Daily report for 28 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 Wednesday, 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 building partnerships and financing implementation of the GPA in a morning Plenary session. The draft Montreal Declaration, the draft Co-Chairs summary of the meeting, and the draft report of the meeting, to be forwarded to the high-level segment, were presented for delegates consideration in the afternoon.


Veerle Vandeweerd, GPA Office Coordinator, introduced the document on Building Partnerships and Financing the Implementation of the GPA (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/8). She highlighted findings from the July 2001 World Bank/UNEP workshop on promoting sustainable financing for GPA-related activities, including the need for sound and transparent regulatory and legal frameworks, capacity building for enforcement and compliance, and capacity building for governments to identify sound projects and negotiate and manage innovative financing arrangements. The workshop emphasized that: domestic financing is and will remain the primary investor in GPA-related sectors; most countries can mobilize significant domestic financing; there is a need to identify realistic financing possibilities such as water service pricing and tax and subsidy reform; and water funds, water markets, pollution trading and pollution permits merit further consideration. She stressed the need to mainstream the GPAs objectives into the work programmes of major financial institutions.

The AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK stressed the need to establish priorities, given that a proliferation of environmental agreements has led to competition for increasingly scarce financial resources. He urged the GPA to ensure that its activities are effectively integrated into national development planning processes. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL called for: full debt relief for least developed countries; fulfillment of developed countries commitment to 0.7 percent of GNP for ODA; removal of all environmentally destructive subsidies; and full implementation of the polluter pays principle.

CANADA stressed the importance of integrating public and private investments and improving access to existing resources. The WHO focused attention on strengthening the motivation of governments by stressing the health impact of coastal pollution. Noting that hundreds of millions of people are affected by pollution-related disease, he urged strengthening this aspect in the Montreal Declaration. COLOMBIA placed emphasis on economic assessments of pollution impacts as a means of prioritizing investments and proposed creating an information bank. UNEP stressed the need for public-private partnerships in funding, although there has been little experience with them to date.

JORDAN noted problems with the GPA categorization of pollution sources, downplayed the relative importance of industrial sources, stressed efficient use of financial resources, and said investment should be conditional on innovative good practices. The WORLD BANK affirmed its commitment to sustainable development and noted that it has already contributed to GPA-related activities even though it has not targeted funds specifically to the GPA.

The US welcomed the focus on creating partnerships between the private sector and NGOs for implementing the GPA, and supported the promotion of environmental awareness among stakeholders as a positive strategy for mobilizing new investments. She cautioned against pollution trading for land-based sources and instead recommended that efforts focus on pollution prevention, reduction and control. She noted that, subject to Congressional approval, the US will provide US$342,000 to help develop two regional demonstration NPAs. JAMAICA described its bilaterally and multilaterally funded projects, which are raising awareness, establishing standards for sewage effluents, preventing pollution, and monitoring water quality.

SWEDEN stressed that building partnerships with stakeholders is key in mobilizing needed resources, and that innovative solutions for financing can be found through private-public partnerships. TANZANIA emphasized the need for local governments to sensitize and educate coastal communities on the dangers of polluted waters. He noted the opportunities provided by ecotourism, and highlighted the need for improved town planning, cleaner production and consumption, empowered local governments, and debt relief. The GEF announced that it hopes to increase its support for the GPA in the areas of conservation, sustainable use of coastal resources, and protection of biodiversity. He noted that the GEF is interested in working with the GPA to test the effectiveness of financial arrangements and ways of removing barriers that hinder private investment. The INTERNATIONAL OCEAN INSTITUTE flagged international taxation, such as a tourism tax, as a possible source of future financing.

The FAO called for coordination among UN agencies in cross-cutting areas and integration of GPA activities into their work programmes. MEXICO supported GPA initiatives and financing to address the impacts of wastewater on human health. NEW ZEALAND supported the phase-out of subsidies that harm the marine environment, especially agricultural subsidies. SWITZERLAND stressed the importance of a successful GEF replenishment. KENYA called for clear links between debt relief and GPA implementation. KIRIBATI urged the GPA to focus on finding financing solutions for developing countries, particularly small island States. PERU stated that funding mechanisms should be established as a function of the real requirements of countries and within national frameworks. BELGIUM stressed that projects must be country-driven and -owned to be successful and sustainable, and said that their inclusion in national sustainable development plans would facilitate access to additional financing.


Tom Laughlin (US), Chair of the Montreal Declaration drafting group, introduced the draft Montreal Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities. The draft Declaration consists of six preambular paragraphs and three operative sections, on mainstreaming of the GPA, oceans and coastal governance, and financing of the GPA.

The section on mainstreaming of the GPA calls for: incorporating the aims and objectives of the GPA into new and existing activities and plans at the local, national, regional and global levels; strengthening the capacity of regional seas organizations for multi-stakeholder cooperation; supporting the development of additional regional seas agreements; and calling on UN agencies and programmes and international financial institutions to incorporate the GPAs objectives into their respective work programmes.

The section on oceans and coastal governance calls for: strengthening institutional cooperation between river-basin authorities, port authorities and coastal zone managers; strengthening the capacity of local and national authorities to obtain and utilize sound scientific information in integrated decision-making; and improving scientific assessment of the anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment.

The section on financing of the GPA calls for: strengthening the capacity of local and national authorities to identify needs and alternative solutions to land-based sources of pollution; urging international financial institutions, regional development banks and other international financial mechanisms to finance activities related to GPA implementation; and giving due consideration to the positive and negative impacts of domestic legislation and policies, including fiscal measures such as taxation and subsidies, on land-based degradation.

Following proposed amendments to the text from JAMAICA, MONACO, VENEZUELA and SOUTH AFRICA, Co-Chair Slade (Samoa) suspended the Plenary to allow the drafting group to reconvene and address delegates remaining concerns. After an hour of discussions, drafting group Chair Laughlin reported some progress but noted a lack of consensus on a few outstanding issues. He said the drafting group would continue its work and submit a final text in the morning for consideration by the ministers in the afternoon.


Co-Chair Johannesson (Iceland) informed delegates that the Co-Chairs were preparing a Co-Chairs Summary of the meetings discussions, which would be presented to ministers and would serve as one of the outputs of the meeting. Outlining some of its conclusions, he highlighted considerable progress in GPA implementation and in integrated coastal management and ocean governance, and noted that many countries have implemented national programmes of action (NPAs) and have integrated the GPA into their national plans. Noting strong regional cooperation, he highlighted the regional seas programmes as a platform for improving coastal governance. He also noted that the development and implementation of the GPA Clearinghouse is a major achievement and serves as a valuable tool for all stakeholders in implementing the GPA. He noted that substantial progress has been made in implementation due to GEF allocations to GPA-related projects, and recognized many governments considerable contributions to support the GPA Office.

Regarding opportunities and barriers to implementation, he noted that delegates had emphasized that the GPA has helped to improve governance, including to strengthen regional seas programmes and protocols, and is an effective mechanism to improve coordination among conventions. The need for international cooperation and coordination at the national level to address marine pollution from land-based activities was underscored. It was noted that the GPAs ability to bring together many sectors generates benefits in terms of poverty alleviation, food security and peace. Sewage, destruction and alteration of habitats, and nutrients were highlighted as priority problems.

Co-Chair Johannesson noted that the Strategic Action Plan on Municipal Wastewater was well-received by delegates, though they noted that it could expand on some issues, including guidance on new financial mechanisms, monitoring and evaluation of project implementation. The need for transfer of technology and expertise, particularly for the management of municipal wastewater, was emphasized. He noted that delegates had highlighted the polluter pays principle as a means of facilitating the wise use of water, while stressing the need for consideration of the social costs and for balance with regulatory measures to reduce pollution.

Co-Chair Johannesson noted strong support for the 2002-2006 programme of work (POW) for the GPA Coordination Office. Delegates had suggested that the POW could be further enhanced through the development of performance indicators, specific targets and monitoring and assessment, and that its activities should be linked with ongoing programmes, especially at the regional level, to avoid duplication. The need to increase efficiency by combining the efforts of UN agencies whose work complements the POW was also emphasized. There was support for at least the intermediate level of funding presented in the POW.

On ocean and coastal governance, it was noted that GPA implementation generates economic, health, environmental and sustainable development benefits. The advantages of harmonizing GPA capacity, especially that of regional seas programmes, and of facilitating twinning arrangements between regional seas were highlighted. Delegates had called for greater integration of the GPA with complementary international instruments, and for memoranda of understanding with multilateral environmental agreements.

The draft Co-Chairs Summary notes that delegates reiterated that financing for GPA implementation should come primarily from domestic resources, though both national and regional-level resources are increasingly scarce. Delegates also emphasized the need for: innovative mechanisms to integrate the GPA into existing financing programmes; incorporation of the GPA into national sustainable development strategies; capacity building for governments to engage the private sector and civil society in implementation; and partnerships.


Rapporteur Franklin McDonald (Jamaica) introduced the draft report of the IGR meeting (UNEP/GPA/IGR.1/L.1) and invited delegations to offer comments in writing. He explained that the report is not intended to include every statement but to capture the overall spirit of dialogue. PAKISTAN requested the inclusion of freshwater inflows as a cause of habitat degradation.


HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: High-level officials will deliver statements on coastal and ocean governance and on leveraging financial resources beginning at 10:00 am in Plenary 4. They are expected to commence discussions on the draft Montreal Declaration at 3:00 pm in Plenary 4.

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