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The high-level segment of the 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 Thursday, with ministers and other high-level officials delivering statements on coastal and ocean governance, financing for GPA implementation, and the draft Montreal Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.


High-level Segment Chair Herb Dhaliwal, Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, highlighted the primary objectives of the high-level segment: to discuss how to improve GPA implementation through ocean governance; to address potential partnerships and financing for the GPA; and to adopt the Montreal Declaration.

Klaus Töpfer,  (left) UNEP Executive Director, urged nations to ratify the conventions on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and prior informed consent (PIC). He noted that land-based activities are a source of great harm to the oceans, and highlighted the need for inter­national cooperation and solidarity, particularly in the areas of financing, technology transfer, capacity building and governance.

Jan Pronk,  (right) Dutch Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, thanked the GPA Coordination Office for its excellent work. He underscored the importance of maintaining the earth's natural capital to prevent the spread of poverty. He highlighted the toll of globalization and its environmental externalities on coastal zones and human, social and economic health.


Co-Chair Johannesson (Iceland) presented the Co-Chairs' Summary of the multi-stakeholder segment. He highlighted: consider­able progress in GPA implementation; implementation of national programmes of action (NPAs); strong regional cooperation; and support for the Strategic Action Plan on Municipal Wastewater and the 2002-2006 work programme for the GPA Coordination Office.

Co-Chair Slade (Samoa) (far left) summarized the deliberations on gover­nance, highlighting that GPA implementation generates economic, health, environmental and sustainable development benefits, and that regional seas programmes are pillars for improved coastal and ocean governance.

SOUTH AFRICA expressed concern about the capacity of African countries to service environmental agreements, attend meet­ings and participate in decision- making. She suggested that countries be represented by relevant regional bodies to make participation more affordable and effective.

BELGIUM, on behalf of the EU, supported twinning arrangements, stressed the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems, and called for further cooperation on climate impact assessments and ratification of the POPs Convention. On the Montreal Declaration, he suggested calling on regional seas programmes to prepare action plans, and produce interim reports on their implementation and full reports for the next IGR.

The UK strongly supported regional seas programmes and called on them to prepare assessments of marine pollution, action plans, and detailed reports. Describing UNEP as "the single most important world institution," he said the volatility of its funding is unacceptable.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said it allots high priority and actively contributes to GPA implementation, and highlighted regional achievements of the Arctic Council.

GLOBE INDIA read a statement on behalf of US Congressman James Greenwood, President of GLOBE, and pledged continued support for GPA implementation.

ICELAND highlighted the value of international cooperation in tackling marine pollution.

BRAZIL noted that a full review of GPA implementation has not yet been completed, and stressed the need for continued dialogue, particularly at a technical level.

SWITZERLAND noted that its rivers empty into the basins of three seas, and as a result, it assumes responsibility for protecting the oceans by preventing upstream pollution.

MONITOR INTERNATIONAL, on behalf of NGOs, announced that NGOs prepared a declaration related to the GPA, and highlighted: the importance of building public awareness; the need for the GPA to end and eventually reverse the degradation of coastal and marine environments; and the urgency of tackling nutrient pollution.

The WORLD BANK reconfirmed its commitment to GPA implementation, and reported that the Bank has directly funded 190 GPA-related projects worth more than US$4 billion.

FINLAND recommended that the Montreal Declaration highlight the impacts of climate change on the marine environment.

NORWAY expressed concern about the health implications of municipal wastewater discharges, and supported the Strategic Action Plan on Municipal Wastewater and the prioritization of sewage in the work programme.

The US underscored the principal responsibility of national governments for GPA implementation, and stressed the importance of science-based decision-making, improved regional cooperation, coordination among UN agencies, and linkages between the GPA and global freshwater initiatives.

JAMAICA said the draft Declaration does not convey a sufficient sense of urgency. He promised early ratification of the Aruba Protocol to the Cartagena Convention, and highlighted the International Coral Reef Initiative's relevance to the GPA.

SWEDEN expressed concern about the low level of participation by UN agencies in GPA implementation, and stated that effective GPA implementation requires a holistic approach, transparency among stake­holders, and an enhanced knowledge base for decision-making.

MONACO supported international financial commitments in addition to national responsibilities, noting that some countries cannot afford to fund their own policies.

The GEF reaffirmed its commitment to continue support for the GPA.

The UNEP EAST ASIAN SEAS REGIONAL COORDINATING UNIT (EAS/RCU) noted that it would cease to exist in two years unless it receives additional funding. Left photo: Hugh Kirkman, EAS/RCU

ST. LUCIA highlighted the need for capacity building, public education, institutional strengthening, policy reform, monitoring, evaluation, performance indicators, economic valuation tools, and innovative sources of funding.

PALAU, on behalf of Pacific Island States, emphasized the need for a coordinated regional approach to ensure efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Left photo: Minister Fritz Koshiba giving his statement during the High Level Segment.

CHINA identified the lack of financial resources as the chief barrier to GPA implementation. While acknowledging the paramount role of national governments, he urged developed countries to support developing countries' implementation of the GPA.
Chair Dhaliwal noted the circulation of a revised draft of the Mont­real Declaration, and highlighted additional proposals that had been made, including, inter alia, for: a strengthened role for regional seas programmes; increased ODA and GEF replenishment; stable and predictable funding for UNEP; reporting on the state of the oceans; and inclusion of the GPA in national development plans.

GHANA stressed the need to strengthen the language on financing to ensure that the GPA will achieve results.

CUBA also called for text on augmenting financial resources to effectively implement the GPA.
GPA Website 
GPA preparatory documents  and information for participants (pdf)
CBD: Jakarta Manadate on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity


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