficiency of ships, and an Expert Group on market-based measures to undertake a feasibility study and impact assessment of the proposals submitted for a market-based instrument for international maritime transport. Both Groups are to report to the MEPC at its 61st session. Participants also: adopted amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL convention); addressed issues relating to the implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, and adopted a resolution that requests Administrations to encourage the installation of ballast water management systems on new ships; continued work on developing “Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling,” and commenced the development of “Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan;” and agreed that the discharge requirements for the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area under MARPOL Annex V “Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships” would take effect on 1 May 2011. Link to further information IMO press release, 26 March 2010
CITES COP 15 Debates Bluefin Tuna, Sharks and Ivory, Lists Plant Species

The 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. Drawing together some 1,500 participants, the meeting considered 68 agenda items and 42 proposals to amend the CITES appendices. Parties rejected proposals to list bluefin tuna, shark species, polar bears and corals, with their arguments focusing on scientific, economic and livelihood considerations and, most notably, CITES jurisdiction vis-à-vis Regional Fisheries Management Organizations. The meeting decided to list Kaiser's spotted newt, five species of tree frogs, the unicorn beetle, rosewood, holywood and several Madagascar plant species, among others. Tanzania's proposal to transfer its elephant population from Appendix I to Appendix II for specific purposes, and Zambia's proposal to transfer its population to Appendix II for the exclusive purpose of allowing trade in hunting trophies, raw hides and live animals under conditions set forth in the proposal were rejected. Beyond these debates, delegates seemed pleased with progress on numerous implementation and enforcement efforts, including source codes, permits and certification, and electronic permitting, as well as the protection of a number of new plant and animal species. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

The UN Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC), a joint programme of UN Agencies and Programmes cooperating within the framework of UN-Water, coordinated the UN-Water Seminar on “UN-Water's Perspective on Water Supply and Sanitation and Needs for Capacity Development in Africa,” from 15-18 March 2010, in Kampala, Uganda. The seminar focused on the current programmes and initiatives that UN-Water members and partners are currently implementing in Africa in the area of water supply and sanitation. The session explored the different approaches and perspectives in search of synergies, needs and gaps in capacity development. The presentations concentrated on the most promising approaches implemented by UN-Water members and partners, highlighting especially the need for institutional capacity development and the establishment of cooperation in order to apply the best available technical, managerial and governance solutions. Links to further information Background documents Meeting flyer
Wadden Sea Management Plan Adopted

The 11th Trilateral Governmental Conference, hosted by Germany at Westerland on the Wadden Sea island of Sylt, next to the Danish border, took place from on 17-18 March 2010. The participating Governments adopted a management plan for the entire Wadden Sea region to support action against a number of invasive alien species and in response to major challenges resulting from the effects of climate change in the coastal area, including sea level rise and shore line protection. The Wadden Sea is Europe's largest Wetland of International Importance, covering the coast line of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. During the 11th Conference, the three Governments agreed on a joint political programme for the coming years geared towards better protection of the common ecosystem. They also agreed to promote their model at the international scale. In addition, Ministers signed a new Joint Declaration and a new administrative Agreement for the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. Links to further information German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conserva..., 18 March 2010 Ramsar Convention press release, 7 April 2010
Avian Influenza and Wild Birds Task Force Reviews Achievements, Assesses Future Priorities

Convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the third meeting of the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds was held from 15-16 March 2010, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The meeting reviewed what has been achieved in addressing the spread of avian influenza, and determined the future role and direction of the Task Force. Focus was set on current activity related to avian influenza surveillance, including most recent research related to epidemiology, known direct and indirect impacts on the conservation of waterbirds and wetlands, and most recent developments with respect to national contingency planning and response strategies. Participants agreed on the following issues to be further developed in the future: standardization of reporting and sampling methodologies to current best science-based practices; use of the flyway approach for continued and broader surveillance of wild bird populations, along with better understanding of migration routes, habitat use, and movements; strengthening of capacity for outbreak investigations that evaluates the source of virus introduction; and reduction of indiscriminate blame of wild birds for poultry outbreaks, in the absence of proper evidence. Established in 2005 to create a liaison mechanism between those international organizations and multilateral environment agreements engaged in activities related to avian influenza, the Task Force comprises representatives and observers from 14 international organizations. Link to further information CMS press release, 24 March 2010
East Asian Seas Partnership Committee Convenes

The sixth meeting of the Executive Committee of the East Asian Seas Partnership Council was held from 12-13 March 2010, in Beijing, China. The Committee addressed several policy issues relating to the future direction of Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), including: the transition of PEMSEA into an international organization; the development of a five-year implementation plan for the sustainable development strategy for the Seas of East Asia; and the re-engineering of the PEMSEA Resource Facility. PEMSEA attained its legal personality in November 2009, and the Executive Committee stressed the importance of defining the identity of PEMSEA as an international organization focused on coastal and ocean management in the Seas of East Asia, and setting the future direction of PEMSEA. The meeting recommended tabling this agenda for discussion and consultation among partners at the third East Asian Seas Partnership Council Meeting, which is scheduled to take place from 26-30 July 2010, in China. Link to further information PEMSEA press release, 19 April 2010

A Small Working Group (SWG) of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) met in St. Pete Beach, Florida, US, from 2-4 March 2010, to review the IWC Chair's report on the Future of the IWC. The SWG, lead by IWC Vice-Chair Anthony Liverpool, consisted of representatives from 25 member countries of the IWC, and gathered to advise the Chair on ways to improve how the IWC operates and to seek ways to reconcile differing views about whale conservation and management worldwide. Representatives from non-governmental organizations participated in the meeting as observers and gave public comments. The Group did not reach an agreement on the number of whales that would be taken annually, with Japan, Norway and Iceland being the only countries that now hunt whales. Australia, New Zealand and other countries want to ban all whaling. This diplomatic process will continue up to the IWC's annual meeting, which is scheduled to take place in June 2010, in Agadir, Morocco. At the conclusion of the SWG meeting, Vice-Chair Liverpool issued a statement in which he noted that all the governments indicated their desire to move forward, encouraged members to continue to move forward, and underlined that “much work” remains to be done before IWC members can make final decisions. Links to further information Statement by the IWC Vice-Chair, 4 March 2010 Meeting website Reuters, 4 March 2010

February 2010


The Ramsar Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) met in Gland, Switzerland, from 22-26 February 2010, for its ‘mid-term workshops' to further progress its 2009-2012 Work Plan. The event brought together approximately 50 STRP members, invited experts and representatives of observer organizations to review and undertake substantive work on the range of high priority and other tasks requested of it by parties at the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10). Participants worked in parallel thematic work area and task workshops, and plenary sessions, as well as in several pre-sessional workshops on, inter alia: developing guidance on managing urban wetlands (jointly with UN-HABITAT); carbon storage in wetlands; and developing mechanisms for a Global Wetland Observing System (G-WOS). The Panel achieved major progress and identified which outputs from these tasks would likely lead to draft resolutions and guidances to be submitted to COP 11, to be held in 2012. Link to further information Ramsar press release, 3 March 2010

A Blue Flag workshop convened from 24-25 February 2010, in Goa, India, as the first of five national workshops to provide a platform to further develop a national Blue Flag programme. The national workshops are funded by the UN Environment Programme and the Governments of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. in collaboration with the South Asian Seas Programme of South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), and in association with the UN World Tourism Organization and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). During the Indian workshop, participants: discussed national membership with FEE and the importance of adopting the Blue Flag programme for sustainable coastal tourism leading towards conservation and management of the marine environment; established a coordinating arrangement (National Blue Flag Committee) with key stakeholder participation; identified priority stretches of coast to pilot test the programme; and developed a workplan to pilot test the national level initiative. At present, the Blue Flag is awarded to over 3450 beaches and marinas in 41 countries. Link to further information SACEP website

The Pan-African Workshop on “Decision-Making Support for Coastal Zone Management, Water Resources and Climate Change in Africa” was held in Cotonou, Benin, from 15-17 February 2010. The event was a joint initiative of, inter alia, the Global Ocean Observing System in Africa (GOOSAFRICA) sponsored by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO. Participants included marine, water, climate and environmental scientists and resource managers, from Africa and elsewhere. One of the workshop's objectives was to focus on identifying gaps in Earth observation systems capabilities, as well as scientific and research infrastructures needs, in order to respond to concerns surrounding modeling of coastal oceans, water resources and climate change in Africa while addressing socioeconomic issues and fostering capacities for decision making. The event included a high-level Governance Forum, which aimed to provide a venue for African leaders to consider frameworks for addressing critical water issues in Africa, as well as to assess the results and implications for the economies and populations of Africa subsequent to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Links to further information Workshop overview and documents Workshop website

The third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction convened from 1-5 February 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The meeting examined the scientific, technical, economic, legal, environmental, socioeconomic and other aspects of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, including activities of the UN and other relevant international organizations. Participants discussed possible options and approaches to promote international cooperation and coordination for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, as well as key issues and questions for more detailed background studies. For the first time, the Working Group was mandated to provide recommendations to the General Assembly. In accordance with General Assembly Resolution 64/71 of 4 December 2009, the third meeting was mandated in particular to continue discussions of the legal regime on marine genetic resources, as well as marine protected areas and environmental impact assessment processes in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Delegates eventually agreed by consensus to a package of recommendations to the General Assembly, with one of the recommendations calling for reconvening the Working Group in 2011. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting Meeting website

January 2010


The eighth World General Assembly of the International Basin Organizations Network was held in Dakar, Senegal, from 20-23 January 2010, and brought together over 260 water experts from 41 countries who focused on effective management of Africa's 59 trans-frontier river basins and the positive economic benefits of harnessing their waters for hydropower and irrigation. The meeting aimed to define the most suitable concerted actions needed for adapting the management of basins of local, national and transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers, as well as of related coastal waters, to the consequences of climate change on the hydrological cycles. Delegates reaffirmed that freshwater resources are limited and threatened worldwide, and that their better governance, respectful of the environment, is key to sustainable development. The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Declaration of Dakar, in which delegates recognize that, inter alia: integrated and sound water resources management is more than ever an unquestionable priority when this scarce resource is already a limiting factor for sustainable development in many countries of the world; unprecedented mobilization is essential for humanity to win the water battle and prepare the future; and organizing this management on a basin scale is an effective solution that deserves to be developed, fostered and supported. Links to further information Meeting website Final resolutions Declaration of Dakar

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) hosted an interagency meeting to review the draft Rapid Assessment Report (RAR) on Wastewater Management, from 21-22 January 2010, at the UN offices in Nairobi, Kenya. The preparation of the RAR responds to the call by the Prince of Orange, in his capacity as Chair of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, for exploring how and where the UN can enhance its cooperation and further contribute to wastewater management. The January meeting brought together experts from UN-Water and GRID-Arendal to: review the draft report and provide additional input; identify and discuss key messages, recommendations and summary; and discuss details relating to the launch and promotion of the publication. The RAR will be launched on World Water Day, 22 March 2010. Link to further information UNEP/GPA press release, 20 January 2010