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Recent Meetings

Water, Oceans and Wetlands


Meetings from: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 

December 2004

Seminar Considers Ecosystems' Role as Water Suppliers

December 2004: The role of ecosystems as water suppliers was the focus of a seminar organized by the Swiss government and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The seminar, which convened from 13-14 December 2004 in Geneva, provided a platform for government officials to meet experts from international and non-governmental organizations and the private sector, and share knowledge on the role of forests and wetlands in the water cycle and the advantages related to their sustainable use, protection and restoration to ensure sustainable water management. The meeting documented experiences within and outside the UNECE region on best practices and concrete implementation measures aimed at integrating forests and wetlands in sustainable water management. The seminar resulted in recommendations to promote integrated policies and strategies and facilitate their implementation. These recommendations will be presented at the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13) in New York in April 2005, and will be submitted for adoption to the Parties to the UNECE Water Convention at their fourth meeting in 2006. The seminar also fostered the development of concrete joint activities at international, regional, transboundary, national and local levels, and will be considered at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Uganda in November 2005. A second seminar focusing on environmental services and financing for the protection and sustainable use of ecosystems will be organized in 2005. This seminar is expected to explore the experience of solidarity between upstream and downstream communities, specifically considering the practice of protecting and sustainably-using ecosystems (forests and wetlands) by means of innovative economic tools such as payments for environmental services through successful public-private partnerships and public-public partnerships. More information.
ASB Open Science Meeting CONSIDERS FORESTS AND WATER LINKAGES

The linkages between forestry and water issues were the focus of a recent meeting held in Indonesia. The “ASB Open Science Meeting on Tropical Forests and Water” took place on 8 December 2004 on the campus of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia. Organized by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), which is the global coordination office of the Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn (ASB) Consortium, the meeting was attended by over 100 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. Focusing on linkages between forestry and water, the meeting presented research on tropical forests and water supply, deforestation and local watershed hazards, hydrological effects of reforestation, watershed conflict management, and other topics. Policymakers and global experts also engaged in discussions on local implications of this new understanding of forest/water relationships. The Sustainable Developments report.
Global WASH Forum 2004 - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for all - solutions and actions, local and national

A major international meeting on water, sanitation and hygiene has ended in calls for more cooperation and the need to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The first Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Forum, which drew more than 500 participants, was organized by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), under the theme of “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for all – solutions and actions; local and national.” The meeting, which took place in Dakar, Senegal from 29 November to 3 December 2004, aimed to accelerate action in water, sanitation and hygiene towards achieving the MDGs. Discussions focused on sharing experiences of how to accelerate WASH action plans, mobilizing WASH coalitions at the national level, elaborating recommendations and providing a “roadmap” for MDGs related to WASH; increasing the global visibility of WASH issues, and developing concrete political and practical directions for WSSCC's future operations. Other issues that were considered included how to raise funds through potential donors and partner institutions, and improving capacity building of local public institutions so that WASH can play a key role in the development process. Delegates concluded their deliberations by agreeing on a final outcome document. The Dakar Statement expressed a “commitment to water, sanitation and hygiene as vital components of sustainable human development,” citing many good examples of work already being conducted at the household, local and national levels to achieve global targets, and suggesting that such actions could be replicated elsewhere. The Statement also urged support for households and families who are the primary decision makers about their water and sanitation. It emphasized the need to recognize the human development roles of both women and men, as well as the need to empower and involve women at all levels, from the local community through management to policy and leadership roles. It called for targeting resources, especially to poor and unserved populations, and urged monitoring of water and sanitation services against demographic data to help identify and serve the neediest people. The Dakar Statement also urges cooperation among local communities, civil society, governments and private sector organizations. The Statement will be presented to the UN Commission for Sustainable Development in April 2005 A day after the conclusion of the meeting, African ministers announced an African Ministerial Initiative on WASH (AMIWASH) intended as political advocacy for achieving the water, sanitation and hygiene goals of the MDGs in the continent. AMIWASH will commence operating in February 2005. Links to further information The Dakar Statement The WSSCC website
COUNTRIES ACT ON ACCIDENTAL SEA TURTLE DEATHS

A group of 28 countries have agreed on recommendations to cut the number of accidental deaths of endangered sea turtles. The countries agreed on recommendations for reducing accidental sea turtle deaths during a recent a technical consultation organized by the Fisheries Department of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The meeting, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 29 November to 2 December 2004, resulted in a set of recommendations on reducing sea turtle deaths, including the wider use of new technologies and improvements in fishing practices. Other specific recommendations included: more sea turtle population assessments; the production by the FAO of a comprehensive set of fishing guidelines on how to avoid capturing sea turtles and on proper release of any turtles trapped alive; and specific steps to address the challenges faced by developing countries in implementing turtle conservation plans. Delegates also agreed to share information between national and international agencies in the conservation and management of sea turtles. The recommendations will be reviewed in March 2005 by the 94 countries that make up FAO's Committee of Fisheries. Links to additional information Countries Agree on Steps for Reducing Accidental Deaths of ... Advance Draft Copy of the Technical Consultation's Report

November 2004

WATER FOR FOOD AND ECOSYSTEMS PRE-CONFERENCE DISCUSSES IMPLEMENTATION OF WATER PROGRAMMES IN AFRICA

The African pre-conference for the International Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 4-6 November 2004. The International Conference will convene from 31 January to 5 February 2005 in the Hague, the Netherlands, and is intended to provide a high-level platform for around 350 participants from around the globe, including a ministerial segment. The pre-conference offered actors in the fields of water management, food production and biodiversity management in African countries to identify opportunities to implement decisions and programmes on water, food and ecosystems, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the agreements reached at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), in Africa by African actors. In an opening address, Dutch Ambassador to Ethiopia Rob Vermass noted that “demand for water is rapidly increasing” and increasing consumption and global population growth, among other developments, “are not sustainable and it may increasingly lead to conflicts not only in Africa.” Louise Fresco, Assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), also spoke at the opening ceremony and noted that “Recent research shows that growth in agriculture is the most beneficial for the poor, of all economic sectors.” She noted that Africa uses 5 percent of its total renewable water resources for agriculture, compared with 20 per cent of the total in Asia and called for continued investment “in unlocking the potential of [Africa's] diversified agricultural systems - in rainfed agriculture, irrigation and mixed systems.” The Prince of Orange spoke at the closing of the meeting on 6 November, and noted that he was “impressed by the practical results” presented by the participants, particularly highlighting “the involvement of local communities in the implementation process, building on local knowledge, resources and experiences.” He called on participants to “contact your colleagues in charge of water resources, now convened in Entebbe, Uganda as African Ministers Council on Water (or AMCOW), who are discussing exactly those concerns you brought up this morning.” The FAO and the Government of the Netherlands are organizing the 2005 International Conference, whose outcomes will be sent as inputs to the 13th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. The Conference will also seek to help implement working programmes under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Links to further information International Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems A... International Conference on Water for Food and Ecosystems m... African Water Meeting Seeks to Harmonize Water for Food and..., FAO news release, 4 November 2004 Speech by His Royal Highness The Prince of Orange at the Af..., Addis Ababa - Ethiopia, 6 November 2004 Diminishing water resources could fuel conflict, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, IRINnews.org

September 2004

CSD-13 Bureau Discusses Preparations for Spring Meeting

September 2004: The first meeting of the Bureau of the thirteenth session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13) convened on 30 September 2004 in New York. Among the issues discussed was the session's organization of work, with Bureau members agreeing that the Commission should focus on deliverables and mobilize further concrete and tangible action to expedite implementation, and that it should not seek to redefine problems or challenges. The Bureau discussed the unfortunate scheduling conflict of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council (11-15 April 2005) and CSD-13 (11-22 April 2005), particularly in light of the fact that the current CSD cycle is focusing on water, sanitation and human settlements. In response, the Bureau decided to make arrangements for the Governing Council to report on the outcomes of its meeting as an input to discussions at CSD-13 and scheduled the High-level Segment of CSD-13 for 20-22 April 2005. It was noted that the Secretary-General's reports for CSD-13 are scheduled to be posted on the CSD-13 website before the end of December 2004. During a briefing session on 5 October, CSD-13 Chair John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) highlighted the importance of bringing Ministers of Finance on board in order for them to understand the implications of their policies. He informed delegates that the Bureau had discussed some ideas to engage their participation. The Bureau will be holding four more meetings in: early November, December, end of January 2005, and February 2005. [CSD-13 website] [Notes of the first Bureau meeting] [ENB's Briefing Note on the 5 October briefing]
FAO TECHNICAL CONSULTATION TO REVIEW PORT STATE MEASURES TO COMBAT IUU FISHING

During this meeting of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which convened from 31 August to 2 September in Rome, Italy, delegates discussed measures to strengthen port state controls and crackdown on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) fishing. A model scheme was elaborated upon that essentially contained a checklist of “best practices” that could be used by countries, regional fishing bodies or others in implementing port state measures. Such measures include mandating fishing boats and fish-processing vessels wishing to land in a port to request permission to dock and provide vessel identification information as well as details about cargo and recent fishing activities. This would allow authorities to turn away any ships previously reported as involved in IUU fishing. In addition, delegates asked the UN agency to establish training programmes in developing countries aimed at helping them get their port inspection programmes off the ground, and to create a comprehensive database of port state measures currently in use around the world, which countries can use when drafting their own national policies and regulations. More information.

August 2004

2004 STOCKHOLM WORLD WATER WEEK

World Water Week, organized from 16-20 August in Sweden by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), brought together some 1,200 experts from about 50 international organizations and representing more than 100 countries to discuss a wide range of critical water and development issues. Urban water issues and future food requirements were among the broad range of issues taken up by the Stockholm Water Symposium during the week, as well as plenary sessions, panel debates, side events and seminars on diverse water-related subjects, from education to finance, poverty to politics, and sanitation to science. Other future challenges identified during the event include finding ways to produce more food using less water, and ensuring that new technologies and methods are made available to groups that range from farmers to policymakers, as well as identifying and influencing unsustainable food production and consumption patterns that require excessive water usage. Wetlands experts win 2004 Stockholm Water Prize: No World Water Week would be complete without the announcement of the winners of the prestigious US$150,000 Stockholm Water Prize. Professors Sven Erik Jørgensen of Denmark and William Mitsch of the United States received the prize for their contributions to the knowledge of how lakes and wetlands function and how better to protect them in the future. Their theoretical and applied work on lake and wetland ecosystems, management of lake and wetland water quality, and lake, river and wetland conservation, restoration and usage has been acknowledged and implemented in both developing and developed countries. Professor Jørgensen and his co-workers developed modeling software for UNEP to support planning and decision making for the management of lakes and wetlands in developing countries and countries in transition. Professor Mitsch was the inspiration behind the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at Ohio State University, a world-class wetland research and education facility. Additionally, the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, presented each year to high school students for an outstanding water-related project focusing on topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance, was awarded to Tsutomu Kawahira, Daisuke Sunakawa and Kaori Yamaguti from Japan for the development and application of an environmentally friendly organic fertilizer. An Honorable Mention was given to Ron Neuman from Israel for his development of an innovative microbial sensor based on engineered bacteria to monitor toxic chemicals in water. Blue paper looks at investing in water for food, ecosystems and livelihoods: Launched during the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, the Blue Paper report – Investing in Water for Food, Ecosystems and Livelihoods - highlights the difficult choices that must be made as mounting pressure from the world's growing population for more food could lead to greater water consumption and increasing environmental degradation. The paper draws on research carried out by some of the world's leading agricultural researchers and water professionals, most of whom are associated with the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture - a five year international research programme that will culminate in 2006 with a state of the world report highlighting the best investment strategies that governments, farming communities and donors can make in water management over the next 25 years in order to meet food and environmental security goals. Stakeholders address financial risks from water scarcity: Another key report launched during the water week addresses potential risks from water scarcity to financial institutions, financial markets and society at large. Preliminary findings of a study initiated by SIWI and UNEP Finance Initiatives highlight the possibility of water scarcity becoming a significant source of risks to projects and investments, and call for assessment of this risk to be included in project planning and business projections. The report also recasts water supply problems as a chance for businesses to improve operational performance and efficiency and gain a competitive edge, and as an investment opportunity for financial institutions to propose sustainable improvements that can benefit business and water sustainability. Links to further information SIWI press release, 19 August 2004 SIWI press release, 17 August 2004 Blue Paper report – Investing in Water for Food, Ecosystems ... Risks of Water Scarcity: A Business Risk for Financial Insti...

July 2004

56TH SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION

Pro- and anti-whaling nations once again clashed on the fate of the world's whale populations at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) held from 19-22 July 2004 in Sorrento, Italy. While the Commission's 18-year long moratorium on commercial whaling is still in place, calls to establish new whale sanctuaries in the South Pacific or the South Atlantic were rejected. Currently, there are two whaling sanctuaries operating worldwide, one in the Indian Ocean and a second in the Southern Ocean. Proposals for sanctuaries in the South Pacific (26 for, 21 against, 4 abstentions) and South Atlantic (26 for, 22 against, 4 abstentions) failed to gain the necessary three-quarters majorities to be adopted. A proposal to delete the provision for the Southern Ocean Sanctuary and to include a catch limit of 2,914 Antarctic minke whales was also not adopted (19 for, 30 against, 2 abstentions). However, even with a ban in place, an estimated 1,400 whales are killed each year under various exemptions by such pro-whaling nations as Japan, Norway and Iceland. On conservation issues, the IWC discussed the development of its new Conservation Committee. While some delegates argued that the IWC should not focus on conservation, the Commission maintained that it has a clear mandate for the conservation of whales. In addition, the Commission agreed to promote a series of regional workshops to develop short and long-term approaches to managing cetacean bycatch, one of the most serious threats to their status. The IWC also unanimously endorsed the report of its Scientific Committee describing the Sakhalin oil and gas development project in the Russian Far East as a threat to the survival of the critically endangered Western North Pacific gray whale, and adopted a resolution calling for urgent measures to be taken to protect this critically endangered whale population. On the IWC's Revised Management Procedure (RMP), the Commission said it would not set catch limits for commercial whaling until it has agreed and adopted a complete Revised Management Scheme (RMS). Several anti-whaling nations said that they would like to see the RMS adopted, but not implemented, as they wish to maintain the moratorium beyond the adoption of the scheme, while pro-whaling nations failed to see the logic of discussing the RMS if there is no intention to lift the moratorium. The IWC did adopt by consensus a resolution providing that it will move “expeditiously” towards the completion of both the drafting of text and technical details of the RMS for discussion at next year's IWC meeting in Ulsan, Korea. Resolutions and other outcomes from IWC-56 can be found at: http://www.iwcoffice.org/_documents/meetings/2004Pressreleas...
CONSULTATIONS ON UN FISH STOCKS AGREEMENT ADDRESS IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND 2006 REVIEW CONFERENCE

The third informal Consultations of the States Parties to the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of UNCLOS relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks took place from 8-9 July 2004 in New York. The meeting considered: *new developments in the implementation of the Agreement, including on strengthening flag States duties; *implementation at the regional level, including the establishment of new regional fisheries organizations and arrangements; *implementation by regional fisheries management organizations and arrangements; *update on initiatives by States at the global level, including within FAO; *review of the implementation of the provisions of Part VII of the Agreement on requirements of developing countries, including contribution by States, international financial institutions and donor organizations to the Assistance Fund established by the General Assembly; and *preparatory work for the Review Conference, called for under article 36 of the Agreement. On the Review Conference, most delegates agreed that such an event should be convened, while some noted the need to clarify certain aspects of the review. Delegates also discussed potential mechanisms for the preparatory process, and the scope and overall objective of the Review Conference. Proposals were tabled on broadening the species coverage of the Agreement to include discrete high seas fish stocks, while one State Party stressed that the review should focus on implementation of the Agreement and not reopen negotiations on its provisions. Canada announced that it would convene an international conference in St John's, Newfoundland in May 2005 to discuss issues regarding the scope and implementation of the Agreement. A number of recommendations to the General Assembly were adopted at the conclusion of the meeting on various matters discussed during the Consultations. More information is available in the report of the meeting.
ICRI GENERAL MEETING

The general meeting of the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) brought together some 80 participants to consider issues concerning coral reef conservation. A partnership of governments, international organizations, and non-government organizations that strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems by implementing Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and other relevant international conventions and agreements, ICRI held its general meeting from 3-4 July 2004 in Okinawa, Japan, following the 10th International Coral Reef Symposium. In addition to hearing reports from the ICRI Secretariat, members and working groups, delegates discussed: regional activities, including regional sustainable tourism and fisheries; engagement with other processes; and emerging issues. On engagement with other international environmental processes, participants received an update of the Barbados+10 small island developing States (SIDS) review process, and heard reports from the CBD Secretariat, the open-ended informal consultative process on oceans and the law of the sea, and the International Coral Reef Symposium. On emerging issues, participants discussed, inter alia, the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries +10 Review, and dredging in coral reef areas. During the two-day meeting, the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) officially released its latest report – Cold-water coral reefs: out of sight - no longer out of mind – on the destruction of the world's overlooked cold water coral reefs (See Key Publications section). More information on the ICRI meeting is available at: http://www.icriforum.org/router.cfm?show=secretariat/CPC_OKI...
African Development Bank Water Week - Building partnership for water in Africa

Under the theme “Building Partnerships for Water in Africa,” the African Development Bank (AfDB) brought together 17 African Water Ministers from the Executive Council of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and more than 400 water sector practitioners from over 60 countries recently to discuss issues of water security and sanitation, as well as to promote water resources development in Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Delegates at the AfDB Group Water Week, which met from 1-3 July 2004 in Tunis, recognized, inter alia, the need to: decentralize rural water supplies and sanitation services; invest in locally appropriate and affordable water technologies; include private sector and multistakeholder partnerships; and acknowledge the rights of the poor to water. During the week, the Bank launched its Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI), targeting $15 billion of investment in the water and sanitation sector by 2015, with the view to accelerating access to water supply and sanitation services in rural Africa to reach 66% access to water supply and sanitation by the year 2010 and 80% by 2015. The AfDB Group also launched the African Water Facility, with the aim of generating financial resources towards achieving the MDGs and the African Water Vision. Through its RWSSI, the Bank is trying to engage all stakeholders and regional member countries to translate the concepts and implementation framework of its initiative into actions, as well as include MDG-based poverty reduction strategies for national investment planning. It was recommended that global level MDG targets should be translated into national and district level targets with the creation of national task forces to coordinate MDG activities in each country, and political commitments from governments must include the increased mobilization of domestic resources in order to attain the MDGs. More information is available at: http://www.afdb.org/water/water_week_newsupdate.htm
TENTH INTERNATIONAL CORAL REEF SYMPOSIUM (ICRS)

Coral reef experts, government officials and NGO representatives met from 28 June to 2 July 2004 in Okinawa, Japan to address the protection of the world's coral reefs. Delegates considered several issues, including: remote sensing; new approaches to sustaining coral reef ecosystems and their fisheries; coral reef restoration and remediation; status of the world's coral reefs; aquarium trade issues; underwater coral reef monitoring; designing effective coral reef marine protected areas; and the status of the world's cold-water corals. In a final Declaration on Conservation and Restoration of Endangered Coral Reefs of the World, delegates recommended four key strategies for coral reef conservation: achieve sustainable fisheries; increase effective marine protected areas; ameliorate land-use change impacts; and develop technology for coral reef restoration. They also stressed improved cooperation among scientists, managers, policymakers, NGOs, and the general public, as well as with the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and international organizations such as UNESCO, UNEP and IUCN. More information is available at: http://www.plando.co.jp/icrs2004/

June 2004

FAO TECHNICAL CONSULTATION MEETING REVIEWS PROGRESS OF IPOA-IUU IMPLEMENTATION

FAO convened a technical consultation from 24-29 June 2004 in Rome to review progress and promote the implementation of the International Plan of Action (IPOA) to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Attended by 84 FAO members and representatives of the European Union, the meeting recommended that governments increase the severity of penalties for IUU fishing, cooperate more to suppress trade in illegally caught fish, and establish better international controls on exports of fishing boats from one region to another. Noting an ongoing build-up of capacity in tuna fisheries in the western and central Pacific Ocean, delegates suggested that governments in the region should give priority attention to addressing the situation, including halting introductions of additional large-scale fishing vessels. They also tasked FAO with: creating a central repository of information on IUU fishing activities worldwide; developing a common set of benchmarks for measuring fishing capacity; conducting a global review of fishing capacity; and intensifying the technical support provided to developing countries struggling with the problems of capacity management and illicit fishing. More information is available at: ftp://ftp.fao.org/fi/DOCUMENT/tc-iuu-cap/2004/default.htm
UNECE SEMINAR ADDRESSES FLOOD PREVENTION, PROTECTION AND MITIGATION

Members of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) met from 21-22 June 2004 in Berlin to address the UNECE's Water Convention on the protection and use of transboundary watercourses and international lakes, focusing on the implementation of the Guidelines on Sustainable Flood Prevention, adopted by the Parties to the Convention in March 2000. Several countries reported on how the guidelines have been incorporated into national legislative acts, programmes or internal agreements, and that international river basin commissions have been established in most river basin districts in Europe and in some cases flood action plans have been adopted or are in the preparation or planning stages. Members also concluded that UNECE Guidelines for Sustainable Flood Prevention are an effective instrument, and that there was at present no need for a substantial revision. They proposed some additions on particular issues, notably: that the solidarity principle should be applied across the entire UNECE region; that existing financial mechanisms should be used for non-EU Member States sharing rivers with the EU and supporting initiatives, particularly the EU Water Initiative component for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as the Balkans countries; and that the contact of flood management should be broadened by applying the principles of the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context and its recent Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessments in order to better integrate environmental and health considerations. More information is available at: http://www.unece.org/env/water/meetings/flood/seminar.htm
FIFTH BALTIC SEA STATES SUMMIT - BALTIC SEA LEADERS EXPRESS INTEREST IN DEVELOPING AREA AS “ECO-REGION”

Heads of government and representatives of the Baltic States met on 21 June in Laulasmaa, Estonia, to discuss: the future of Baltic Sea regional cooperation; economic cooperation, investments and infrastructure; maritime safety and environment issues; and regional cooperation on social issues. On the future of regional cooperation, Heads of States noted new opportunities created by the recent EU enlargement and welcomed the results of the EU-Russia Summit held in Moscow in May. Representatives underscored the importance of integrating the principles of sustainable development into policymaking by all relevant stakeholders. The meeting also considered a report by Baltic 21 – a multistakeholder advisory forum organized in response to Agenda 21 – on regional progress toward sustainable development, and expressed interest in Baltic 21's proposal to develop the region as an “Eco-region, where eco stands for both economy and ecology and where the social dimension is strongly integrated.” On maritime safety and environment issues, delegates stressed the need to further protect and preserve the region's marine environment, called for more effective measures against illegal oil discharges and underscored the need for information exchange against offenders and on legal proceedings. Taking note of the IMO MEPC's recent decision to designate the Baltic Sea, with the exception of Russian waters, as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area, representatives agreed to follow up on the identification of Associated Protective Measures in accordance with IMO decisions. On social issues, representatives expressed concern with the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region and called for immediate measures. Delegates also urged efforts at all levels and cross-border cooperation in the prevention of human trafficking. Links to further information 5th Baltic Sea States Summit Chair's conclusions Five Years of regional progress toward sustainable developme... Baltic 21 press release, 18 June 2004
Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to UNCLOS

Delegates to the 14th Meeting of States Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea met at the United Nations headquarters in New York from 14-18 June 2004 to review progress in the Convention bodies, including consideration of the International Seabed Authority, the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and the Report of the External Auditors for 2002. Delegates adopted three budgetary and financial decisions, including the 2005-2006 budget for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. They also adopted two proposals – one that obligates the Secretary-General's annual report on oceans and the Law of the Sea to make reference to the fact that it is also being presented to States Parties pursuant to article 319, and one that allows the Secretary-General's report to address issues of a general nature, which have arisen with respect to the Convention. It was agreed that the next Meeting of States Parties would be held from 13-17 June 2005, preceded by one week of meetings of the Informal Consultative Process, to elect seven judges of the Tribunal. More information is available at: http://www.un.org/depts/los/meeting_states_parties/fourteent... and http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sea1814.doc.htm
Fifth Meeting of the Open-ended informal consultative process on oceans and the law of the sea

The fifth meeting of the Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or UNICPOLOS) took place from 7-11 June 2004, at UN headquarters in New York. The meeting brought together over 350 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. The outcome of the meeting consists of: a report containing recommendations to the UN General Assembly for consideration at its 59th session under the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea”; a summary of plenary discussions and discussion panel sessions; and additions and amendments to issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly, as contained in Part C of the report of the fourth meeting of the Consultative Process. The recommendations to the General Assembly address: cooperation and coordination on ocean issues; deep seabed biodiversity; marine scientific research; and issues for further consideration. An international workshop was convened in conjunction with UNICPOLOS-5 to consider a process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socioeconomic aspects (GMA International Workshop). The report of the GMA International Workshop will be forwarded to the 59th session of the General Assembly under the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea.” In stark contrast to high expectations at the beginning of the week regarding the main issues for discussion, namely the GMA and new sustainable uses of the oceans, delegates expressed mixed feelings about the outcomes of both the GMA International Workshop and the fifth meeting of the Consultative Process. By only recommending the establishment of a task force to initiate the next stage of preparatory work necessary to establish the formal GMA, the Workshop missed the opportunity to build on political momentum stemming from the WSSD. Similarly, in spite of alarming surveys and recent examples set by relevant international fora in the field of marine biodiversity conservation and management, States could not overcome longstanding entrenched positions, resulting in modest recommendations on destructive fishing practices and marine protected areas. To some extent, the Consultative Process may have become victim of its own success in trying to tackle issues that have not yet reached sufficient maturity. ENB's coverage of this meeting, including daily and summary reports and photographs and Real Audio recordings, is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/oceans/icp5/
INTERNATIONAL WATER DEMAND MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

The International Water Management Conference took place from 30 May to 3 June 2004 by the Dead Sea in Jordan. The conference, sponsored by the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation with funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), brought together some 1,500 experts and officials from 30 countries to discuss water management and provide water consumers, specifically industry and commercial agencies, with a forum to learn how new conservation technologies can reduce costs, as well as save the region's water. Experts also addressed the Dead Sea's declining water level as a result of evaporation and river diversion, recommending that Jordan and Israel draw water from the Red Sea via a canal. The two countries have agreed on the plan, but are awaiting funding approval from the World Bank and other donor countries. More information is available at: http://www.wdm2004.org/index.asp
FORUM BARCELONA 2004: DIALOGUES ON WATER FOR LIFE AND SECURITY

As part of the Barcelona Forum, sponsored by the Green Cross International, ministers, diplomats, civil society leaders, academics, managers and engineers met in a dialogue session from 31 May to 1 June 2004 to address the challenges of international water management. Among the topics discussed were: water and solidarity; water, health and the environment; water uses and development; and a global convention on the right to water. International Green Cross President Mikhail Gorbachev addressed participants at the Water Dialogue calling for a glasnost, a transparent global advisory, to resolve water problems. More information about the Dialogue's deliberations is available at: http://www.greencrossinternational.net/Communication/events/...

May 2004

FISHERY COMMITTEE FOR THE EASTERN CENTRAL ATLANTIC

Following a meeting from 24-26 May 2004 in Dakar, Senegal, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (CECAF), a FAO subsidiary body charged with promoting sustainable development of marine resources, responsible fisheries management, and regional cooperation on fishing policy issues, decided that its 33 members should begin reporting on catch levels of non-tuna species in high-seas waters off the western coast of Africa. Following reports showing a growing commercial interest in several non-tuna species, all waters under CECAF's jurisdiction - extending west from the African coast to the mid-Atlantic, starting from the northern tip of Morocco and ending at the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – will be monitored on a year-to-year basis. For more information visit: http://www.fao.org/fi/body/rfb/CECAF/cecaf_home.htm
REGIONAL NWSAB WATER LEADERSHIP MEETING

A regional meeting of National Water Sector Apex Bodies (NWSAB), sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), brought together 50 representatives of NWSAB and water ministries from 13 Asian countries to discuss the role apex bodies can play in creating a strong and sustainable water sector. Meeting from 18-21 May 2004 in Hanoi, Vietnam, delegates agreed to pursue regional cooperation among NSWABs, beginning with the sharing of basic information among each other, and to develop performance indicators, peer review, and benchmarking to make NWSABs more effective. They also agreed to: promote a national focus on water reform; guide the reform process to ensure participation and collaboration among all stakeholders; and facilitate policy dialogue and investment partnerships with development partners, including the ADB. The results of the meeting can be found at: http://www.adb.org/Documents/Events/2004/Leadership_in_Water...
GLOBAL H2O PARTNERSHIP CONFERENCE

Held from 11-14 May 2004 in Cairns, Australia, the H20 Partnership Conference, organized as part of the Hilltops-2-Oceans (H2O) Partnership Initiative, launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002, was attended by policy makers, industry representatives, nongovernmental organizations, and academics. These experts gathered to share expertise, experience and solutions to the problems of marine pollution, with a view to developing a multistakeholder programme of work to protect the marine environment from land based activities. Participants also discussed the links between integrated water resources management and integrated coastal area management. Major outcomes of the conference included: a Ministerial Communiqué on managing water from the Hilltops to the Oceans; published proceedings outlining the latest developments in methodology and practice for addressing the harmful effects of land-based activities on coastal and marine environments; and a series of recommendations and a Programme of Work for the international community to accelerate national and regional action to protect the marine environment from land-based activities. The conference also saw the launch of a UNEP-sponsored campaign on “Wastewater Emission Targets - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All” or WET-WASH. More information is available at: http://www.hilltops2oceans.org/conference.html
NORDIC WETLAND CONFERENCE MEETING

Some 50 participants from 10 countries, as well as national Ramsar Convention on Wetlands authorities, nature conservation agencies, local authorities and managers of protected areas, gathered from 4-7 May 2004 in Brekstad, Norway, to discuss how to improve wetland conservation and awareness and possibilities for strengthening Nordic wetland cooperation, particularly within the Baltic region. In a final statement, participants agreed, inter alia, to: improve sub-regional cooperation, including the need to convene a smaller sub-regional meeting later this year to: consider a mandate, geographical focus, possible work plan, funding and lead responsibilities; cooperate with regard to the European Ramsar meeting in Armenia in December 2004 and the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) in Uganda in 2005; and make the meeting's proceedings available for distribution to relevant stakeholders. The meeting's closing statement is available at: http://www.ramsar.org/mtg_nordic_ramsar_2004bis.htm
FOURTH WORLD FISHERIES CONGRESS

An estimated 1,500 delegates from 80 nations gathered from 2-6 May 2004 in Vancouver, Canada, at the 4th World Fisheries Congress to explore issues focusing on the harmonization of fisheries with conservation, and to promote scientific advice, cooperation and partnership among the world's fisheries scientists, managers, the fishing industry, and conservation movement. During the five-day conference, delegates met in Plenary and dialogue sessions to discuss, inter alia: the human and ecological dimensions in achieving the reconciliation of fisheries with conservation; fisheries trade; jurisdictional equity; maintaining biodiversity; aboriginal fisheries; fisheries valuation; aquaculture; ecosystem modeling; marine protected areas; and the international management of shared river systems. One day was dedicated to a forum for the fisheries community to address how industry and environmental organizations can further the objective of reconciling fisheries with conservation, while another public forum examined the seafood ‘sustainable fishery' certification movement. For more information visit: http://www.worldfisheries2004.org/home.htm

April 2004

12th Session of the CSD

April 2004: The twelfth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12) was held from 14-30 April 2004, at UN headquarters in New York. The first three days of CSD-12 (14-16 April) served as the preparatory meeting for the International Meeting on the 10-year Review of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. The subsequent two weeks (19-30 April) were devoted to the CSD-12 Review Session, the first session held under the Commission's new multi-year programme of work adopted at CSD-11. CSD-12 undertook an evaluation of progress in implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, focusing on identifying constraints, obstacles, successes and lessons learned with regard to water, sanitation and human settlements, the thematic cluster of issues for the CSD-12 and CSD-13 Implementation Cycle. The Commission also heard reports from the UN Regional Commissions on the status of implementation, and from the Major Groups on their contribution to implementation. A high-level segment, attended by over 100 ministers and addressed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was held from 28-30 April, comprising presentations, interactive discussions and ministerial statements. Throughout the session, delegates also attended the Partnerships Fair and Learning Center courses. At the conclusion of CSD-12, the Commission adopted the report of the session, which included a non-negotiated Chair's Summary. A unanimous verdict was passed on the success of CSD-12: it produced a clearer picture on the progress of implementation and the actions needed to increase the pace of delivery; it provided the space for ministers to look at progress, identify challenges, constraints and obstacles without the need to battle over drafting formulas; and it reaffirmed political commitment to achieving the internationally-agreed goals and targets on water, sanitation and human settlements. The ENB summary and analysis of this meeting is available at: http://www.iisd.ca/csd/csd12/
TRANSBOUNDARY WETLAND SITES SEMINAR

Organized by the Environment Ministries of Belarus and Lithuania, with support from the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands Secretariat, a seminar attended by some 30 participants met from 28-29 April in Lida, Belarus, to discuss the collaborative international management of transboundary wetlands in the region, particularly the preparation of the first transboundary Ramsar site between Lithuania and Belarus. Participants expressed hope that this important European transboundary wetland site would receive increased attention to ease joint management and conservation efforts. For more information visit: http://www.ramsar.org/mtg_belarus_transboundary.htm
NIGER RIVER BASIN CONFERENCE

African leaders from the nine countries that share the Niger River met from 27-28 April 2004 in Paris, France, to discuss how to better manage the river and prevent its water levels from declining. The Niger River, the third largest river in Africa, is shared by Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, and is responsible for sustaining 100 million people, a number that is expected to double by 2020. During the two-day conference, sponsored by French President Jacques Chirac, delegates stressed the need to jointly manage their ground and surface water resources as part of their action plan to save the Niger basin. A ‘Paris Declaration' was signed by the nine countries to establish good governance principles for the river based on sustainable development and fair water sharing. For more information visit: http://www.enn.com/news/2004-04-27/s_23198.asp
GLOBAL FLYWAYS CONFERENCE 2004 - WATERBIRDS AROUND THE WORLD

The Global Flyways Conference was held from 3-8 April 2004 in Edinburgh, UK. Attended by some 450 waterbird scientists and wetland and waterbird conservation practitioners from 90 countries worldwide, this event provided a major opportunity to review the status of waterbirds in the light of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the 2010 biodiversity target. One of the conference's key outputs was the drafting of the Edinburgh Declaration, which highlights the perilous state of many of the world's waterbirds, and sets an agenda for urgent and collaborative national and international action on wetlands and waterbirds, including through implementation of the Ramsar Wetlands Convention. Other recommendations include the need for: increased international cooperation between Pan-American countries sharing migratory birds; integrated waterbird conservation in Africa-Eurasian flyways; an international framework for the development of conservation initiatives for migratory waterbirds in Central Asia; addressing conservation requirements of non-migrant waterbirds; and adequately funded programmes of communication, education and public awareness in all waterbird conservation initiatives. The Edinburgh Declaration, as well as other recommendations from the conference can be found at: http://ramsar.org/mtg_flyways_edinburgh5.htm
FIFTH IUCN REGIONAL CONSERVATION FORUM: PEOPLE AND NATURE: WATER FOR PEACE AND PROSPERITY

Conservation experts gathered in Amman, Jordan, from 5-7 April 2004, to strengthen knowledge and networks for biodiversity conservation in the West and Central Asia and North Africa (WESCANA) region. The meeting also signaled the relocation of IUCN-The World Conservation Union's WESCANA Regional Office from its former headquarters in Gland to Amman, where the Government of Jordan has agreed to provide financial and technical support to the office for five years. The meeting convened under the theme “People and Nature: Water for Peace and Prosperity” and held a high-level workshop on ways to address the challenges of water scarcity in the region. The workshop looked at whether markets, traditions and religious teachings can come together to conserve water for human well-being and peace, the results of which will feed into the upcoming CSD session that is focusing on water, sanitation and human settlements. Participants also prepared regional input to the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress scheduled for Bangkok in November, engaging in debates on: Sustaining Productivity and Diversity of Freshwater Ecosystems; Water for Human Well-being and Peace; Promise of Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation; and the Role of Markets in Biodiversity Conservation of Freshwater Ecosystems. More information is available at: http://www.iucn.org/info_and_news/press/rcfwaterworkshop.pdf...
51ST SESSION OF THE IMO MARINE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COMMITTEE

The Baltic Sea, bar Russian waters, has been designated as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). Eight Baltic Sea nations – Denmark, Estonia Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden – agreed to establish stricter environmental laws in their waters at the recent 51st session of the International Maritime Organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee, which met from 29 March to 2 April in London. According to news reports, Russia opposed the move as it could limit the access of oil tankers to and from the sea and raise costs for oil shippers, who would have to adopt measures to ensure safe oil transport. The meeting also saw the designation of the Galapagos archipelago (Ecuador) and the waters surrounding the Canary Islands (Spain) as PSSAs. These waters now enjoy IMO protection with six other existing PSSAs around the world, including Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Cuba's Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, Colombia's Malpelo Island, the United States' Florida Keys, Peru's Paracas National Reserve and the Wadden Sea of Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The committee also adopted revised regulations on sewage and approved a resolution on guidelines for transporting vegetable oil. Aiming to prevent coastal pollution, the new sewage regulations state that no sewage can be discharged within three miles of land for ships that carry over 15 people. Those ships with authorized onboard sewage treatment plants must discharge at least three miles away from the shore. These regulations are expected to enter into force in August 2005. In addition, the committee approved a plan of action for the development of guidelines for the implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship's Ballast Water and Sediments that was adopted this February, and considered further work on ship recycling. More information is available at: http://www.imo.org/Newsroom/mainframe.asp?topic_id=848&d...

March 2004

Sixth Meeting of the CSD 12 Bureau

March 2004: The sixth meeting of the Bureau of the twelfth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) took place at UN Headquarters in New York on 19 March 2004. CSD-12 Chair Brende briefed the Bureau Vice-Chairs on his meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He said the Secretary-General reaffirmed the importance of following up on the World Summit on Sustainable Development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and confirmed that he would address the High-level Segment of CSD-12. Based on questions raised during discussions between Bureau members and regional groups, the Bureau agreed that the High-level Segment would consist of introductory presentations by eminent speakers, interactive discussions and statements. The Bureau endorsed the Secretariat's initiative to webcast the discussions at the High-level Segment and other activities, such as the opening of CSD-12 and a selection of thematic and regional discussions, Partnership Fair events and Learning Centre courses. The Bureau decided to hold a briefing on 22 March to communicate the results of its sixth meeting to delegates. The Bureau also decided to hold a meeting to review progress in the informal consultations on matters related to the SIDS preparatory meeting, and to meet with the organizing partners of Major Groups in New York on 18 April to further review the contributions of Major Groups to CSD-12. More information on the sixth Bureau meeting can be found at: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/bureau_meeting_6th.h.... An Earth Negotiations Bulletin Briefing Note on the 22 March briefing can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/csd/csd12/CSD12_Briefing_3.22.04.html
Friends of the Earth Middle East meeting on the economics of sustainable management and development of the Dead Sea Basin

Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, organized a one-day meeting on 18 March 2004 in Jordan to address the economics of sustainable management and development of the Dead Sea Basin. Attended by government and NGO representatives from Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the meeting found that the three governments do not share a common vision on the future of the Dead Sea Basin, neither from a political nor a sustainable development perspective. Participants agreed that preparations for a regional integrated development plan for the basin are urgently required, and that a mission of experts from the World Heritage Center to the region is needed to assist in proposing a Dead Sea Basin listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Civil society and regional NGOs were recognized as essential for helping formulate a common vision for sustainable development of the Dead Sea Basin. In addition, the conference presented two new research papers - one dealing with lessons for the Dead Sea Basin from North America, and another presenting an economic analysis of different water users affecting the Dead Sea Basin. The economic research revealed for the first time that the economic benefits of current water use diverted from the Dead Sea were less than the economic damage incurred to the tourism industry and conservation values. For more information visit: http://www.foeme.org/main/deadsea.htm
30TH MEETING OF THE HELSINKI COMMISSION

A meeting took place recently from 2-3 March 2004 in Helsinki, Finland to mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Helsinki Convention – the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area. Delegates adopted nine new recommendations on measures to prevent pollution of the Baltic Sea, including, inter alia, recommendations on: industrial activities on the effective use of Best Available Techniques (BAT) for determining achievable emission levels for particularly hazardous substances; the reduction in nutrients and other pollutants leaching from forestry land; the reduction of discharges from freshwater and marine fish farming; winter navigation; and guidelines for the recommended minimum throughput of oil filtering equipment on board ships. Other topics discussed at the meeting included improvements to ballast water management, including the need to join forces with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to investigate the possibility of another major World Bank funded project in the Baltic Sea. A draft report on environmental problems related to dioxins, including the health risks to people consuming fish from the Baltic Sea, was also discussed and is expected to be published in a few months. The Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through cooperation between the governments bordering the Baltic, namely Denmark, Estonia, the European Community, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. More information is available at: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/news/362.html
Fifth Meeting of the CSD 12 Bureau

March 2004: The fifth meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development's (CSD) Bureau convened on 1 March 2004 in New York. On the organization of work for CSD-12, Bureau members discussed issues that emerged during a 25 February briefing, regional briefings and communications to Bureau members from member States. Questions raised during the 25 February briefing included how Major Group representatives would participate in official discussions, how their input would be incorporated into the chair's summary of the discussion, who could participate in the High-level Segment and how it would be organized. At its 1 March meeting, the Bureau agreed that there would be a speaking list for the High-level Segment and delegations could indicate a preferred date and discussion theme for Ministers' interventions. The Bureau also reiterated the importance of Major Groups' participation during CSD-12. The Bureau will meet again on 19 March 2004 in New York. For more information, see the note on the Bureau meeting: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/bureau_meeting_5th.h... and the Earth Negotiations Bulletin Briefing Note on the 25 February briefing: http://www.iisd.ca/csd/csd12/CSD12_Briefing_2.25.04.html

February 2004

24TH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM ON SEA TURTLE BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Some 1,000 experts from 70 countries met from 22-29 February 2004 in San Jose, Costa Rica at an annual symposium to discuss the current state of research and conservation activities related to sea turtles. This year's theme was focused on “Sea Turtle Lifescapes” - the role sea turtles fill in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as in greater biodiversity landscapes. Many participants highlighted the decline of the Leatherback turtle in the Pacific Ocean, which has seen its numbers fall from about 115,000 reproductive females in 1982 to fewer than 3,000 today, a decline of 97%. In addition to the Leatherback, the Kemp's Ridley and Hawksbill turtles are classified by the IUCN Red List as critically endangered, and the Green, Olive Ridley and Loggerhead turtles are classified under the same list as endangered. Scientists and conservationists at the conference highlighted several international success stories demonstrating that well planned conservation efforts can halt and reverse the decline of sea turtles, but not unless their nesting beaches are protected from uncontrolled beachfront development and egg poaching. More information on this meeting is available at: http://www.seaturtle.org/symposium/
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON BALLAST WATER MANAGEMENT

A new international accord aimed at stopping the global spread of alien aquatic organisms carried in ships' ballast waters was recently adopted at a conference in London. The International Conference on Ballast Water Management, which took place from 9-13 February 2004, represented the culmination of over ten years of work by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on a ballast water convention. Agreement was reached on issues concerning global standards for ballast water exchange and treatment, additional measures a Party can undertake, ballast water exchange areas, and provisions for entry into force. The conference further adopted several resolutions pertaining to the future work of the IMO, reviewing standards, and technical cooperation and assistance. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, which will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35 percent of the world's merchant shipping tonnage, is divided into Articles, and an Annex that includes technical standards and requirements in the Regulations for the control and management of ships' ballast water and sediments. The convention will require all ships to implement a Ballast Water and Sediments Management Plan, carry a Ballast Water Record Book and conduct ballast water management procedures to certain standards. These requirements will also extend to existing ships following a phase-in period. Parties to the Convention have the option of taking on additional measures, subject to criteria and guidelines that are yet to be developed. According to WWF, which has been working with the IMO for several years on this issue, over 4000 species such as plankton, algae, fish and jellyfish, are estimated to travel around the world everyday through ballast water, which is loaded and stored in a ship's hull to provide stability for its voyage. When a ship arrives at its destination, this water together with the organisms and pathogens it carries is released into surrounding waters, threatening marine life in their new environment and bringing diseases to humans living near that environment. There are currently many documented cases of harm caused to marine environments by invasive species from ballast water. The comb jellyfish from North America has devastated fish stocks, fisheries and native species including dolphins in the Black and Azov Seas. The Asian kelp has replaced native seagrasses in Australia, destroying the nursing and feeding grounds for many commercial fish and shellfish, while alien algae have caused toxic red-tides in the Philippines. According to Reuters, the US has spent about $140 billion dealing with the damage caused by invasive species to marine life. Globalization and increase in trade and shipping traffic volumes have been implicated in the spread of such invasive organisms. More information is available from: the IMO website: http://www.imo.org/Newsroom/mainframe.asp?topic_id=848&... and WWF's marine newsroom: http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/marine/news/news.c...

January 2004

NCSE'S FOURTH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SCIENCE, POLICY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: WATER FOR A SUSTAINABLE AND SECURE FUTURE

More than 800 representatives from scientific, government, industry and nongovernmental backgrounds participated in this National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) conference in Washington, D.C. on 29-30 January 2004. Over 80 experts spoke in plenary sessions and smaller topical panels on the event's topics of Sustainable Water Management and Institutions, Water Technologies, Quality of Water and Sanitation, and Estuaries and Coastal Resources Management. In breakout sessions, attendees generated recommendations on the role of science in achieving water sustainability. The recommendations will be published in a forthcoming conference report. For more information see: http://www.ncseonline.org/NCSEconference/2004conference/
Fourth Meeting of the CSD-12 Bureau

January 2004: The fourth meeting of the Bureau of the twelfth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12) convened in New York on 23 January 2004. Participants discussed preparations for the April 2004 session, including its organization of work. The Bureau clarified that a Chair's summary of the officials' segment to be distributed during CSD-12 would capture the highlights of statements and interactive discussions, including case studies and lessons learned, as well as activities of the Partnerships Fair and Learning Center, but it would not be a detailed account of those activities or be open for negotiation. The Bureau also took note of ECOSOC's informal consultations on the status of WSSD-accredited NGOs and other Major Groups and expressed hope that a satisfactory solution to the issue could be reached as soon as possible to allow full participation of those groups in the work of CSD-12. The next Bureau meeting was scheduled for 19 March 2004, but due to delegates' interest in providing input on the organization of work, as expressed during a briefing following the Bureau meeting, the date may change to end of February or early March. For more information, see the note on the meeting: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/bureau_meeting_104.h..., and the ENB briefing note on the briefing following the Bureau meeting: http://www.iisd.ca/csd/csd12/CSD12_Briefing_1.23.04.html
30th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee

Held from 13-16 January 2004 in Gland, Switzerland, the 30th Meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee, the wetland Convention's inter-sessional governing body, was attended by 70 members and observers to review preparations for its ninth Conference of Parties (Ramsar COP-9), to be held in Uganda in November 2005. Delegates also addressed budgetary issues and small grants fund allocation, heard a presentation on the progress of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as it relates to the Convention, and reviewed the mid-term progress of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP). The report of the meeting will be available at the end of January on the Ramsar Convention website at: http://www.ramsar.org/
ECE Regional Implementation Meeting

January 2004: The UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) at its eleventh session (CSD-11) invited the United Nations Regional Commissions to consider organizing regional implementation meetings to contribute to the work of the CSD. In response to this invitation, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) incorporated consideration of the CSD agenda in its deliberations at its first Regional Implementation Forum on Sustainable Development, which met from 15-16 January 2004, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates discussed regional water, sanitation and human settlement issues with regard to outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. On human settlements, delegates recommended, inter alia, mobilizing international support to address poverty and inequality in human settlements through targeted official development assistance in urban planning, land administration and good governance. Recommendations on water included developing innovative financial mechanisms, such as compensation schemes for water-linked environmental services, revolving funds, and project development facilities. On sanitation, delegates recommended taking a holistic approach to water protection, water supply and sanitation, among others. The outcome of this meeting will be transmitted to the UN Secretary-General to contribute to the preparations for CSD-12. Full Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage can be accessed at: http://www.iisd.ca/csd/rim/ece/