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The first Intergovernmental Review (IGR) on Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) began on Monday, 26 November in Montreal. Delegates heard opening remarks, addressed organizational matters, reviewed accomplishments in GPA implementation, and considered the GPA's strategic action plan on municipal wastewater.
Left photo: The dias during opening plenary, (from L-R) Veerle Vandeweerd, John Karau, Minister Herb Dhaliwal and Donald Kaniaru.


Donald Kaniaru, Director, UNEP Division for Policy Implementation, on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, stated that the IGR meeting would consider opportunities for and barriers to GPA implementation, and pave the way for a revitalized programme for the next six years.

Listen to Donald Kaniaru's opening remarks on behalf of UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Töpfer.

Herb Dhaliwal, Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, highlighted efforts underway in Canada to manage its oceans in an integrated and sustainable way, including the adoption of the first Oceans Act in 1997, implementation of its National Programme of Action (NPA) in 2000, establishment of a network of marine protected areas, and implementation of an oceans strategy.

Listen to Minister Herb Dhaliwal's opening address.


Delegates elected by acclamation Herb Dhaliwal (Canada) as Chair of the meeting, Magnus Johannesson (Iceland) (left) and Amb. Tuiloma Neroni Slade (Samoa) as Co-Chairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi (South Africa) and Boris Morgunov (Russian Federation) as Vice Co-Chairs, and Franklin McDonald (Jamaica) as Rapporteur. Delegates supported a proposal by Co-Chair Johannesson (Iceland) to establish a drafting group, chaired by Tom Laughlin (US), to work on the Montreal Declaration on the GPA. Delegates then adopted the provisional agenda (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/1) as presented by Veerle Vandeweerd, GPA Office Coordinator. Photo below: Bird's eye view of the plenary.

Listen to Co-Chair Magnus Johannesson's opening remarks.



GPA Office Coordinator Vandeweerd presented a review of accomplishments in GPA implementation, based on input from 50 countries and 20 organizations. She reported progress in developing regional action plans, conducting environ­mental impact assessments, and identifying problems and policy needs, but noted that little concrete action has been taken.
Michael Hugo, Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Protection (GESAMP), presented a recent GESAMP report. He highlighted, inter alia, difficulties with quantitative assessments, the impacts of pollution on food security and public health, the benefits and costs of policy action, and policy priorities.
Franklin McDonald, Chair of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the Cartagena Convention, presented a report on the Aruba Protocol to the Cartagena Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region.
Lucien Chabasson, Mediterranean Action Plan Coordinator, noted the adoption of a revised Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-based Sources in 1996, which was designed to: incorporate river basins and watersheds in addressing marine pollution; address substances as well as categories of activities; enable countries to adopt regulations and enact permit systems; provide for adoption of regional strategies to reduce or eliminate pollution; and establish a system of reporting to the COP.

John Arseneau, Environment Canada, presented Canada's NPA, adopted in June 2000. He highlighted pollution prevention and integrated management of activities within coastal and marine waters as primary strategies for protecting the marine environment from land-based activities. 

Boris Morgunov, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation, presented the NPA for the Arctic region.
He noted that pollution of the Arctic seas is largely a result of oil and gas drilling, mining, pulp and paper, transport, fishing and military activities. He said the Russian Federation aims to develop monitoring systems to assess pollution


Robson José Calixto, Brazilian Ministry of Environment, presented the NPA for the Brazilian section of the upper southwest Atlantic region.
He highlighted water pollution, contamination of sediments and aquatic organisms, changes in sediment dynamics, degradation of ecosystems, loss of biodiversity and endangered fish stocks as priority issues

BELGIUM, for the EU, stressed the need to employ integrated approaches to river basin and coastal management, build partnerships among stakeholders, and actively involve all relevant organizations.

The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) highlighted the impact of coastal pollution on human health. 
GPA Office Coordinator Vandeweerd introduced the GPA's Strategic Action Plan (SAP) on Municipal Wastewater (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/ 4 and 5) and Guidance on Municipal Wastewater (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/ INF/4). She explained that the SAP aims to further develop the GPA's guidance on sewage, and to support Regional Seas and other relevant bodies to address sewage as a priority problem by: seeking consensus on the guidance document; promoting alternative solutions; facilitating partnerships to apply best practices; and facilitating regional cooperation.

TANZANIA underscored the need for new and additional financial resources to improve wastewater management in the East Africa region.

The US proposed adding monitoring and policy evaluation to the GPA policy cycle, and said the GPA Office should seek funding for demonstration projects. Left photo: Ambassador Mary Beth West (US)

SWEDEN, supported by GHANA (left) and JAMAICA, proposed addressing industrial discharges in sewage systems and using alternatives to high-tech solutions, and supported efforts to develop SAPs for other sources of marine pollution.

PAKISTAN underscored the importance of disseminating technological know-how relating to low-cost wastewater management projects. Left photo L-R: Munir Awan (PAKISTAN) and Minister P.L. Singh (NEPAL) 
Photos from the reception hosted by the Government of Canada:
GPA Website 
GPA preparatory documents  and information for participants (pdf)
CBD: Jakarta Manadate on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity


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