Summary report, 11–13 October 2005

Ocean Policy Summit 2005

The Ocean Policy Summit 2005 took place in Lisbon, Portugal from 11-13 October 2005. The event brought together 218 participants from 53 countries, with governments, regional organizations, UN agencies, academia, non-governmental organizations and industry represented. It was organized by the International Ocean Governance Network with support from the Nippon Foundation, the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, the Portuguese Intersectoral Ocean Commission, Portugals Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Port Authority of Lisbon, the International Coastal and Ocean Organization, the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy at the University of Delaware, and the Marine and Environmental Law Institute at Dalhousie University.

The Summit took as its theme, Integrated Ocean Policy: National and Regional Experiences, Prospects and Emerging Practices. Delegates met for eight panel discussions on various aspects of integrated ocean policy, including: the growing interest in integrated national and regional ocean policies; learning lessons from countries that have made the most progress to date; achieving cross-sectoral harmonization of ocean use and agencies; identifying principles for governance; and implementing an integrated policy and factoring in operational and financial considerations.

In addition to the formal panel discussions, working groups considered key questions and the Summits outcomes. There were also special presentations on the status of the worlds exclusive economic zones under the Law of the Sea and on Marine Protected Areas, as well as briefings on a number of recent meetings. In addition, several pre-conference gatherings were held on 10 October, and a post-conference ocean strategy workshop convened on 14 October.

The discussions and ideas generated at the Ocean Policy Summit 2005 are expected to provide further momentum for integrated oceans management at the international, regional and national levels.


While most coastal countries have adopted sector-specific policies to manage ocean use, such as for fishing and oil development, it has only been since the early 1990s that some countries have started introducing an integrated approach to managing ocean and coastal areas in their jurisdictions.

RIO EARTH SUMMIT AND FOLLOW UP: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Rio Earth Summit held in 1992, addressed issues and challenges related to sustainable development at the global level. Delegates adopted Agenda 21, a plan for achieving sustainable development in the 21st Century. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 called for new and integrated approaches to the sustainable development of oceans and coasts, and the Rio Principles on environment and development endorsed the precautionary principle as a component of new approaches to ocean-related agreements

Since UNCED, significant progress has been made in the development of legislation, agreements and programmes of action at the international level. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) entered into force in 1994, providing an overall framework for governance of the ocean. The United Nations Environment Programmes Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), the Convention on Biological Diversitys (CBD) Jakarta Mandate on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity (Jakarta Mandate) and the United Nations Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (Fish Stocks Agreement) were all adopted in 1995. UNEPs Regional Seas Programme has continued to guide the process of regional cooperation, and the 1994 Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) has contributed to an overall strengthening of issues related to SIDS on the political agenda.

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD addressed ocean management, building on input from various recent meetings, including the November 2001 GPA Intergovernmental Review Meeting held in Montreal, and the Global Conference on Oceans and Coasts at Rio+10, held in Paris, France in December 2001.

The WSSD adopted two negotiated outcomes - the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. The Plan of Implementation contained a number of commitments on oceans, coasts and islands, including: controlling illegal fishing by 2004; managing fishery capacity by 2005; applying the ecosystem approach to marine areas by 2010; and establishing a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2012. In addition, several relevant non-negotiated partnerships and voluntary initiatives were announced by governments, the private sector and civil society.

The WSSD also witnessed the establishment of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands. The Forum was created during the WSSD by an informal coordinating group and is comprised of individuals from governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. It seeks to provide a platform for cross-sectoral information sharing and dialogue on issues affecting oceans, coasts and islands, with the goal of attaining sustainable development in these areas. The Forum organized the Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, which sought to follow-up on the WSSD outcomes, in November 2003.

An International Ocean Governance Network was also established by the Nippon Foundation after the WSSD, with the aim of enhancing education and building capacity in ocean governance around the world. The Network has been responsible for a number of educational and research initiatives to date. This includes a Research Task Force on National Ocean Policies, which met in Tokyo in April 2004, and in New York two months later.

Other relevant international events include the Third World Water Forum, held in Japan in March 2003, and the International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in Mauritius in January 2005. The second International Workshop on the regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socioeconomic aspects (GMA), was held in June 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. This followed the sixth meeting of the Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or UNICPOLOS). For reports on these events, visit: and

Most recently, the 2005 UN World Summit, held in New York in September 2005, addressed ocean policy issues. The 2005 World Summit Outcome (UN document A/60/L.1) reaffirmed the 2000 UN Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG 7). The World Summit Outcome also contained an undertaking to improve cooperation and coordination at all levels in order to address issues related to oceans and seas in an integrated manner and promote integrated management and sustainable development of the oceans and seas.


The Ocean Policy Summit 2005 commenced on Tuesday morning, 11 October 2005. The three-day meeting began with opening statements from invited speakers and a short session to outline the purpose of the conference. This was followed over the next two-and-a-half days by eight panel sessions that addressed various aspects of integrated oceans management, and working groups to consider guidance on integrated ocean policies and the outcomes of the meeting. There were also special presentations on Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and marine protected areas, and briefings on several recent meetings.


On Tuesday morning, Mario Ruivo, President of the Portuguese Committee for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), welcomed participants, noting that this event would have a strong focus on the institutional aspects of ocean governance.

Diogo Freitas do Amaral, Minister of State and Foreign Affairs of Portugal, officially opened the meeting, thanking participants, sponsors and organizers, and particularly the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands. He highlighted the importance Portugal attaches to ocean issues, supported the development of integrated ocean policies, proposed the establishment of a center of excellence for scientific research, and noted that a growing number of countries are adopting an ecosystem-based approach to maritime and ocean policies. Finally, he welcomed this gathering as an opportunity to share experiences and case studies on lessons learned and emerging best practices.

Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, outlined the European Commissions objectives for 2005-2009, which include developing an all-embracing maritime policy that will unlock the full potential of the sea in an environmentally-sustainable manner. He explained that the approach will be intersectoral, interdisciplinary and cross-cutting, incorporating tourism, fisheries, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas drilling, biotechnology, shipbuilding, maritime transport, and other sectors. He supported efforts to improve scientific knowledge and expressed concern at the multiple threats to the marine environment and the fragmentation of decision-making. He also reported on the Commissions Green Paper on the future of maritime policy, which he said will be adopted in 2006.

Alfonse Dubi, Vice-Chair, IOC/UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, read a statement by Patricio Bernal, IOC Executive Secretary and Co-Chair of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, highlighting the significance of oceans and coasts, their limited capacity to support increased demand, and the cross boundary nature of the challenges facing them. He noted IOCs coordinating role in various ocean-related activities, including the new tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean, and underscored this Summits role in advancing the oceans agenda and addressing WSSD goals.

Speaking on behalf of UNEP Executive Director Klaus Tpfer, Veerle Vanderweerd, Coordinator, Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), UNEP, and Co-Chair of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, welcomed participants to the Ocean Policy Summit and thanked donors for their support. She stated that oceans are not receiving the international, regional and national attention they deserve, and stressed the urgency of oceans issues. She also emphasized that national and regional ocean policies cannot be developed or viewed in isolation, should be developed as part of national development strategies, are vital for achieving poverty reduction, and need to be implemented once they are formulated.

Takashi Ito, Director of Maritime Affairs, the Nippon Foundation, outlined the Foundations support for improved ocean policies and governance, including the establishment of the Research Task Force on National Ocean Policies. He noted the lack of resources for ocean issues in spite of their significance, urged other foundations to support such work, and indicated that the Nippon Foundation has focused its support on capacity building.

Indroyono Soesilo, Chair of Indonesias Agency for Marine and Fisheries Research, reported on the Second Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) Ocean Ministerial meeting held in Bali from 16-17 September 2005. He explained that the meeting had resulted in the Bali Plan of Action, which endorses action to support the sustainable management of marine areas and resources based on reliable research, and addresses maritime problems ranging from pollution and biodiversity loss to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The Bali Plan also supports maximizing the value of fisheries products and market access.


Biliana Cicin-Sain, Co-Chair and Head of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, and Director of the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy at the University of Delaware, outlined the purpose of the conference. She explained that the goal was to provide a forum to learn from one another, encourage other nations, and capture emerging good practice, or at least useful observations on trends and issues. She particularly thanked the Nippon Foundation and the Global Environment Facility for supporting this event and Portugal for hosting it.

While noting that there had been a lot of unsettling news on oceans and coastal areas, Cicin-Sain highlighted that an increasing number of countries are making systematic and deliberate efforts to establish integrated ocean policies. Reflecting on the case studies that would be discussed at this meeting, she said many countries are in the preparatory stage of policy development, although some are now being formulated and a few are actually being implemented. She explained that the case studies revealed country policies that are consciously integrated and multifaceted, and that take into account sustainable development, ecosystem protection, social advancement and, in most cases, maritime security. She noted that most approaches seek to harmonize rather than replace sectoral policies.

Cicin-Sain also identified some common catalysts that have prompted countries to take action, including multiple-use conflicts among uses, users and agencies, a degradation of resources, an awareness of missed economic opportunities for local people, and encouragement from international actors. She also observed that successful policies generally require executive, legislative and interest group support, as well as industry acceptance. She highlighted a remarkable congruence in national ocean policy principles being adopted by different countries, and noted the need for transparency, public involvement, incentives for joint action, and a national oceans office with clearly-articulated responsibilities and a separate budget. She also underscored the linkages between governance of maritime Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), coastal management, and freshwater issues, and the need for adaptive policies that evolve in light of monitoring and regular reviews.


The first panel convened on Tuesday morning, 11 October. This panel examined the global trend towards integrated national and regional ocean policies. Participants heard presentations on the experiences of speakers from seven countries: Portugal, the US, Republic of Korea, Cook Islands, Tanzania, Brazil and the Russian Federation. The session was chaired by Veerle Vanderweerd, Coordinator of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, UNEP.

Mario Ruivo, President of the Portuguese Committee for the IOC, said that developing integrated ocean management takes many years. He stressed the importance of engaging the public, the media, civil society and the scientific and research communities. He also emphasized building support in political circles, supporting transparency, and encouraging action at the international, regional and national levels.

Paul Sandifer, US Commission on Ocean Policy, highlighted five necessary prerequisites for developing effective ocean policy: a good example, heroes or champions, political action, persistence, and more persistence. He presented an overview of the development of US ocean-related legislation and regulation, highlighting the signing of the Oceans Act in 2000, which established the process for developing the US Commission on Ocean Policy, and the creation of the US Ocean Action Plan in 2004.

Heui Jin Ji, Director, Marine Policy Division, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea, outlined his countrys marine policy, noting the establishment of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and highlighting its goals for the development of the ocean industry, including preservation of a clean and safe marine environment, efficient utilization of marine resources, and strengthened cooperation between North and South Korea. To achieve these goals, he noted that the Ministry is conducting research projects within the EEZ.

Willie John, Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Minister of Marine Resources of the Cook Islands, stated that the ocean is our hearts, and noted the timeliness of discussing integrated national and regional ocean policies, since the Cook Islands is revising its marine legislation. He described ongoing discussions involving the government and development partners to improve the manageability and sustainability of marine resources and assured participants that lessons learned at this meeting will be incorporated in the revised marine law.

Magnus Ngoile, Director-General of Tanzanias National Environmental Council, underscored the importance of addressing poverty when discussing ocean policy. He noted that the national integrated coastal management strategy provides a framework linking sectors and local governments and creating partnerships among them to ensure sustainable use of ocean resources. He indicated that Tanzanias integrated coastal zone strategy has provided a mechanism for coastal resource management and EEZ management, and underscored the importance of giving the process sufficient time.

Victor Zveibil, Secretary of Environmental Quality in Human Settlements, Environment Ministry of Brazil, outlined his countrys National Policy for Sea Resources, which he said takes into account the need for sustainable use of ocean resources. He explained that the policy has an operational side supported by a Sectoral Plan for Sea Resources, and a coordinating side supported by an Inter-ministerial Commission for Sea Resources that involves 12 ministries and a special secretariat. He also reflected on Brazils involvement in relevant international treaties and its regional and bilateral activities.

Yuriy Mikhaylichenko, Department of State Target Programmes and Capital Investments, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation, reported on action taken to adjust the countrys ocean policies since the Soviet period, including efforts to reduce state intervention in competitive business processes, and the construction of effective market institutions. He noted that initiatives included the federal target programme World Ocean to develop and utilize ocean resources better, the Marine Board, which is headed by the Prime Minister, and the Marine Doctrine. He also observed that marine activities are still generally managed through a sectoral approach, and that coastal infrastructure and administrative systems need to be modernized.


On Tuesday afternoon, delegates convened for a panel discussion on lessons learned from Canada and Australia, which pioneered integrated ocean management in the 1990s. The session was chaired by Gerard J. Mangone, Professor, University of Delaware, who stressed the importance of learning by doing when developing ocean policy.

Donna Petrachenko, First Assistant Secretary, Marine Division, Department of the Environment and Heritage of Australia, presented on the development of Australias ocean policy. She noted the National Oceans Offices development of regional marine plans as the primary implementation tool for ocean policy, and acknowledged that they did not tackle multi-level decision making as intended. She highlighted lessons learned, including the need for full engagement of sector-specific departments and agencies and the increased support generated by small successes. Looking ahead, she said the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act of 1999, which allows for the creation of bioregional plans, would be employed to provide a focused legislative framework that will deliver biodiversity and ecological outcomes for oceans management and complement existing effective management arrangements.

Camille Mageau, Director, Marine Ecosystem Conservation, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, noted that work on this issue is ongoing and still evolving. She explained that Canada began addressing the issue through the 1997 Oceans Act, which identifies a federal lead agency to coordinate policies and sets out an enabling rather than prescriptive framework. This was followed with a learning by doing phase from 1997-2002 that led to Canadas 2002 Oceans Strategy, which set out a policy framework and model of governance. Finally, she explained that Canada recently established an Oceans Action Plan, which articulates a federal blueprint for action, including 18 deliverables.

David VanderZwaag, Dalhousie University, Canada, compared and contrasted the Canadian and Australian approaches. He identified several similarities between their approaches, including that: federal planning exercises were carried out without certainty on how plans would be given teeth; fragmented institutional and statutory responsibilities persist at the national and provincial/state levels; there is still only a limited scientific understanding of marine ecosystems; and political and economic realities, including vested interests, continue to hinder progress. On the differences between the two countries experiences, VanderZwaag noted that Canada had started out with oceans legislation, while Australia had begun with a policy. Also, he noted that Canada had allocated the lead role to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, while Australia gave the Department of the Environment and Heritage this responsibility. He also stated that there was greater constitutional certainty in Australia regarding offshore jurisdiction between national and state/provincial governments, while Canada appeared to have made more progress on indigenous offshore rights.


On Wednesday morning, 12 October, a panel convened to review lessons learned from the establishment of integrated ocean policies, including the catalytic factors involved, the role of legislation and ocean commissions, and the role of external constituencies and international programmes. The session was chaired by Charles Ehler, Vice-Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Marine.

John Roberts, Head of the Marine and Waterways Division, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, presented a comparative overview of different countries approaches in developing integrated ocean policies. He observed a broad consensus on the importance of an ecosystems approach, best-available science, the precautionary principle, and public participation. Identifying catalysts for action, he noted that countries had often been motivated to act by an environmental crisis or systemic failure, the need to incorporate Law of the Sea or WSSD obligations, pressure from non-governmental organizations, government initiatives, external funding, or regional organizations. Barriers to progress have included a lack of knowledge or capacity, sectoral resistance, and the absence of political will. Roberts then outlined various approaches to getting started, including establishing an oceans commission, an Oceans Act, science-based objectives, and/or oceans boards. While each approach has its positives and negatives, he stressed that a range of different approaches is clearly available and that countries are adapting their approaches to fit their circumstances.

Paul Sandifer, US Commission on Ocean Policy, spoke about the role of ocean commissions. He stressed that commissions should: have a mentor or leader; be as independent and as non-partisan as possible; have clear terms of reference and deadlines; have a diverse membership of people who can work well with others, be able to reach consensus and bring multi-sectoral expertise; include members of the environmental community; and be transparent at every stage, holding public meetings and engaging with and listening to the public, state and local government, non-government organizations, the private sector, and academia. Finally, he noted the need for follow up and continued persuasion once the report is published to ensure it is implemented rather than just collecting dust on a shelf.

Tiago Pitta e Cunha, Member of Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, observed that national oceans commissions can act as a catalyst for action, adding that they need close links to high-level political decision makers and should enlist diverse members from the public and private sectors, including members with social sciences background and experience in communications and marketing.

Hiroshi Terashima, Executive Director, Ocean Policy Research Foundation of Japan, presented an overview of how Japans oceans policy has evolved, including its new National Area Reformation Planning Law. Noting that considerable efforts will be needed to realize a cross-sectoral approach, he supported the establishment of comprehensive legal frameworks and a central coordinating body for ocean and coastal issues. He also said the involvement of think tanks, academia and others should be encouraged, pointing to the pro-active role of the Nippon Foundation.

Bernice McLean, Independent Consultant, South Africa, provided an overview of the role of outside constituents/actors in fostering the political will for ocean policy in South Africa and Tanzania, highlighting lessons learned from the past and useful ideas for the future. She noted that, despite these two countries limited resources, both have extensive ocean policy and legal frameworks that were developed in a participatory way. Although South Africa previously experienced low involvement from outside constituents, she indicated that both countries now have outside development partners. On lessons learned, she observed that a vision for change must be created through measurable targets, and stressed the benefits of building on existing institutional structures, capacity and initiatives, coordination among outside constituents, and an ongoing and targeted message.

Antonio Diaz de Leon, Director-General for Environment Policy, Mexicos Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, outlined the principles being applied as his country moves towards a National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Oceans and Coasts. These include multiple use, sustainability, and participatory governance, with the aim of promoting governance, strengthening critical habitats and supporting sustainable development of coastal areas. Noting that ocean policy in Mexico had been driven by society and the scientific community, he highlighted constraints to its development and implementation relating to adjusting the legal framework, defining common priorities among federal agencies, strengthening the environmental crosscutting agenda, and moving towards sectoral integration.

Mary Power, Coordinator Reef Fisheries Observatory, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, outlined the process of creating regional ocean policy and the framework for integrated strategic action in the Pacific Islands. She explained that the regional policy was developed under the concept of good ocean governance and offers a framework for individual countries in developing their own national policies. She stressed that the regional policy is now in its implementation phase, and noted the need for both human and financial resources at the global and regional level to complete implementation. She also acknowledged that, while the policy is not all encompassing, it does demonstrate a commitment to sustainable ocean management.

Indumathie Hewawasam, Environment Specialist, World Bank, presented a donor perspective on collaboration in funding EEZ management. She noted that prerequisites for securing support from donors include political stability and domestic momentum for action, participation in relevant international treaties, demonstrable impacts on poverty and possible linkages to the Millennium Development Goals. Adding that the World Bank also looks for consistency with its Macro Policy Framework and the potential for co-financing, she outlined a relevant case study from Tanzania.

Tom Laughlin, Deputy Director, International Affairs Office, NOAA, speaking for Ken Sherman, National Marine Fisheries Service, discussed the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) Programme. He explained that the LME approach uses ecological criteria to define and identify marine areas, develops indicators to monitor changes in the ecosystem, and provides significant funding to help attain relevant targets, such as those agreed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Huming Yu, Senior Programme Officer, Coastal and Ocean Governance, UNDP/IMO/Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), spoke about the development of national ocean and coastal policies in East Asia. He said PEMSEA could add value to policy development by providing a coordinating and facilitative role to integrate the various actions already going on in many relevant areas, from poverty reduction to conservation, and highlighted the importance of national circumstances, demonstrating that one model does not fit all situations.

Panel Chair Charles Ehler wrapped up the discussion by noting that there are many approaches to oceans policies: many will succeed, some will probably fail. However, it is useful to document both in a systematic way so we know what works and what does not.


This panel was held early Wednesday afternoon, 12 October. The session, which was chaired by Tom Laughlin, NOAA, focused on how to achieve harmonization among multiple ocean uses and agencies, and on linkages between freshwater, coasts and oceans.

Biliana Cicin-Sain, Co-Chair of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, presented a comparative overview of the issue. She raised various questions about the challenge of achieving cross-sectoral harmonization, including: how to make cross-sectoral agency collaboration and harmonization work on a continuing basis; what the structures for national ocean policy should be; how to achieve the multipurpose outcomes of sustainable development, conservation, social promotion and maritime security; and how to achieve spatial integration of freshwater, coastal and oceans issues.

Elie Jarmache, Secrtariat Gnral de la Mer, Prime Ministers Office, France, said it was apparent that all countries were experiencing similar problems in developing ocean policies. He said France had established an administrative structure in 1995 to coordinate work on this issue, including sectoral activities. Observing that this system was now facing new constraints and challenges, he drew attention to a Prime Ministerial decision in early October 2005 to launch a high-level team of experts to develop a policy approach for the next ten years.

John Richardson, Head of the Maritime Policy Task Force for the European Commissions Directorate-General for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, drew attention to the Task Forces initial terms of reference, stating that it was too early to share conclusions on best practices. He highlighted attitudinal and systemic problems, noting the need for integrated analysis and coordination, and decentralized planning. He concluded by stressing the need for broad political consensus that accepts the thesis that there can be a concurrent increase in oceans jobs and a healthier ocean ecosystem.

Aldo Cosentino, Director-General of Italys Directorate for Nature Protection, Sea Protection, Ministry for Environmental Protection of the Territory, reflected on Italys experience with creating and linking protected areas between land and sea, focusing on integrated management and coastal zone. He noted the focus on human welfare, and also addressed the challenges involved in policy change, such as the need for sustained collaboration among cooperating agencies. However, he added that an outreach strategy based on simple positive messages continues to inform people on the opportunities offered by the protected areas system.

Gerhard Kuska, Co-Executive Secretary, Subcommittee on Integrated Management of Ocean Resources, US Ocean Action Plan, NOAA, provided an overview of the US Ocean Action Plan, released in December 2004. He highlighted its themes, which include: enhancing ocean leadership and coordination; advancing our understanding of the oceans, coasts and Great Lakes; enhancing the use and conservation of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources; managing coasts and their watersheds; supporting marine transportation, particularly from an economic perspective; and advancing international ocean policy and science. Kuska also described the Action Plans underlying principles, such as achieving meaningful results. While acknowledging the challenges in making progress, he emphasized the need to work with states, tribes and local government.

Ramos de Oliveria, Commandant, Portuguese Navy, explained the navys role in supporting and safeguarding the marine environment, including search and rescue, pollution control, the development of a global information system, and the need to consider these aspects in national ocean policy development.

Evelia Rivera-Arriaga, Centro de Ecologa, Pesqueras y Oceanografia del Golfo de Mexico, discussed the challenges of connecting oceans and coasts to freshwater. She noted similar goals for those working on an integrated water management approach either upstream or in coastal areas or oceans. She observed that, although there has been progress at the federal and state level, less has happened at the municipal level. She recommended: establishing a national framework; building water treatment plants; developing plans for involving users and broadening participation; raising public and sectoral awareness; and developing strong economic data. She highlighted the upcoming fourth World Water Forum as a further opportunity for exploring these issues.

In the ensuing discussion, one participant asked Gerhard Kuska about a comment that sensitive issues should be placed to one side. Kuska clarified that these issues could prove intractable if addressed directly or in a confrontational way too early on in the process, although he agreed that they do have to be dealt with over the medium or long term.


On Thursday morning, 13 October, participants met for a session on principles for integrated national and regional ocean governance. The session was chaired by Awni Behnam, President of the International Ocean Institute, who noted that many developing countries have yet to develop national strategies and stressed the need for national policy to be compatible with global and regional imperatives.

David VanderZwaag, Dalhousie University, Canada, discussed the challenge of developing principled oceans governance, noting the flood of principles in international agreements, including concepts of integration, precaution, the ecosystem approach and public participation. He highlighted the difficulties of applying such principles due to multiple meanings and interpretations, and stressed that many countries have a long way to go before they can put them into action.

John Roberts, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK, discussed marine stewardship, outlining work on creating a vision and principles in the UK, and noting the major challenge of agreeing on what the vision means in practice. He reported on the 2005 peer-reviewed State of the Seas Report, which identified climate change and the state of fisheries as the two most serious threats to the seas around the UK. He informed participants that a new Marine Bill is likely to cover the issues of consent for development, marine spatial planning, stronger measures for nature conservation, improvements to the regime for inshore fisheries management, and a marine management organization.

Prue Taylor, Deputy Director of the New Zealand Center for Environmental Law, provided an academic perspective on emerging principles for ocean governance in the New Zealand context. She explained that an earlier oceans policy process started in 2000 had been suspended due to controversies over the ownership of the foreshore (the coastal area between the high and low tide marks) and seabed, and access to privately-owned coastal areas. She highlighted some major principles already established in legislation dealing with the terrestrial environment, including recognition of indigenous rights, stewardship and guardianship, subsidiarity, and sustainability. However, she cautioned that these concepts need to be clearly articulated, and said consideration should be given to how to apply ideas designed for the terrestrial environment in the ocean context.

Jon van Dyke, University of Hawaii, identified two approaches for setting principles in ocean policy focused around practical strategies and values. Noting that values are not easy to define, he considered how international treaties such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change had defined principles such as intra- and inter-generational equity and the precautionary and polluter pays approaches. He illustrated the difficulties in applying such principles in practice, citing his experience working on these issues in the Black Sea region.

Responding to a comment from one participant that this seemed like an academic exercise and that he would like to hear some firm policy recommendations, Chair Behnam said countries are taking various approaches and using a variety of mechanisms to turn principles into practice, with varied success. Prue Taylor responded that principles have been used in New Zealand both in the policy development phase and as the basis of legislation. Closing the session, Chair Behnam said principles are important but should not be used to impose rigid frameworks on developing countries that would deny them the policy space they need.


On Thursday morning, participants convened for a panel discussion on how to achieve national and subnational collaboration in national ocean policies. The session was chaired by Diane James, Chair of the Victorian Coastal Council, Australia, who highlighted some state concerns about the development of Australias regional marine plan, such as its impact on the coastal zone strategy plan.

Isabel Torres de Noronha, Conference of the Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) and University of Delaware provided a comparative analysis of the role of the subnational levels in national ocean policies. Reflecting on Canada and Australias experiences, she noted that the subnational levels are critical in implementing policies on the ground. She stressed the need for subnational actors to have a clear role and mandate in national ocean policy and the importance of consistency between provinces/states and regional coastal and coastal water plans.

Rui Azevedo, Director, Forward Planning Unit, CPMR, provided an overview of CPMRs activities. Highlighting CPMRs lobbying role in supporting integration with EU maritime policies, he described its contribution towards the EU green paper through the Europe of the Sea project, and underscored the need to move from a sectoral-based approach to an integrated approach to policy.

Milton L. Asmus, Federal University of Rio Grande, reflected on Brazils ocean policy, starting with the establishment of the National Policy for the Sea Resources in 1980, which has recently been updated. He outlined the work of the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Sea Resources, which plays a coordinating role. He suggested that Brazil has established institutional sustainability, but that this requires an ongoing effort, that there are sectoral and external pressures, and that closer cooperation with academic institutions and the community should be sought.

Tony McDonald, US Coastal States Organization, identified impediments to collaboration on national policies relating to time, money, power and sex. These include the different timeframes of politicians, the public and scientists, problems with the distribution of power and resources, particularly at the local or provincial level, and the pressing need to bring passion to the oceans agenda and make it a lot sexier if we are to compete with other social priorities. He reflected on the oceans-related commissions in the US, the need to involve scientists in governance issues, the progressive approach adopted by some states, and the importance of planning for emerging sectoral issues, such as the energy debate in the US.

Jay Batongbacal, Philippine Center for Marine Affairs, noted a decentralization and devolution of management powers to subnational entities in the Philippines, while observing that certain management powers have been retained at the national level. He reported that this has led to jurisdictional questions due to unclear delineation of functions, prerogatives, regulatory competencies and entitlement to certain revenues. He noted limited progress on capacity building at a local level, and the prevalence of sectoral management at the national level. However, he added that environmental conditions are now driving local management that is often autonomous, and stressed the important role of civil society in catalyzing action and linking national and subnational actors.

Nguyen Chu Hoi, Director of the Institute of Fisheries, Economics and Planning with Viet Nams Ministry of Fisheries, outlined the evolution of marine policies over the past century, noting the countrys current work on a national policy that will guide action through to 2020, which he said was based on a multi-stakeholder exercise. He added that Viet Nam has yet to establish a comprehensive and integrated marine policy based on scientific knowledge and sustainable development, and that the current approach remains somewhat fragmentary and sector-based.

In the ensuing discussion, Tony McDonald responded to a question about how to engage with sectoral interests by noting the value of building public support and structures at the regional level, and setting performance-based frameworks to make the different government agencies accountable. Regarding a question about communication between subnational practitioners, several panelists emphasized the value of networks to share information and lessons learned. Jay Batongbacal underscored the value of exchanges between subnational officials, who often face similar challenges and limitations, and can learn from their peers in other communities or regions.


On Thursday afternoon, a panel discussion was held to consider issues in implementing national ocean policies, including financial considerations, evaluation and stakeholder support. The session was chaired by Donna Petrachenko, Director, National Oceans Office, Australia, who stressed that decision makers need to understand the economic value of marine resources.

Miriam Balgos, University of Delaware, provided an overview on the implementation of national policies, noting that effective preparation is essential. This should include fostering ownership and commitment, clarifying goals and approaches, and securing funding. She said initial successes and lessons should be identified, reported and disseminated.

Kevin Potter, Director, Office of the Auditor General of Canada, spoke on accountability and the role of audits in oceans policy, noting that policies should articulate what is to be done, how it will be done, the resources to be used, who has responsibility, and the means of measurement, evaluation and reporting. He highlighted independent review and audits as important elements of a sound accountability framework, and described supreme audit institutions, which report on whether government commitments are being met. Drawing attention to the Working Group on Environmental Auditing (WGEA) under the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), he noted that oceans policy is not yet in the WGEA mandate.

Stefano Belfiore, IOC, underscored the importance of identifying indicators for the development of effective coastal and ocean policy, mentioning that indicators are now being tested through various projects around the word to assess ocean policy based on assessment and planning, implementation and enforcement, ecosystem health and economic development.

Dawn Martin, Executive Director, SeaWeb, talked about the major role social marketing and strategic communications can play in generating the political will for action. She outlined the steps needed to achieve political or policy goals, beginning with research to distill the key messages, followed by identifying credible spokespeople, bringing science to the media and the public, and creating an appealing message that targets the intended audience. She noted the power of the media, especially television, but also print media, radio and the Internet, and said a well informed and planned media campaign can connect science with the media and eventually achieve a tipping point where public awareness increases and political/policy changes can occur, especially if that message creates a sense of urgency and empowerment.


On Thursday afternoon, a panel session was held on regional ocean policies, and ways to facilitate national-regional collaboration and linkages. The panel was chaired by Magnus Ngoile, Director-General, National Environment Management Council of Tanzania. He raised a number of questions, including how to achieve ownership and buy-in for regional programmes and policies.

Charles Ehler, IUCN, presented a comparative overview on enhancing regional ocean policies and national and regional linkages. He noted the existence of many transboundary issues, including fisheries, navigation, pollution, species and habitat conservation, invasive species and national security. He also drew attention to the Regional Seas Programme and to assessment underway to determine the effectiveness of the Programme. He suggested that obstacles to integrated management at the regional level can include a lack of clear and detailed criteria and objectives, as well as inadequate stakeholder involvement, funding, implementation, awareness raising, and local capacity.

James Hardcastle, Nature Seychelles, spoke about enhancing regional and national policy linkages among SIDS in the western Indian Ocean. He highlighted civil societys potential role in building the political will for regional integrated oceans management. He also stressed the potential for greater regional cooperation on Marine Protected Areas, the fisheries sector, disaster preparedness, capacity development, and scientific knowledge. Looking ahead, he said the Indian Ocean Commission could play a valuable role. He also suggested bluewashing the Millennium Development Goals and identifying specific targets for the ocean.

Ivica Trumbic, Director, Priority Action Programme, Mediterranean Action Plan, UNEP, reported on a protocol being developed on the integrated management of Mediterranean coastal areas. He explained that this would be a protocol to the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution (Barcelona Convention) and said the process began with a feasibility study in 2001. A draft text has now been developed, and he hoped the protocol would be ready for signing in 2007. The draft protocol includes text on national strategies, plans and progress, institutional coordination and provisions, and environmental assessments.

Juan Luis Surez de Vivero, University of Seville, spoke about the international and regional implications of national ocean policies. Observing that the impact of national policies is clearly visible in closed sea areas such as the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea, he said the multiplicity of actors and interests can create a highly complex situation. He commented on issues of state sovereignty and boundary/territorial disputes, and concluded by arguing that the regional level is an appropriate one to address many issues of integrated ocean management, in spite of the complexity.

Laurent dOzouville, European Center for Information on Marine Science and Technology, provided an overview of the Centers EurOcean web portal, noting its goal of sharing information and encouraging synergies in Europe ocean affairs. He said EurOcean has demonstrated its usefulness as a focal point for marine science and technology. He said information and communication management in ocean policies should be highlighted in the outcomes of this meeting.

Commandant Silva Ribeiro, Portuguese Navy, described the scientific, economic, environmental and political challenges to peace and security at sea in the 21st Century. He highlighted the impact of piracy as a military challenge, and stressed that human impacts on oceans cannot be viewed separately from human impacts on the climate, arguing that these challenges must be seen through a wider framework of sustainability.

In the ensuing discussion, one participant asked if mechanisms exist to address problems in the regional programmes. Chair Ngoile responded that if the driving force behind a regional programme is clearly identified then it adds legitimacy.


In addition to the panel sessions, the Ocean Policy Summit also included a number of special presentations and briefings on specific issues. These included presentations on the status of the worlds Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) under the Law of the Sea and on Marine Protected Areas, as well as briefings on recent parallel meetings of donors, business and industry leaders, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, and SIDS.

EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONES: The first special presentation occurred on Tuesday afternoon, 11 October, when delegates convened for a session on the status of the worlds Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) under the Law of the Sea. Vladimir Golitsyn, Director of the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, spoke about EEZs, including continental shelf delimitation, and assessment and management issues. He explained that the Law of the Sea generally allows countries an EEZ extending to a distance of 200 nautical miles. He also expressed some concerns regarding the implementation of the Law of the Sea, raising issues of transparency and information that member States are supposed to provide to the UN regarding continental shelf delimitation, under certain circumstances. He outlined members States obligations regarding EEZs and discussed maritime boundary delimitation treaties.

Jon van Dyke, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa, discussed ongoing issues regarding EEZs, noting disputes relating to the Law of the Seas ruling that countries cannot claim an EEZ around small uninhabitable islands defined as rocks that cannot sustain human habitation. He also noted the need to resolve questions over whether coastal states can limit ships navigational freedom within their EEZs; under what circumstances a coastal country can use force to board vessels; whether it is permissible to engage in surveillance within the EEZ of another country, for instance for hydrographic surveying; and what are the specific rights of landlocked and geographically-disadvantaged states?

Manuel Pinto de Abreu, Head of Mission with the Portuguese Continental Shelf Extension Project, reported on the project, explaining that the difficulty of extension lies within the procedures set out under the Law of the Seas Convention, Article 76. Abreu said the outcomes of the project would include an oceanic database, partnerships with universities, and cooperation with developing countries, all of which promote integrated management of the oceans.

Discussions focused on the unresolved EEZ boundaries around the world, highlighting experiences in the Caribbean, Greece and Turkey.

MARINE PROTECTED AREAS: Late Tuesday afternoon, 11 October, a special session was held on achieving networks of Marine Protected Areas within ocean and coastal governance. Sylvia A. Earle, Explorer in Residence for the National Geographic Society and Executive Director of Conservation Internationals Global Marine Division, spoke on the value of Marine Protected Areas. Noting the oceans role as the worlds life support system, she observed that humanity was having a very harmful impact through devastating practices such as bottom trawling, adding that policies on marine issues generally remain in the Stone Age. She also outlined proposals for 11 large Marine Protected Areas that she said should be given a high priority.

Lynne Hale, The Nature Conservancy, highlighted the role Marine Protected Areas can play within an integrated oceans policy. She observed that different Marine Protected Areas can have different levels of protection, and that it does not imply a no take area. She noted the target agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development of establishing a network of protected areas by 2012, and the roadmap established by the Convention on Biological Diversity to achieve this. Noting that protected areas are conceptually simple, but politically difficult, she expressed hope that solutions could be found to place the concept successfully within the larger integrated policy approach.

Charles Ehler, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Marine, described a collaborative document the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas will introduce at the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress in late October 2005, describing the type of guidance needed at national, regional and international levels to implement Marine Protected Area networks.

REPORT FROM THE OCEAN DONORS ROUNDTABLE: On Wednesday, 12 October, Indumathie Hewawasam, Environment Specialist, World Bank, provided a report from the Ocean Donors Roundtable convened in Lisbon on Monday, 10 October 2005, which involved a dialogue between 17 public and private donors. She highlighted that country requirements have to be articulated through specific requests to donors and that resources need to be available for implementation. She also identified some emerging conclusions on this issue, including that oceans are a priority and that this message needs to be communicated to policy makers and funding agencies. She added that a strategy was needed to engage the media, public, and think tanks, and underscored the need to link funding with other initiatives addressing poverty, economic growth and business promotion.

In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed the need for: developing countries to seek donors assistance and place oceans on their development agenda; private partnerships to become the foundation for funding large-scale projects; project proposals that meet local and government priorities; clarity on how to prioritize oceans-related funding; and an examination of the criteria applied in helping protect marine resources, especially in SIDS.

REPORT FROM THE COMMUNITY OF THE PORTUGUESE SPEAKING COUNTRIES WORKSHOP: On Wednesday, 12 October, Luis Fonseca, Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, reported on an informal workshop of Community members held on Monday, 10 October 2005. He explained that officials from Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Mozambique and East Timor had considered issues of resource mobilization and capacity building, good practice, greater collaboration and synergies. He noted that participants had developed a set of conclusions that had affirmed the need for close cooperation on integrated management, maritime surveillance on EEZs, capacity building, combating pollution and scientific research. He highlighted recommendations to establish focal points for ocean matters, organize an assessment of member institutions, and support the wider use of an existing Brazilian magazine on integrated coastal management that could be formally linked with the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.

REPORT FROM THE BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS ROUNDTABLE: On Thursday morning, Paul Holthus, Executive Director, Marine Aquarium Council, reported on a business and industry leaders roundtable on ocean management held on 10 October 2005, noting the value of bringing together the private sector with other stakeholders to build relationships and mutual understanding. He explained that participants had highlighted sectoral trends and challenges in relation to environmental, social and technological changes. These included changes due to globalization and technology, the importance of developing best practices, and the need to reduce risk and uncertainty. Holthus drew attention to participants interest in inviting a larger range of business and industry representatives to future events and holding multi-stakeholder panels on critical emerging issues like ocean acoustics. He supported the need to link this roundtable to other meetings, such as the World Economic Forum.

Biliana Cicin-Sain, Co-Chair of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, announced the Forums intention to work with various ocean-related industries to document the economic and social value of ocean activities at the global and regional level.

REPORT FROM THE SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES MEETING: On Thursday afternoon, Cesar Toro, IOC/UNESCO, reported on an informal meeting of experts from SIDS and other invited experts, held in Lisbon on Monday, 10 October 2005. He read a statement from participants calling for the urgent implementation of regional framework agreements, including the development of national ocean policies and strategies. The statement also recognized that effective coastal management is only possible with strong political will, increased partnerships at the national and regional levels, increased external donor support towards capacity development at the national level, and support of the global community.


On Wednesday afternoon, 12 October, conference participants met in five simultaneous working groups to discuss guidance and key questions on integrated ocean policies, as well as the outcomes of the meeting. The groups addressed questions on barriers to the formulation and implementation of national policies; key lessons learned and how national policy formation might best be catalyzed; whether there is a need for continued comparative learning on policy and governance, and how that need might be met; and how capacity development opportunities can be enhanced.

The following day, participants were briefed in plenary on the working group discussions. Ben Addison, National Oceans Office, Department of Environment and Heritage, Australia, briefed participants on discussions in the first group. He said participants had discussed institutional processes, noting problems with coordinating agencies and bodies, and noted a suggestion that an overarching body could play a positive role, if properly resourced. He also drew attention to participants comments on the need for:

  • multi-stakeholder involvement and input;

  • legal and other tools that emphasize implementation and outcomes;

  • high-level political engagement and support:

  • monitoring and review of government policies, plans and actions;

  • integration of land policies with coastal with marine policies;

  • research that is multi-disciplinary and takes the focus beyond just one aspect of marine issues;

  • the use of science advisory boards, where appropriate;

  • steps to bridge the gap between science and policy;

  • priorities and knowledge to be communicated to the public;

  • adequate financial support;

  • capacity building;

  • cooperation on compliance and enforcement; and

  • continued comparative learning and sharing of successes and failures.

Anamarija Frankic, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts, Boston, reported on a second working group. On barriers to progress, she noted comments on: the issues complexity; the need for clear visions, goals, objectives and measures; lack of public awareness and participation; inadequate scientific knowledge and data; lack of human and technical capacity, and financing; and different sectoral perspectives. Regarding key lessons learned in developing and implementing national policies, she reported discussions on identifying champions or heroes such as ocean ambassadors, education at all levels, environmental and socioeconomic baselines, collaboration with existing institutions, policies and structures, and the use of financial, legal and programmatic incentives to catalyze a (re)allocation of power. On encouraging comparative learning, she highlighted suggestions on the use of the Internet to share best practices, link practitioners and existing organizations, and educate the public. She also highlighted the value of documentaries showing real situations and solutions. Finally, on capacity development, she highlighted education, twinning and exchange programmes, and cartoons, games and other approaches that make the issue accessible, fun and sexy.

Antonio Diaz de Leon, Director General for Environmental Policy, Regional and Sectoral Integration, Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico, described working group discussions on national policy formulation, implementation, expediency, lessons learned, comparative learning and capacity development. On barriers to policy formulation and implementation, he drew attention to the existing fragmented and inefficient sectoral approach and the need to explain economical and ecological linkages. On catalyzing national policy formation, he stressed the medias potentially constructive role. With regard to enhancing capacity development opportunities, he noted participants comments on the need to use terminology and language that made the issue accessible to the public, and the value of universities offering specialized courses in ocean management that integrate both science and policy.

Nelson Andrade Colmenares, UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme Regional Coordinating Unit, reported from the final working group, highlighting regionally-focused discussions on questions concerning policy formulation, implementation, lessons learned, comparative learning and capacity development. Colmenares noted comments that: inadequate human and technical capacity represents a major challenge to formulation and implementation; regional arrangements can help increase accountability at the national level; ongoing comparative learning is essential; and regional organizations can be used for capacity development across a region and in individual nations.


Late Thursday afternoon, 13 October, participants convened for the closing session. Biliana Cicin-Sain, Co-Chair of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, thanked the meetings organizers, sponsors, supporters, speakers, panelists and participants. She explained that there would be several outputs from this meeting, including this report from IISD Reporting Services. She indicated that another output from this meeting would be a book, to be published in 2006, based on some of the comparative case studies prepared for and presented at this meeting. Also, speeches would be made available on the conference website ( Finally, she explained that the main official outcome would be a succinct and forward-looking conference report that will seek to capture the major points made and will be sent to participants for comments in November 2005.

Mario Ruivo, President of the Portuguese Committee for the IOC, reflected that considerable progress had been made at this event, with a diverse group of participants sharing a range of experiences. He suggested that the process was reaching a turning point, with a convergence of views on principles, and noted a growing impact on governments and UN processes. He also welcomed the focus on institutional issues and increasing cooperation among stakeholders.

David VanderZwaag, Dalhousie University, Canada, said he believed this voyage has hardly begun, as even the most advanced countries have got a long way to go. He thanked everyone involved and welcomed the energy generated at this event to fight for the goal of sustainable seas and healthy communities and residents along our coasts.

Manuel Lobo Antunes, State Secretary for National Defense and Maritime Affairs, Portugal, thanked all participants. He said this meeting had provided more information on emerging best practice, and was the right conference in the right place at the right time. He noted the complexity of the issue and of managing a shared resource like the ocean, underscored different stakeholder perspectives, and stressed the need for reliable knowledge and adequate funding. He said he was encouraged by the growing number of countries and regions working on integrated maritime policy, and added that the time was ripe for making progress. He reported on Portugals actions to address this issue, including the recommendations of its Ocean Commission, and said participants could count on his support and that of Portugals government in making progress.

Mario Ruivo declared the meeting closed at 6:20 pm.


FIRST INTERNATIONAL MARINE PROTECTED AREAS CONGRESS: Taking place in Geelong, Australia from 23-28 October 2005, this international congress aims to address the World Commission on Protected Areas marine goal and primary themes, and advance discussion on their widespread adoption and implementation consistent with resolutions relevant to marine protected areas arising from the Durban World Parks Congress. For more information contact: Congress Organizers; tel: +61-3-5983-2400; fax: +61-3-5983-2223; e-mail:; Internet:

RAMSAR COP-9: The ninth ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands will be held from 8-15 November 2005, in Kampala, Uganda. The meeting will review the work of the Convention, plan future activities, and advance wetland science and policy and management tools. The conferences focus will be on effective wetland management for poverty eradication, taking into consideration related priority actions found in Agenda 21, the UN Millennium Development Goals, and the Plan of Implementation adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. For more information contact: Dwight Peck, Ramsar Communications Officer; tel: +41-22-999-0170; fax: +41-22-999-0169; e-mail:; Internet:

THIRD GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON OCEANS, COASTS, AND ISLANDS: The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands is holding this event from 23-27 January 2006, in Paris, France. The Forum serves as a platform for cross-sectoral information sharing and dialogue on issues affecting oceans, coasts and islands, with the goal of achieving sustainable development in these areas. The Forum also seeks to improve global, regional and national policies related to oceans, coasts and islands. For more information contact: Global Forum Secretariat; tel: +1-302-831-8086; fax: +1-302-831-3668; e-mail:; Internet:

THIRD INTERNATIONAL MEETING: ACTING TOGETHER FOR THE FUTURE OF THE BLUE PLANET: This meeting is taking place from 29 January to 2 February 2006, in Boulogne, France. Organized by the World Ocean Network, this event aims to further develop a global campaign to raise public awareness and an action plan for the sustainable use of the ocean. For more information contact: World Ocean Network; tel: +33-3-2130-9999; fax: +33-3-2130-9394; e-mail:; Internet:

FOURTH WORLD WATER FORUM: LOCAL ACTIONS FOR A GLOBAL CHALLENGE: The Fourth World Water Forum is taking place in Mexico City, Mexico, from 16-22 March 2006. For more information contact: Internet:

SECOND INTERGOVERNMENTAL REVIEW OF THE GLOBAL PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT FROM LAND-BASED ACTIVITIES: The second Intergovernmental Review (IGR-2) of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) will take place from 16-20 October 2006, in Beijing, China. For more information, contact the GPA Coordination Office, UNEP; tel: +31-0-70-311-4460; fax: +31-0-70-345-6648; e-mail:; Internet:

EAST ASIAN SEAS CONGRESS: The East Asian Seas Congress, involving the Partnership in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, will take place from 12-16 December 2006, in Haikou, Hainan Province, China. For more information, contact: PEMSEA Office, Philippines; tel: +632-920-2211; fax: +632-926-9712, e-mail:; Internet:

Further information