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December 2007

MEETING EXAMINES OPTIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON MIGRATORY SHARKS

The Meeting to Identify and Elaborate an Option for International Cooperation on Migratory Sharks under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) took place in Mahé, Seychelles from 11-13 December 2007. The meeting brought together some 70 participants from 40 countries, representing governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and scientific and academic institutions. Although the meeting uncovered a divergence in NGO and government preferences on the legal nature and species scope of a possible agreement on migratory sharks, there was broad support for the involvement of existing regional and intergovernmental organizations and agreement on key elements for the instrument. Participants established an intersessional steering group to advance the work, with the expectation of concluding the instrument at the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CMS, scheduled for 1-5 December 2008. The extensive discussions resulted in two outputs: a general statement on the purpose and process of the meeting, and a statement on the outcomes of the meeting, which will guide future work on the process. Link to further information IISD coverage
ASIA-PACIFIC WATER FORUM SUMMIT ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

The first Asia-Pacific Water Summit, organized by the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) and held in Beppu, Japan, from 3-4 December 2007, was attended by leaders from over 30 Asian countries, as well as by representatives from government, the private sector and civil society. Participants identified climate change as the main exacerbating factor of the current water crisis. Links to further information Asia Pacific Water Forum website Bloomberg, 4 December 2007 UN News Center, 3 December 2007

November 2007

ASIAN GPA TRAINING WORKSHOP DISCUSSES MAINSTREAMING MARINE ISSUES INTO NATIONAL PLANNING

The Asian training workshop to further the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) at the national level was held in Chennai, India, from 27-29 November 2007. The main output of the workshop is an outline for a national mainstreaming strategy for each country present, which describes the steps to be undertaken in the short term to initiate the mainstreaming process in the respective countries. The outlines are aimed at raising governmental awareness of the opportunities created by mainstreaming of marine and coastal issues into national planning and budgetary processes (IISD Sources). Link to further information Workshop's webpage
CALLS FOR MORATORIUM ON MEDITERRANEAN TUNA FISHING FALL SHORT

Non-governmental organizations focusing on conservation, including Greenpeace and WWF, called on members of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to agree on a moratorium on fishing for this species at ICCAT's 20th Regular Meeting in Antalya, Turkey, from 9-18 November 2007. During the meeting, the US also reportedly called on ICCAT members to impose an emergency moratorium on all catches for 3-5 years. ICCAT delegates instead agreed to continue to implement the plan previously adopted, and to undertake a full review at the end of 2008. Delegates also agreed to invite industry members to a “brainstorming” workshop on fishery management and to conduct “catch documentation,” tracing the fish from vessel to market. Links to further information BBC News Story, 16 November 2007 WWF Press release, 9 November 2007 Greenpeace Press release, 9 November 2007 ICCAT meeting's website FishUpdate.com news story, 19 November 2007
LONDON CONVENTION PARTIES ADDRESS CARBON DIOXIDE CAPTURE AND SEQUESTRATION

The 29th Consultative Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Convention) and second meeting of Contracting Parties to the 1996 Protocol thereto (London Protocol) was held in London, UK, from 5-9 November 2007. After considering a report from their scientific advisers, parties decided that large-scale fertilization of the oceans using micro-nutrients to sequester carbon dioxide is currently not justified, as the state of knowledge about the effectiveness and potential environmental impacts of such activities is currently insufficient. The meeting also completed the Guidelines for assessment of carbon dioxide capture and storage in sub-seabed geological formations. Link to further information IMO Press Release, 16 November 2007
JOINT SESSION OF TWO COPs DISCUSSES “BUILDING ON SUCCESS”

The Joint Conferences of the Contracting Parties (COP) of the Abidjan Convention for the Cooperation in the Protection of the Marine and Coastal Environment in the West and Central Africa Region and the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern African Region took place on 7 November 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The session marked the eighth session of the Abidjan Convention and the fifth session of the Nairobi Convention. The Joint COPs were followed by a meeting of the Joint Heads of Delegation of the Abidjan and Nairobi Conventions and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) on 8 November. The first jointly held COPs were organized in collaboration with the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) and NEPAD, under the umbrella of the African Union, and hosted by the Government of South Africa. The Joint COPs met under the theme ‘Building on Success', and focused on the progress and successes achieved by governments, key partners and stakeholders towards the implementation of the work programmes of the two Conventions and the Environment Action Plan of the Environment Initiative of NEPAD. The COPs for each agreement took a number of decisions related to the specific agreement, including Work Programmes for the period 2008–2011 and strengthening partnerships and institutional mechanisms. The meeting of the Joint Heads of Delegation of the Abidjan and Nairobi Conventions and NEPAD discussed and adopted the Joint Declaration of the Abidjan Convention and Nairobi Convention on the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment. Link to further information IISD RS Briefing Note
WORKSHOP ON DEEP-SEA FISHERIES IN THE HIGH SEAS REVIEWS MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES

The Workshop on Data and Knowledge on Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas convened from 5-7 November 2007, at UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. Participants reviewed and adopted recommendations regarding both the FAO World Wide Review of Deepwater Fisheries in the High Seas and relevant sections of the draft International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas. The Review is intended to provide States and other interested parties with a summary of the current state of high seas bottom fisheries, as well an assessment of gaps in relation to the management of these fisheries. These recommendations will be included in the development process of the FAO International Guidelines, and will be made available to FAO members at the Technical Consultation scheduled to take place in February 2008 (IISD RS Sources). Link to further information Workshop prospectus

October 2007

GLOBAL MEETING OF THE REGIONAL SEAS CONVENTIONS DISCUSSES STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS

The Ninth Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 29-31 October 2007. Participants to this closed meeting addressed, inter alia: key global challenges that could guide the global Strategic Directions of the Regional Seas for the next four years (2008-2012); approaches to mainstream the Regional Seas into national development planning and budgeting; the implementation of the current global Strategic Directions (2004-2007); and the focus of the next global Strategic Directions (2008-2012). Link to further information Meeting documents
IMO LEGAL COMMITTEE ADDRESSES CARRIAGE OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Legal Committee held its 93rd session in Panama City, Panama, from 22-26 October 2007. The Committee requested the Secretariat to prepare a model insurance certificate, which may be issued by States parties in respect of each and every ship under the relevant IMO conventions, for consideration at its 94th session. The decision followed the adoption of a resolution on compulsory insurance certificates under existing maritime liability conventions, including the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. In addition, participants reviewed the status of the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea. Link to further information IMO Legal Committee website
25th ANNIVERSARY OF UNCLOS CELEBRATED

The UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea has organized a briefing on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the opening for signature of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as well as the annual deliberation by the General Assembly of the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea.” The briefing, which was held on 17 October 2007 at UN headquarters in New York, US, addressed: sustainable fisheries; the implementation of the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement; issues related to the work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; marine biodiversity; maritime security and safety; and ocean governance. Link to further information UNDOALOS Briefing
LAW OF THE SEA INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS HELD

Informal consultations of the UN General Assembly on the law of the sea resolution took place at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 1-5 October 2007. Among the topics that participants discussed at this closed meeting are the issue of genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction and the competence of the Convention on Biological Diversity in this respect, and climate change (IISD RS sources).

September 2007

MPA SYMPOSIUM ADDRESSES FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The European Symposium on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a Tool for Fisheries Management and Ecosystem Conservation took place in Murcia, Spain, from 25-28 September 2007. Symposium participants addressed, inter alia: the ecological effects of MPAs; MPA effects on fisheries and other uses; the assessment of MPA performance; and the tools for MPA planning and design. Link to further information Symposium website
SEAFOOD INDUSTRY TURNS TO GREENER FISH

The 2007 Seafood Industry Congress took place from 25-27 September 2007, in Dublin, Ireland. Participants heard from the director of the Food and Agriculture Organization's Fishing Industry Division that seafood producers need to adapt to intensifying demand from retailers and consumers for “environmentally friendly” fish. It was also underlined that major seafood retailers like Unilever, Tesco, Walmart and Asda have already committed to selling only fish that has been harvested or raised sustainably. Link to further information FAO Press Release, 18 September 2007
WORKSHOP ADDRESSES TRANSBOUNDARY AQUIFERS IN THE AMERICAS

The Fifth International Workshop of the Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management (ISARM) Americas project, which is jointly coordinated by UNESCO-International Hydrological Programme and the Organization of American States, took place from 17-20 September 2007 in Montreal, Canada. The ISARM Programme is a multi-agency effort aimed at improving the understanding of scientific, socio-economic, legal and environmental issues related to the management of transboundary aquifers. The workshop brought together national coordinators of the 20 countries participating in the project as well as international experts. During the event, participants heard keynote presentations on the draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers, and were presented an Atlas compiling the results of cooperation between neighboring countries in the Americas identifying 69 transboundary aquifers. Links to further information ISARM website UNESCO Water Portal Bi-monthly Newsletter No. 194, 1 November 2007
WORLD WATER MONITORING DAY EMPHASIZES ROLE FOR CITIZENS

On 18 September 2007, tens of thousands of people from 50 countries celebrated World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD). The event, which is organized jointly by the Water Environment Federation and the International Water Association, aims to bring public attention to the role that the world's citizens must play in ensuring a sustainable supply of clean, usable water. Participants tested the quality of rivers, lakes and other water bodies using a simple monitoring kit. All the water quality data from around the world is collected in the WWMD database, which provides a snapshot of the state of the world's water. Link to further information World Water Monitoring Day website
GOVERNMENTS AND EXPERTS EXAMINE WAYS TO IMPROVE URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) International Hydrological Programme has hosted in Paris, France, an international symposium entitled “New directions in urban water management” from 12-14 September 2007. The three-day symposium examined new proposals and technologies for dealing with the growing pressure on freshwater supplies, the poor administration of existing water resources, and the general degradation of the environment. Symposium participants heard contributions from the heads of nine projects that the Programme has coordinated since 2002, and were briefed by urban water management officials from countries ranging from Iran and Oman to France, Serbia and Uganda. Link to further information Symposium website
EXPERTS REVIEW DRAFT INTERNATIONAL GUIDELINES ON DEEPWATER HIGH SEAS BOTTOM FISHERIES

An expert consultation on International Guidelines for the Management of Deepwater High Seas Bottom Fisheries took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 11-14 September 2007. The consultation aimed to review the draft guidelines prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, which elaborate on issues such as: fisheries management considerations; environmental considerations for management; management frameworks; compliance and enforcement issues; reporting requirements; and the role and responsibilities of major stakeholders in deep-sea fisheries in the high seas. Link to further information Meeting Prospectus
CONFERENCE REPORTS CONTRIBUTION TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF LARGE MARINE ECOSYSTEM APPROACH

The Second Global Conference on Large Marine Ecosystems took place in Qingdao, China, from 11-13 September 2007. The 31 oral presentations and 36 posters exhibited during the event sought to enhance participants' knowledge of the science and technology related to the Marine Ecology and Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) approach. Conference themes included assessment and management methodologies for ecosystem-based approaches to the recovery and sustainability of marine resources, and methodologies for analyzing changing states of LMEs, LMEs at risk from climate change, and the creation of an LME network. Link to further information Conference website

August 2007

WORLD WATER WEEK ASSESSES PERFORMANCE OF WATER PROGRAMMES AND POLICIES

The 2007 World Water Week was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 12-18 August 2007, around the theme “Progress and Prospects on Water: Striving for Sustainability in a Changing World.” The event brought together nearly 2500 participants from business, government, water management, science, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, training institutes, and UN agencies. Participants engaged in over 70 general sessions, seminars, workshops and side events in an attempt to measure progress on water-related development and examine the performance of policies and programmes in meeting water and sanitation challenges and capitalizing on opportunities for progress. Link to further information 2007 World Water Week's website

July 2007

APWF GOVERNING COUNCIL DISCUSSES ASIAN WATER AND DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK

The Asia-Pacific Water Forum's (APWF) Governing Council met in Singapore on 12-13 July 2007. The APWF aims to: increase the region's access to improved water supplies and sanitation; protect and restore river basins; and reduce people's vulnerability to water disasters. It is tasked with the organization of an Asia-Pacific Water Summit in December 2007, which is to be held in Oita Prefecture, Japan. Governing Council participants commented positively on the draft summary report on the key messages of the Asian Water and Development Outlook and focused on the Index of Drinking Water Adequacy introduced in the report. The Council also discussed APWF's proposed media strategy and networking activities. Link to further information APWF's Second Governing Council Website

June 2007

ICP-8 CONCLUDES WITHOUT CONSENSUS

The eighth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (ICP-8) convened from 25-29 June 2007 in New York, US. The meeting organized its discussions around the topic of “Marine genetic resources” (MGRs), as recommended by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in resolution 61/222. Co-Chairs Cristián Maquieira (Chile) and Lori Ridgeway (Canada) developed a draft text of elements to be suggested to the UNGA, drawing on panel discussions, although delegates were unable to agree on key language referring to the relevant legal regime for MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction. As a result, no consensus text on elements will be forwarded to the UNGA at its next session. However, the Co-Chairs announced that they would include the draft elements and recommendations within the Co-Chairs' Report of ICP-8 to the UNGA, including an explanation of the divergence of views. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNCLOS STATE PARTIES HOLD 17th MEETING

The seventeenth meeting of States parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) took place in New York, US, on 14 June and from 18-22 June 2007. At the meeting, parties elected the 21 members of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and considered, inter alia: the future arrangements regarding the allocation of seats on that Commission; the future arrangements regarding the equitable geographical distribution of members of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS); the report of ITLOS to the meeting of States parties for 2006; information reported by the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority; activities of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; and budgetary matters. Link to further information Meeting of the Parties' website
WORKSHOP FOCUSES ON STRENGTHENING PORT CONTROLS IN INDIAN OCEAN

Fifty participants from 13 countries in the Indian Ocean region met in Mauritius from 21-22 June 2007, under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to focus on strengthening port security, a key tool for combating illegal fishing. It is a particular concern in the western Indian Ocean and along the eastern coast of Africa, where fishing boats have taken advantage of the lack of strong enforcement measures in coastal countries. During the meeting, participants heard presentations from organizations such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources about recent measures taken against illegal unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in the regions for which they are responsible, including enhanced “port State measures” such as port inspection schemes and information systems, which can be linked to enforcement tools such as blacklisting of IUU fishing vessels, trade measures and requiring vessels to participate in vessel monitoring system programmes. Link to further information FAO press release, 21 June 2007
CITES COP CONCLUDES WITH CONSENSUS ON AFRICAN ELEPHANT

The fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-14) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convened from 3-15 June 2007, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The meeting achieved a hard-won consensus on the Strategic Vision, which sets out three strategic goals on: compliance and enforcement; securing financial resources; and CITES' role in the broader international environment agenda. Among other highlights, the meeting agreed that no cetacean species should be subject to periodic review while the International Whaling Commission moratorium is in place, and decided to list slender-horned and Cuvier's gazelles and slow loris on Appendix I (species endangered due to international trade, trade permitted only in exceptional circumstances), and Brazil wood, sawfish and eel on Appendix II (species that may become endangered if their trade is not regulated). Following the achievement of a landmark regional consensus on ivory trade by the African elephant range states, the meeting amended the annotation on African elephants to allow a one-off sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe with a nine-year resting period for further ivory trade. Delegates also agreed to additional trade restrictions for Brazilwood, which grows only in Brazil. Under the new provisions, the tree will be listed in CITES' Appendix II, meaning that trade in the species will be tightly controlled, while trade in finished products will remain exempted. Other timber species, including Spanish cedar and two species of rosewood, did not receive the same protection, but delegates agreed to establish a working group composed of officials from range states to consider alternative ways to protect the trees. CITES delegates also agreed to a US proposal to draw up an official memorandum of understanding to strengthen the relationship between the convention and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). CITES and the ITTO have worked together to help build the capacity of range states to conduct sustainable timber management. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
CGRFA-11 DEVELOPS PROGRAMME OF WORK AND DRAFT INTERLAKEN DECLARATION

The eleventh regular session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA-11) was held from 11-15 June 2007, at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in Rome, Italy. CGRFA-11 considered agenda items relating to the ongoing programmes of the Commission with regard to animal genetic resources (AnGR), plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), and the draft code of conduct on biotechnology, as well as the establishment and implementation of the Commission's multi-year programme of work (MYPOW). Outcomes included agreement on most of the major outputs and milestones of the MYPOW, which spans the next five regular sessions of the Commission. Delegates also agreed to forward to the International Technical Conference on AnGR, to be held in September 2007, in Interlaken, Switzerland, a draft Interlaken Declaration on AnGR and the elements of a Global Plan of Action for AnGR, incorporating Strategic Priorities for Action, with some parts of the text still bracketed. An additional issue discussed included the need for improved international policies to conserve aquatic genetic resources and improve global food security. According to a paper prepared for the meeting by FAO's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, the rapid expansion of aquaculture and the over-exploitation of many fisheries have created conditions where “irresponsible” use of natural resources can result in adverse environmental and social impacts, conflicts and unsustainability. CGRFA-11 was preceded by a special event on “Emerging Issues in the Management of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: Towards a Multi-Year Programme of Work,” which convened on 9 June 2007, also at FAO headquarters. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting and the special event CGRFA's webpage FAO Press Release, 11 June, 2007
UNESCO-IHE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM STRENGTHENS CAPACITY OF WATER STAKEHOLDERS

UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education organized a three-day symposium entitled: “Water for a Changing World: Enhancing Local Knowledge and Capacity” in Delft, the Netherlands, from 13-15 June 2007. The event aimed to formulate a ‘road map' for stakeholder organizations, including academic and research institutions, water sector operators, governments and non-governmental organizations, civil society and donors, to improve and strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations at the local level. Participants identified challenges for sustainable water management as well as priorities that need to be addressed in enhancing knowledge and capacity to respond to these challenges; and formulated recommendations on the strategy, priority actions and preferred tools and instruments for enhancing knowledge and capacity. Link to further information Symposium's website
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ADDRESSES AFRICAN CHALLENGES IN REACHING WATER AND SANITATION MDGs

The International Forum on African Perspectives, jointly organized by the African Development Bank and the OECD Development Centre, held a conference on 5 June 2007, in Paris, France, to address whether Africa can reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to water and sanitation. The event brought together eminent personalities from Africa and OECD countries, government representatives, private sector operators, civil society, journalists and researchers. Link to further information The International Forum on African Perspectives website
EIGHTH UNSGAB SESSION ON WATER AND SANITATION HELD

The eighth session of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board (UNSGAB) on Water and Sanitation, an independent body established in March 2004 by then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, convened in Shanghai, China, from 31 May-1 June 2007. The Board, which advises the UN Secretary-General and galvanizes global action on water and sanitation issues, conducted a Dialogue aimed at securing Asian governments' commitment to implement all actions in the Hashimoto Action Plan. During the event, participants: discussed major challenges and solutions on water and sanitation in Asia; identified priority actions of the Hashimoto Action Plan vital to achieving the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation in Asia; and discussed ways to implement the priority actions of the Hashimoto Action Plan in Asia. In addition, a Joint Statement was adopted which contains a summary of the discussions and their shared understanding. Link to further information UNSGAB's eight session website

May 2007

IWC CONCLUDES ANNUAL MEETING

The 59th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which convened from 28-31 May 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska, US, has renewed for five years the following catch limits for aboriginal subsistence whaling: up to 280 bowhead whales, with no more than 67 whales in any year, of the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas Stock, taken by native people of Alaska and Chukotka; a total of 620 Eastern North Pacific gray whales, with a maximum of 140 in any one year, taken by those whose “traditional, aboriginal and subsistence needs have been recognized;” and 20 Humpback whales taken by St. Vincent and The Grenadines for the seasons 2008-2012. Members also negotiated the issue of Greenlandic fisheries, and proposed catch limits for 2008-2012 were adopted on the final day of the meeting by 41 votes in favor, 11 against and 16 abstentions: 19 West Greenland fin whales per year; 200 West Greenland common minke whales per year, with annual review by the Scientific Committee; 2 West Greenland bowhead whales per year, with annual review by the Scientific Committee; and 12 East Greenland common minke whales per year. Greenland was thus allowed to expand its indigenous whale hunting following their agreement to give up a proposed new hunt quota of 10 humpback whales. A Japanese proposal to allow a catch for its four small-type coastal whaling communities (Abashiri, Ayukawa, Wadaura and Taiji) was not put to a vote as it clearly lacked the required majority, following which Joji Morishita, Japan's deputy whaling commissioner, questioned whether Japan would continue to participate in the IWC. A heated debate was held on the issue of special permit or scientific whaling, with strong statements made both for and against. The Commission passed a resolution asking Japan to refrain from issuing a permit for the second phase of its special permit research in the Antarctic (JARPA II), by 40 votes in favor, 2 against and 1 abstention. Twenty-seven countries decided not to participate in the vote as they believed that the submission of the proposal was not conducive to building bridges within the Commission. A Brazilian proposal to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary was defeated because, with 39 votes in favor, 29 against and 3 abstentions, it did not get the required three-quarters majority. A resolution on the relationship with the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), requesting CITES parties not to seek the transfer of cetacean species from CITES Appendix I while the moratorium remains in place, was passed by 37 votes in favor and 4 against with 4 abstentions. Twenty-six countries did not participate in the vote because they believed the resolution was inappropriate. The Commission also passed a resolution on safety issues at sea by consensus; adopted a resolution on small cetaceans; reviewed and agreed the Workplan of the Scientific Committee for the coming year and adopted its report; and endorsed the Report of the Conservation Committee. A resolution on the non-lethal use of whales was adopted by 42 votes in favor, 2 against and 2 abstentions, while 20 countries did not participate in the vote because they felt that with more time, a consensus resolution could have been developed. Links to further information IWC press releases Reuters News Service, 30 May 2007 Reuters News Service, 30 May 2007 Reuters News Service, 31 May 2007 Reuters News Service, 1 June 2007 Reuters News Service, 1 June 2007 Reuters News Service, 1 June 2007
INTERNATIONAL HYDROPOWER ASSOCIATION CONVENES FIRST CONGRESS

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower convened in Antalya, Turkey, from 29-31 May 2007, for the IHA's inaugural international congress. The event provided a forum for dialogue between hydropower companies, investment and development banks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders involved in the development and operation of hydropower projects for discussion of: technical hydropower innovation; social and environmental performance; the role of the public and private sectors; social responsibility; and certification of good practice in the hydropower sector. Participants to the congress addressed various topics, including: the potential and progress of renewable energy; hydropower development and technical innovation; national perspectives on hydropower development; the social and environmental performance of hydropower; the role of the public and private sectors in hydropower development; business and social responsibility; and certification of good practice in the hydropower sector. Over the course of the three days, more than 320 participants, representing governments, industry, international organizations, financial and legal entities, conservation NGOs and research institutions, took part in the congress. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
AMCOW ADOPTS BRAZZAVILLE DECLARATION

The sixth Ordinary Session of the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW-6) took place from 30-31 May 2007, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Attended by ministers, government representatives, and issue experts from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the meeting focused on strengthening regional and international cooperation and solidarity to address the African water and sanitation crisis and to make progress on achieving the water-related targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Ministers adopted a meeting report summarizing their discussions, and the Brazzaville Declaration containing ministerial decisions on future work. Key issues addressed in these decisions include governance, institutional and operational matters, financial issues and means of implementation, and partnerships and other initiatives. Ministers also decided on the composition of the AMCOW subsidiary bodies for 2007-2009 and confirmed the new President of AMCOW. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
WORKSHOP CONSIDERS DRAFT ARTICLES ON THE LAW OF TRANSBOUNDARY AQUIFERS

The UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – International Hydrological Programme, with partners the Water Academy and the French Geological Survey, organized a workshop on 29-30 May 2007 in Paris, France, on transboundary aquifers. Workshop participants were legal advisors from ministries of foreign affairs, water experts from ministries of environment of several countries (France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece and Saudi Arabia) and groundwater experts. They were presented the draft articles on the law of transboundary aquifers that were adopted by the UN International Law Commission in June 2006, and that have been sent to governments for comment by January 2008. Participants emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of water management and the importance of transboundary aquifers across the world. Link to further information UNESCO newsletter, 18 June 2007
PARTIES TO THE FRAMEWORK CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT OF THE CASPIAN SEA HOLD THEIR FIRST MEETING

The Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea is the first legally binding agreement signed by all five nations surrounding the Caspian Sea, laying down the general requirements and the institutional mechanism for environmental protection in the Caspian region. The first meeting of the parties to the Convention was held from 23-25 May 2007, in Baku, Azerbaijan. Delegates adopted a series of decision, including on: the rules of procedure; the financial rules; and the programme of work for the period of June 2007-May 2008. Parties also decided to hold the second meeting of the Conference of the Parties in the first half of 2008 in Iran. Link to further information COP-1 website
WRECK REMOVAL CONVENTION ADOPTED

A Wreck Removal Convention has been adopted, under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO, with the support of the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) and the government of Kenya, organized a diplomatic conference from 14-18 May 2007, in Nairobi, Kenya, to approve the Convention. Shipwrecks can pose hazards to navigation or, because of the nature of their cargo, to the marine and coastal environments, or to both. The Convention, which was prepared by the IMO Legal Committee, will make shipowners financially liable for wrecks and requires them to take out insurance or provide other financial security to cover the costs of wreck removal. It will also provide States with a right of direct action against insurers. In addition, the Convention includes provisions on: the report of and location of wrecks; determination of hazards when a wreck is beyond territorial waters; rights and obligations to remove hazardous ships and wrecks; financial liability; and settlement of disputes. Links to further information IMO Press Release, 10 May 2007 IMO Press Release, 16 May 2007
WHALING COMMISSION MEETING OPENS IN ANCHORAGE

The 59th Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission opened in Anchorage, Alaska, US, with the meeting of the Scientific Committee from 7-18 May 2007. The Commission's sub-groups will meet from 22-24 May, with 25 May set aside for finalizing reports. The following committees and sub-groups will convene: the Working Group on Whale Killing Methods and Associated Welfare Issues; the Conservation Committee; the Infractions Sub-committee; the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Sub-committee; the Budgetary Sub-committee; and Finance and Administration Committee. The Annual Commission Meeting will take place from 28-31 May 2007. Link to further information International Whaling Commission website

April 2007

THIRD ICRI GENERAL MEETING DISCUSSES INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE REEF 2008

The third general meeting of the Japan/Palau International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) secretariat, which convened from 23-24 April 2007 in Tokyo, Japan, was attended by 65 participants, including representatives from 15 countries. The International Year of the Reef (IYOR) 2008 was a major item of discussion, with IYOR progress presented by France, Japan and the US. The meeting further discussed the need for close cooperation with various international/national organizations and bodies including educational institutions, mass-media and the private sector, including the fishery and tourism industries. The meeting decided that ICRI will, where appropriate, actively promote the International Year of the Reef 2008 at international meetings, such as the G8 Environmental Ministers Meeting in Japan, the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Germany, and COP-10 of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in the Republic of Korea. The members also agreed that the International Coral Reef Symposium in Florida, US, in July 2008, should be used to spread the IYOR message. To respond to the 2002 WSSD target to “commit to the development of representative networks of marine protected areas by 2012”, the meeting adopted a recommendation encouraging ICRI members to take urgent action to establish and effectively manage representative regional and national networks of MPAs that include coral reefs and related ecosystems. Japan presented a progress report on a database for marine protected areas in 14 East Asian and 5 Micronesia countries, and ICRI members welcomed Japan's offer to host an International Conference in 2008 to reinforce and improve the Marine Protected Area Network. Additional issues discussed included the potential impacts of ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide on coral reefs, connectivity between coral reefs and mangroves, and economic valuation of coral reefs. The current secretariat will transfer to the US and Mexico on 30 June 2007. Links to further information Meeting website IYOR 2008 website
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON FISH STOCKS AGREEMENT DISCUSSES RESUMPTION OF REVIEW CONFERENCE

The sixth round of Informal Consultations of States Parties to the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA or the Agreement) convened from 23-24 April 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. Participants considered implementation of the Agreement, progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the Review Conference of the Agreement, and preparatory steps for the resumption of the Review Conference. A side event on recommended criteria for reviewing the performance of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) made progress towards drafting a list of suggested criteria for RFMO review. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
LEGAL EXPERTS ADDRESS WATER SECTOR REFORMS

The International Environmental Law Research Centre (IELRC) is currently implementing a research project entitled ‘Legal Issues Related to Water Sector Restructuring: Human Rights, Environment, Agriculture and Socio-Economic Aspects,' supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation. In this context, IELRC organized a workshop on Legal Aspects of Water Sector Reforms, which took place from 20-21 April 2007, in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants from the academic, NGO and international organization sectors exchanged views on, inter alia: access to water as a human right; private sector involvement in water services provision; and changes in the legal and regulatory frameworks of water management. Link to further information Workshop website
IMO'S SUB-COMMITTEE REVIEWS REGULATION ON REDUCING AIR POLLUTION FROM SHIPS

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) met for its 11th session from 16-20 April 2007 in London, UK. The BLG made progress on the review of the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships' (MARPOL) regulations and implementation timeframes to reduce NOx emission limits for new and existing engines, and volatile organic compounds. Participants also discussed sulphur and fuel oil quality, and emission trading. Other agenda items included: the application of requirements for the carriage of biofuels and biofuel blends; draft guidelines for uniform implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments; safety for gas¬fuelled engine installations in ships; and the prevention of marine pollution during oil transfer operations between ships at sea. In light of the large number of proposals considered by the sub-committee, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos will propose that a cross government/industry scientific group evaluate their overall effects and submit the results of their study to the forthcoming fifty-sixth session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee, scheduled for July 2007. Link to further information IMO Briefing, 26 April 2007
EUROPEAN EXPERT WORKSHOP CHARTS THE WAY FORWARD FOR MARINE CONSERVATION

The German EU presidency and IUCN-the World Conservation Union organized a European expert workshop to advance the marine conservation agenda. The “Countdown 2010 for Marine Ecosystems” workshop took place in Berlin, Germany from 18-20 April, and aimed at providing an opportunity for participants to exchange information and experience on marine conservation in the EU, and elaborate recommendations on future steps for the implementation of existing commitments. The event was attended by about 100 participants, representing EU member States, UN organizations and regional conventions, who focused on the conservation of marine biodiversity in the European context and high seas biodiversity. Links to further information Workshop website IUCN Press release, 18 April 2007
WHALE SYMPOSIUM ANALYZES CONSERVATION OPTIONS

The Symposium on the State of the Conservation of Whales in the 21st Century, which convened from 12-13 April 2007, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, analyzed options for the conservation of whales, specifically exploring policies for resolving the current impasse over commercial whaling in the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The symposium, which was organized by the Varda Group on behalf of the Pew Charitable Trusts, focused on: the state of the world's whale stocks: implications for policy makers; whether the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling is outdated; why it has been so difficult to find an acceptable solution in whaling policy; and the way(s) forward. The 65 invited participants included people from within the IWC community as well as those with wider expertise in conservation, law and other relevant fields. Their recommendations will be presented during a side event at the upcoming IWC meeting scheduled to take place in Anchorage, Alaska, US, in May 2007. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNESCO WORKING GROUP ADVISES ON WATER EDUCATION

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Working Group on Water Education and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development held its First Expert Meeting from 11-13 April 2007, in Paris, France. This intersectoral body was established by the Science and Education Sectors of UNESCO. The Group made recommendations to UNESCO, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and their partners on key issues, initiatives and strategies for raising awareness and advancing water education for the community, via the mass media and other communication channels, and for the school and vocational education and training sectors. Link to further information UNESCO's Water Portal
COMMISSION ON THE LIMITS OF THE CONTINENTAL SHELF EXAMINES SUBMISSIONS

The nineteenth session of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf took place from 5 March to 13 April 2007 in New York, US, as a closed meeting. Participants engaged in a technical examination of parties' submissions from 5-23 March and 9-13 April. The Plenary of the session convened from 26 March to 5 April 2007. The Chairman of the Commission's statement, which summarizes the proceedings, will be submitted to the seventeenth Meeting of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, scheduled to take place at UN headquarters on 14 June and from 18-22 June 2007 (IISD Sources). Link to further information UN Press Release, 19 March 2007
AFDB SUPPORTS IWRM IN LIBYA

The African Development Bank (AfDB), jointly with UNEP through its Collaborating Centre on Water and Environment (UCC-Water) and the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP-Med) organized on 11-12 April in Tripoli, Libya, a Regional Workshop on “Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Libya- Current Status and the Way Forward Demonstrated by National, Regional and International Experiences.” Over 90 experts and managers from 12 countries representing more than 40 national and international organizations discussed national, regional and international IWRM experiences and the way forward. Workshop participants adopted the recommendations of the Study on the “Institutional Development for the Water Sector,” as the starting point for implementation of the National Strategy for Water Resources Management for 2000-2025. Link to further information Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean Press Release, 13 April 2007
IUCN MARINE PROTECTED AREA SUMMIT URGES RAPID ACTION TO COUNTER THREATS TO THE OCEANS

The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas organized the IUCN Marine Protected Area Summit, from 10-12 April in Washington DC, US. The meeting brought together the world's leading marine experts to develop a strategy for protecting oceans from increasing pressures such as climate change, ocean acidification and overfishing. At the close of the Summit, participants adopted a statement urging governments, business and civil society to rapidly increase marine protected areas, improve management of marine environments and take steps to improve oceans' resilience to the impacts of climate change. Links to further information IUCN Marine Protected Area Summit statement Summit website IUCN press release, 13 April 2007
TASK FORCE ON HELCOM'S BALTIC RECOVERY PLAN CONVENES

The fifth meeting of the Helsinki Commission's international ad hoc Task Force on the development of the Baltic Sea Action Plan convened from 2-3 April 2007 in Helsinki, Finland, to finalize the draft Baltic Sea Action Plan. The Plan will be submitted for adoption at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting, scheduled on 15 November in Krakow, Poland. The Plan aims to reduce pollution in the Baltic Sea and restore its good ecological status. Task force participants discussed: the Plan's structure; possible activities needed to curb eutrophication; pollution prevention involving hazardous substances; the improvement of maritime safety and oil pollution response capacity; and the halt of habitat destruction and the decline in biodiversity. Link to further information HELCOM Press release, 30 March 2007

March 2007

DOALOS PREPARES FOR UNICPOLOS-8

On 30 March 2007, the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) held a preparatory meeting for the eighth meeting of the Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (UNICPOLOS-8), scheduled to take place in June 2007 in New York, US. Participants discussed the draft provisional agenda for the meeting prepared by the Co-Chairpersons Ambassador Cristián Maquieira (Chile) and Lorraine Ridgeway (Canada), including the proposed areas of concentration for the discussion panel on “Marine genetic resources” (IISD Sources).
WORKSHOP ON MARINE LITTER CONVENES IN JAPAN

Organized by the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) and the Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC), the Second NOWPAP Workshop on Marine Litter was held in Toyama, Japan on 28-29 March 2007. The workshop was attended by over 90 participants, including representatives of the NOWPAP member States, the East Asian Seas Regional Coordinating Unit and a UNEP/FAO consultant. Participants explored options for effective countermeasures against marine litter, and contributed toward the establishment of the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter Management in the NOWPAP Region. Link to further information NOWPAP Press release, 9 April 2007
JAPAN HOLDS MARINE RESOURCE MEETING AMID THREAT TO TUNA

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted an international meeting on the sustainable use of marine resources on 27 March 2007. The meeting was attended by Japan's Fisheries Agency and the UN and took place amid warnings that global fish stocks are on the verge of collapse, including commercially valuable species such as bluefin tuna, whose decline threatens supply to the world's biggest sushi market. Link to further information Bloomberg, 27 March 2007
BINDING AGREEMENT TO COMBAT IUU FISHING UNDER WAY

At the 27th meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI), which took place in Rome, Italy, from 5-9 March 2007, over 130 States and the EU agreed to start a process leading to the adoption of a legally binding international agreement establishing control measures in ports where fish is landed, transhipped or processed in order to combat illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing. Additional consultations will be held in 2007 and 2008 to generate a draft version of the agreement, which will be presented to COFI for final approval in 2009. In the next few months, the FAO will focus on three priorities: creating an effective international instrument for port State control; setting up a register to facilitate monitoring of vessels involved in illegal fishing; and continuing the work in progress on how satellite-based monitoring systems can be deployed to control illegal fishing. In relation to the environmental impact of deep-sea fishing, COFI confirmed the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in December by agreeing on a calendar for their implementation by the FAO. Other issues discussed during the meeting included: responsible fish trade; the importance of the aquaculture sector and the need for its sustainable growth in a responsible manner; social problems adversely affecting fishing communities, such as illness and poverty; the implementation of the ecosystem approach to fisheries; and the strengthening of regional fisheries management organizations and regional fishery bodies. Link to further information FAO Press release, 12 March 2007
WORLD BANK HOLDS WATER WEEK 2007

The World Bank's Water Week 2007 took place from 27 February - 2 March 2007 at World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, US, under the theme “Water Futures: Sustainability and Growth.” This annual event brought together the Bank water community and invited external stakeholder to explore the challenges and options for good water management and improved water services. Participants focused on sanitation, health and environment, access to water, better governance, adapting to variability, and complex and innovative approaches. The Week also provided an opportunity for members of the UN-Water task force on Integrated Water Resources Management monitoring and reporting to meet with donors and partners. Link to further information World Bank's Water Week Webpage

February 2007

RAMSAR STANDING COMMITTEE MEETS

The 35th meeting of the Ramsar Standing Committee took place from 12-17 February 2007, in Gland, Switzerland, with subgroup sessions convening to discuss the tenth Conference of the Parties (COP-10), Finance, the Strategic Plan, and Management, along with plenary sessions. Participants agreed that the theme for both COP-10, which is scheduled to take place in October-November 2008 in the Republic of Korea, and 2008 World Wetlands Day will be “Healthy Wetlands, Healthy People.” Additional decisions were taken to approve the Secretariat's Work Plan for 2007, endorse the draft Fourth Joint Work Programme with the Convention on Biological Diversity, and hold the 36th meeting of the Standing Committee from 25-29 February 2008 in Switzerland. Links to further information Decisions of the Standing Committee Report of the meeting
AQUATERRA 2007, THE WORLD FORUM ON DELTA AND COASTAL DEVELOPMENT, EXAMINES WAYS OF TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE

Aquaterra is an international conference and exhibition on development in coastal and delta regions, which focuses on managing risks and creating opportunities to meet the challenges of deltaic and coastal development at all levels, from economic and financial to safety and planning issues. Aquaterra 2007 took place from 7-9 February 2007, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Prince of Orange, who was recently appointed chairman of the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, opened the meeting. The forum presentations explored a variety of positive ways of tackling the effects of climate change and concluded, inter alia, that: people are not going to move from threatened areas and ongoing development is important for a healthy economy; the costs of land reclamation are more than compensated for by the results; and solutions permitted by advances in technology such as the creation of islands in front of the coast and the development of rivers and lakes are economically viable and can be carried out in an ecologically responsible way (ENB Sources). Link to further information Aquaterra's webpage

January 2007

AFDB HOSTS THE FIRST RWSSI TRUST FUND STEERING COMMITTEE

The main objective of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) is to mobilize African governments and international donors to accelerate access to sustainable rural water supply and sanitation (RWSS) investments through the utilization of innovative approaches to services delivery. On 29 January 2007, the African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted the First RWSSI Trust Fund Steering Committee, gathering donors Denmark, France and the Netherlands, and AfDB representatives to discuss and validate the RWSSI Trust Fund Indicative Budget, strategy and operations in targeted African countries for the year 2007. The flow of RWSSI Programme's resources is not yet sufficient to meet the MDGs related to water and sanitation, and the creation of the RWSSI Trust Fund will help increase the support to the water sector. Link to further information African Development Bank Group Press release, 6 February 2007
TUNA RFMOs DISCUSS CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT MEASURES

Member States of the world's five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) met from 22-26 January 2007 in Kobe, Japan, to discuss conservation and management measures for overfished tuna. About 250 delegates gathered to address issues including: illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; fishing capacity; and cooperation and coordination amongst RFMOs. Participants recognized that the challenges commonly faced by tuna RFMOs include the establishment of effective and comprehensive stock rebuilding programs, collection of reliable data for stock assessment, restriction of fishing capacity/fishing effort, implementation of effective monitoring, control and surveillance measures, striking a balance between the needs of developed and developing States, and effective cooperation among the tuna RFMOs. The Kobe meeting concluded with the adoption by consensus of the Course of Actions for RFMOs, which describes key areas and challenges, technical work to cooperate across RFMOs to address the challenges, and follow-up actions. Conservation NGOs lamented that although participants had noted with concern that most commercially important tuna stocks in the world are fully or over-exploited, they did not agree on an action plan to help reverse the decline in these valuable species. WWF underlined that urgent concrete action is needed to reduce fishing capacity to sustainable levels, ensure legally caught supplies of tuna to markets, reduce the fisheries' bycatch of species like turtles, seabirds and sharks, and ensure that developing countries can enter tuna fisheries sustainably. At the start of the meeting, the Food and Agriculture Organization had warned that global efforts for the sustainable use of tuna stocks could face trouble unless a proper data collection system is put in place. Links to further information Report of the meeting WWF Press release, 26 January 2007 FAO Press release, 22 January 2007
SACHS HIGHLIGHTS WATER AS PRIMARY CHALLENGE FOR ASIAN NATIONS AT DELHI SUMMIT

The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2007 has concluded its examination of the natural resource dimension of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Under this theme, participants considered climate change and human well-being, energy requirements, prudent use of natural resources, technology for the poor, sustainable practices and programmes in India, Africa, and water. Keynote speaker Jeffrey Sachs identified major challenges in Asian countries, including hunger, malnutrition, non-availability of safe drinking water, and other basic needs, and said they demand low-cost solutions like availability of schools, rural health care, agricultural inputs, access to water and safe technologies. He highlighted water as the primary challenge for Asian countries, and proposed the setting up of an IPCC-like body for water. Link to further information Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2007 website
UNECE AND WHO REGIONAL OFFICE FOR EUROPE ORGANIZE FIRST MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE PROTOCOL ON WATER AND HEALTH

The first Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17-19 January 2007, and was jointly organized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. More than 140 participants from the pan-European region and from some African countries gathered for the event, including representatives of countries (Parties and non-Parties), international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. At the meeting, parties adopted an institutional structure and a roadmap to make the Protocol operational and reaffirmed their commitment to the Protocol's goal of providing access to safe water and adequate sanitation to all. A “Roundtable on the human right to water and the Protocol on Water and Health: making access to water a reality” during the meeting highlighted that the Protocol is at the forefront in the implementation of the human right to water. Among the decisions adopted during the meeting were the rules of procedure as well as decisions addressing financial arrangements, focal points, mainstreaming the work of the Protocol in the decision-making of WHO, and terms of reference of bodies established under the Meeting of the Parties. The meeting adopted a compliance procedure, elected the Compliance Committee, established a mechanism for international support for national action, and exchanged information on their progress in setting targets and target dates according to the Protocol. Delegates also set up two Task Forces on indicators and reporting, and on surveillance. Link to further information MOP-1 website
EUROPEAN FISHING COUNTRIES ADOPT CONSERVATION MEASURES

The annual meeting of the UN Food and Agriculture's (FAO) General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean convened the second week of January 2007 and concluded with the adoption of new measures aimed at conserving the region's fish stocks. The event gathered representatives from 19 countries plus the European Community and culminated with an agreement on the use of new, more selective types of netting in bottom trawls that will permit small juvenile fish that have not yet reproduced to escape capture and return to the wild to breed. Among the species that will benefit are red mullet and hake, categorized as either fully or overexploited by FAO. Additional agreements included the establishment of a common set of benchmarks for measuring fishing fleets' capacity and assessing their impacts on shared fish stocks, and new rules for tuna fishing, recently adopted by and forwarded from the International Commission on Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). Link to further information FAO News Release, 16 January 2007