Daily report for 27 November 2001

1st Intergovernmental Review (IGR) on Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA)

On Tuesday, delegates at the Intergovernmental Review (IGR) on Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) discussed the proposed 2002-2006 work programme of the GPA Coordination Office in the morning, and coastal and ocean governance in the afternoon.


Veerle Vanderweerd, Coordinator, GPA Coordination Office, summarized prior achievements of the GPA Coordination Office, including the Clearinghouse Mechanism, national programmes of action (NPAs), financial instruments, voluntary agreements, and regional and interagency cooperation. She stressed that the GEF is not the financial mechanism for the GPA, though it has made contributions at the regional level. Regarding the need for sustainable investments, she noted a gap between the US$180 billion needed for water issues and the US$80 billion actually spent.

The INTERGOVERNMENTAL OCEANOGRAPHIC COMMISSION (IOC) reported significant progress on integrated coastal management and marine environmental protection. Elaborating on the role of international institutions such as UNIDO, UNEP and UNDP, he highlighted, inter alia, the development of technical tools, implementation of the Clearinghouse Mechanism, and establishment of a network of training centers. UNEP/GEF described the GEF portfolio of international waters projects relevant to GPA implementation. He noted that UNEP/GEF will continue to contribute to implementation of the GPA, though it can only support activities with transboundary implications. The GEF noted that its international waters focal area supports 34 projects directly related to the GPAs objectives in over 120 countries, with a financial commitment of more than US$200 million. The PERMANENT COMMISSION FOR THE SOUTH PACIFIC (CPPS) described its involvement in regional implementation of the GPA in the Southwest Pacific. He stressed that international cooperation is indispensable to the success of the GPA. FINLAND outlined a GEF-supported project that aims to improve the health of the Baltic Sea.

Vandeweerd then introduced the Proposed 2002-2006 Programme of Work (POW) for the GPA Coordination Office, with Indicative Costs (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/6). She explained that it is not the task of the IGR to adopt the POW but that of the UNEP Governing Council. The POW will follow strictly the Governing Councils approved programme and augment it with activities funded by external donors. She explained that the objectives of the 2002-2006 POW are to achieve measurable reductions in pollutant loads in defined coastal locations, protect and restore specific habitats, and enhance the capacity of local and national authorities to address priority problems, considering alternative solutions. The main activity clusters for the POW include: promoting and facilitating binding and non-binding agreements between governments as well as voluntary agreements; contributing to global and regional assessments and analyses for action; building capacity; developing and implementing NPAs; facilitating action on source categories, with a focus on municipal wastewater and physical alteration and destruction of habitats; conducting public outreach and awareness-building; mobilizing resources; and preparing for the second IGR meeting. She explained that cost estimates for the POW are outlined at three different funding levels: minimum, intermediate, and "appropriate" (if funds were not a limiting factor).

The SOUTHEAST PACIFIC ACTION PLAN expressed hope that the GPA Office would garner the largest possible funding so it can adequately support developing country efforts to implement the GPA. COLOMBIA stressed the importance of monitoring and assessment of environmental conditions, developing indicators for sustainable development, integrating freshwater, oceans and coastal management, and creating financial and policy synergies among organizations and conventions. CANADA expressed support for the integrated partnership approach, and said the intermediate financial scenario is realistic. On assessing progress, he stated that success must be measured not only in terms of ocean health but also the effectiveness of investments.

The IOC presented the Proposed 2002-2006 POW for UN Agencies in Support of Implementation of the GPA (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/6/ Add.1), and listed proposals to develop indicators for ocean health and sustainable oceans management and to assess impacts of nutrient fluxes into coastal zones. He identified obstacles to effective action, including scarce resources and lack of institutional coordination on cross-sectoral mandates such as the GPA. ICLEI offered assistance in involving local governments, building capacity, and facilitating cooperation among cities.

The NETHERLANDS stressed the importance of additional funding, and noted that it is considering contributing US$1.3 million to the GPA for 2002. ST. LUCIA underscored the importance of strengthening linkages with other multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) so that diminishing resources can be used efficiently. JAPAN noted the need to avoid duplication of activities under other MEAs, including the MARPOL and POPs conventions. The US lauded the GPAs movement into an action-oriented phase, and expressed hope that assessment activities would also be linked to action. AUSTRALIA noted that the Clearinghouse Mechanism provides a good tool for building capacity. PERU stressed the importance of indicators to assess implementation of GPA objectives. ITALY noted the need to strengthen the linkages between the GPA and regional seas conventions and protocols.

ICELAND questioned the POWs inclusion of the "minimum" funding level, stressing that the intermediate funding level is the minimum required to meet the POWs goals. The FAO reiterated its commitment to continue supporting implementation of the GPA, and stressed the need for commitments of additional financial resources from a range of partners. The WHO underscored the importance of incorporating human health concerns into the GPAs future work priorities. MONITOR INTERNATIONAL expressed support for the POWs emphasis on specific targets and indicators and its focus on nutrients. TANZANIA stressed the need for governments to hasten ratification of relevant international and regional conventions to advance GPA implementation.

BRAZIL supported a link between the GPA and the London Convention, recommended establishing criteria to measure implementation of the GPA, and suggested enlisting assistance from the private sector. SWEDEN supported the POWs prioritization of sewage, physical alteration and destruction, and nutrients, but underscored the need to continue work on other source categories, which continue to be problematic in many regions. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO supported the focus on priority source categories, and underscored the importance of linking river basin and coastal area management, particularly for small island developing States (SIDS). VENEZUELA urged the inclusion of hydrocarbons as a priority source to be addressed in the POW. KENYA encouraged the POW to include efforts to enable a wider range of users to access the Clearinghouse Mechanism.


Co-Chair Slade (Samoa) introduced the document on Improving the Implementation of the GPA through Improved Coastal and Ocean Governance (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/7). Vanderweerd emphasized that delegates proposals should feed into the ministerial segment, the Montreal Declaration, the upcoming IEG meeting, the WSSD, and water-related processes. She stressed the need to hold multi-stakeholder discussions, improve cooperation between conventions and coordination among organizations, involve civil society in governance, and integrate coastal and river basin management.

The UNEP DIVISION OF ENVIRONMENT CONVENTIONS discussed trends in international environmental governance (IEG) in regional seas, including the increase in multi-sectoral agreements, horizontal cooperation among regional seas conventions, interagency coordination at the regional level, regional coordination among international organizations, and the establishment of regional transfer of technologies. He noted the need for strengthening IEG through a bottom-up approach and clustering at thematic, functional and regional levels. On policy options, he proposed cooperation among scientific bodies in various seas conventions and joint meetings of the bureaus of Regional Seas Programmes.

The CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY (CBD) underscored the important linkages between the CBD and the GPA given their common interest in the sustainable use of coastal marine resources and conservation of marine habitats. He noted that the CBD and the GPA are exploring collaborative linkages for their clearinghouses and signed a memorandum of cooperation in September 2000. IUCN highlighted challenges with coordination and cooperation at national and regional levels, and recommended that the GPA develop tools to address these challenges. She supported regular multi-stakeholder meetings to review the GPA.

GLOBE INDIA noted that the Indian Government has made progress in protecting its marine environment, but requires assistance from international organizations and the private sector. The INTERNATIONAL OCEAN INSTITUTE recommended that ocean governance be advanced at three levels: legal frameworks; institutional frameworks; and tools for implementation, including technological, financial, and implementation and enforcement capacity. The IOC discussed the creation of multi-stakeholder validation systems and the need for improved coordination within the UN system.

The US emphasized that the principal responsibility for environmental governance rests with governments, with transparent processes that allow for the participation of all stakeholders. She noted that, at the national level, management of watersheds, coastal zones and the marine environment requires strengthening institutional cooperation among port authorities, coastal managers and other relevant actors. She supported increased coordination and cooperation among UN bodies dealing with oceans at the global level. The FAO supported a bottom-up approach, and stressed the need for national-level capacity building and consultations to facilitate harmonization of environmental agreements. ST. LUCIA supported streamlining the reporting requirements of various instruments given human resource limitations. He emphasized the need to raise the awareness of specific target groups to enable the involvement of civil society and the private sector. ITALY stressed the need to improve coordination among organizations addressing global marine issues.

SAMOA drew attention to the special needs of SIDS, including human resources and capacity building, and urged further coordination among GPA cooperative agreements. CANADA identified the following prerequisites for effective governance: community engagement; consideration of the effectiveness of policy programmes; increased collaboration and cooperation; integrated management; the development of sustainable ocean industries; and political will. MEXICO supported linking local, national, regional and global initiatives, and proposed ongoing follow-up to the Oceans Consultative Process, improved coordination among governments and UN agencies, regional plans for GPA implementation, and national sustainable development programmes. AUSTRALIA expressed satisfaction with progress on the GPA, and called for linkages with the Oceans Consultative Process.

NEW ZEALAND recommended that the outcomes of the IGR be reflected in the Montreal Declaration and at the upcoming IEG meeting. ECUADOR cited its achievements in participatory management of coastal resources. He said that existing models for environmental management are centered on the personal interests of scientists, legislators and consultants who often do not take into account the needs of local communities. MOZAMBIQUE supported reducing the duplication of efforts, and called for external support for national policies. SWEDEN stressed the need for consistency between regional arrangements and NPAs as well as integration of private and public sector efforts. BRAZIL expressed dissatisfaction with the non-binding character of the GPA and the lack of concrete action.

NICARAGUA underscored the need for international, regional and national support for the principles of ocean management and governance, and stressed the importance of strengthening synergies between conventions. The WORLD BANK highlighted its investments in GPA-related activities, including wastewater and sanitation, control of industrial pollution, reduction of agricultural runoff in coastal areas, and institutional support for international waters. He noted that coordination is crucial for the efficient use of scarce financial resources, and said the Bank is ready to help improve coordination among agencies.

Vanderweerd summarized delegates comments, highlighting: the importance of reaching out to other conventions; the GPAs ability to serve as a trigger to bring stakeholders together, particularly at the regional level; the need for a bottom-up approach; and the importance of building capacity to improve ocean governance.


PLENARY: Delegates will convene at 10:00 am in Plenary 4 to consider financing for implementation of the GPA, and at 3:00 pm to discuss recommendations to be forwarded to the high-level segment.

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