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Water, Oceans and Wetlands


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December 2009

Ocean Day Promotes Focus on Oceans in Climate Change Negotiations

On the sideline of the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, the Government of Indonesia, and the European Environment Agency organized a special day to stress the central role of oceans in the Earth's life support system and to address threats faced by coastal communities, especially in developing nations and small island States. Oceans Day was held on 14 December 2009, and highlighted the direct link between climate change, ocean health and human well-being. The Day brought together 320 participants representing governments, UN agencies, NGOs, science, and industry from 40 countries to focus on the role of the oceans in climate change and the fact that close to 50% of the world's population living in coastal areas will suffer disproportionately from ocean warming, sea level rise, extreme weather events and ocean acidification. Participants addressed, inter alia: the role of the oceans in climate change phenomena; the implications of climate change for the world's oceans and coastal communities; crafting and financing mitigation and adaptation responses; and next steps for the oceans community beyond Copenhagen. Collaborators of the Day included various governments and international organizations, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Global Environment Facility, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme, and the WorldFish Center. Link to further information Oceans Day website

November 2009

EAST ASIAN SEAS CONGRESS CONCLUDES WITH AGREEMENT RECOGNIZING THE LEGAL PERSONALITY OF PEMSEA

The East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2009 convened from 23-27 November in Manila, Philippines. The event, hosted by the Philippines Government and organized by Partnerships in the Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), a regional programme supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), provided a region-wide platform for dialogue, knowledge exchange, capacity building, strategic action and cooperation for the sustainable management and development of the East Asian seas. Over 1,400 participants attended the Congress, representing governments, UN agencies, industry, academia and youth. The Congress featured several events: The International Conference on Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Development (23-26 November), the Meeting of the EAS Partnership Council (25 November) and the Ministerial Forum on Strengthening the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) (26 November). Twenty-eight thematic workshops and seminars, as well as a Youth Leaders Forum, Corporate Social Responsibility Forum and Legislators' Dialogue were held during the International Conference, examining issues ranging from ocean policy and legislation to the impacts of climate change on coastal and ocean areas. The Congress concluded with the signing of the Agreement Recognizing the Legal Personality of PEMSEA by eight East Asian nations, which transforms PEMSEA into a fully-fledged international body to work for sustainable development of the region's coastal and marine areas. Eleven Ministers and high-level delegates also signed the Manila Declaration on Strengthening the Implementation of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Adaptation in the Seas of the East Asia Region. On the final day of the event, delegates participated in field visits to ICM sites showcasing local government efforts in implementing ICM. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
FAO Governing Conference Approves IUU Treaty

The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, a new treaty that aims to close fishing ports to ships involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, has been approved by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) governing Conference. Once it enters into force, it will be the first ever legally binding international treaty focused specifically on this problem. It will also be the only treaty to enlist so-called “non-flag states” in the fight against IUU fishing, alongside flag states that are primarily responsible for the conduct of vessels flying their flags on the high seas. The Agreement will enter into force following the 25th ratification. The first eleven FAO members – Angola, Brazil, Chile, the European Community, Indonesia, Iceland, Norway, Samoa, Sierra Leone, the United States and Uruguay – signed the treaty immediately following its approval by the Conference. [Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Elimi...] [UN FAO press release, 25 November 2009]
ICCAT REDUCES TUNA ALLOWABLE CATCH

During its annual meeting, held from 9-15 November 2009, in Recife, Brazil, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) adopted new measures aimed at stabilizing Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks. ICCAT reduced the total allowable catch from 22,000 tonnes in 2009 to 13,500 for 2010. The measure was accompanied by a decrease in the fishing season by one month for purse seiners, and improved mechanisms for the evaluation of parties' control efforts. However, conservation NGOs say that such a decrease is not going to recover the species. It is recalled that the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in March 2010 in Doha, Qatar, will consider Monaco's proposal to list bluefin tuna in CITES Appendix I. Links to further information ICCAT press release, 16 November 2009 ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 27 November 2009
AFRICAN POLICY MAKERS CONSIDER WATER ISSUES

Three meetings convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 9-13 November 2009, to discuss water issues. The Second African Water Week took place from 9-11 November, and was jointly organized by the South African Government, African Ministers' Council on Water, African Development Bank, UN Environment Programme and other partners around the theme “Concretizing action to implement African commitments on water and sanitation: sprint to the finish.” The meeting concluded with the presentation of the Summary of Proceedings and Outcomes, which was forwarded to the Seventh Ordinary Session of the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW 7). The second Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water convened on 11 November, and also fed into AMCOW 7, which convened from 12-13 November, and concluded with the adoption of reports from the Council of Ministers and Executive Committee, as well as the Johannesburg Ministerial Statement. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meetings
UNECE WATER CONVENTION PROVIDES GUIDANCE ON IMPLEMENTATION AND ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE

The fifth meeting of the parties to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), held on 10-12 November 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, adopted the Guide to Implementing the Convention and Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change, among other outcomes. The Guide to Implementing the Convention provides explanations of the Convention's legal, administrative, technical and practical requirements as well as examples illustrating good practices in the UNECE region. The Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change provides step-by-step interdisciplinary methodology on how to develop and implement an adaptation strategy in a transboundary context. UNECE Water Convention parties decided to foster implementation of the Guidance through a programme of pilot projects and the establishment of a platform for exchanging experience on cooperation on adaptation. The meeting also gave the Convention's Legal Board the mandate to explore options for a mechanism to support implementation and compliance. A proposal for such a mechanism will be considered by the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties in 2012. In addition, the Meeting's first ever high-level segment focused on Central Asia, a priority area of work for the Convention. Panelists stressed the contribution of various projects and initiatives such as the EU Strategy for Central Asia, including the Berlin Water Process, and the Wider Europe Initiative of Finland, as well the need to further coordination. The Meeting of the Parties endorsed the Safety guidelines and good practices for tailing management facilities, which seek to help Governments to provide leadership and create administrative frameworks for the safer development, operation and decommissioning of tailing management facilities. Participants also agreed on a road map to develop the Second Assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters in UNECE region, to be issued at the Seventh Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (Astana, Kazakhstan, 2011), and on the workplan for 2010-2012. Link to further information Meeting website
MEETINGS ADDRESS MEDITERRANEAN WATER ISSUES

A number of meetings have addressed issues related to the Mediterranean in the past month. The Joint Egyptian-Dutch Water Conference titled “Towards the new Long Term Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean” convened in Cairo, Egypt, from 2-3 November 2009. Participants developed a declaration urging negotiators for the UNFCCC COP-15 to recognize that adapting to increasing climate variability and change through better water management and water services requires significant additional efforts within water management and the areas of spatial planning and energy management. The participants expressed their commitment to strengthen institutional cooperation at all levels among the climate and water communities, and commit themselves to develop appropriate mechanism and institutional arrangements in order to work more collectively to address the immense development challenges ahead. Members of the Water Expert Group (WEG) of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), which is in charge of the preparation of the Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean (SWM), held their second meeting in Cairo, Egypt, on 4 November 2009, to review the first proposals of the Technical Drafting Group defined at their first meeting, which convened in Athens in September 2009. They adopted a timetable in order to have the SWM ready for the UfM Ministerial Conference on water planned on 12-14 April 2010, in Barcelona. Civil Society will be able to react on the draft text of the SWM that will be available on www.ufm-water.net at the end of February 2010. The WEG is expected to hold its next meeting in February 2010. The 16th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention convened from 3-5 November 2009, in Marrakesh, Morocco, during which UNEP/MAP and its Regional Activity Centres (RACs) presented the first State of the Environment and Development (SOED) report covering the Mediterranean region. The State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean 2009 is a pilot exercise, based on the currently available sources of information and tackling key environmental issues for the Mediterranean region, such as climate change impacts in the Mediterranean region, water scarcity, threats to biodiversity and pollution. The report covers the 21 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The preparation of the SOED 2009 was lead by the Plan Bleu, under the coordination of MAP Secretariat, and involved the joint effort of all MAP regional activities centres. Links to further information Towards the new Long Term Strategy for Water in the Mediterr... Union for the Mediterranean – Water website Sixteenth Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Mediterr...

October 2009

GEF'S FIFTH INTERNATIONAL WATERS CONFERENCE DISCUSSES MEASURES TO COPE WITH CLIMATIC VARIABILITY

The Fifth GEF Biennial International Waters Conference, co-hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Australia, gathered over 300 of the world's leading water specialists to identify practical measures for coping with climatic variability. The Conference, held from 24-29 October 2009, at the Australian Great Barrier Reef, featured new research results on protecting coral reefs, adapting to the accelerated warming of coastal oceans, and adjusting to the movement of fisheries away from warming, polluted waters. During the event, a recent global assessment financed by the GEF was presented showing that Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) are warming much more rapidly than expected and are over-fished and over-fertilized. The study found that 61 of the world's 64 large marine ecosystems show a significant increase in sea surface temperatures in the last 25 years, contributing to decreasing fisheries catches in some areas and increasing catches in others. The Conference also cautioned that the impacts of climate change on land and water resources increases the relevance of groundwater as the world's largest store of freshwater, and the primary source of drinking water for nearly half the world's population. As most aquifers are transnational, the importance of managing them as shared transboundary resources was also emphasized. Links to further information GEF press release, 29 October 2009 GEF press release, 26 October 2009 GEF press release, 19 October 2009
ASEAN CONVENES WETLAND MANAGEMENT TRAINING COURSE

The Wetland Management Training Course, organized by the Singapore National Parks Board's Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), with funding from the European Union through the Association of South-East Asian Nations Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Singaporean Government, convened from 19-27 October 2009, in Singapore. Participants from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam attended, and consisted of wetland policy makers, managers and staff from wetland sites, including Ramsar sites. Ccourse contents included: the Ramsar Convention, wetlands and water; sustainable use of wetlands, wetland habitat and water management, wetland management planning; wetland species identification, study and monitoring; the control of pests and invasive species; and wetland education and public awareness. Link to further information Ramsar press release, 2 November 2009
RAMSAR AND UN-HABITAT DISCUSS COLLABORATION ON URBAN WETLANDS

The Ramsar Secretariat and UN-Habitat discussed joint efforts on sustainable management of urban and peri-urban wetlands and the production of comprehensive guidance for managing urban wetlands, taking into account the ecosystem approach and issues such as climate change, ecosystem services, food production, human health and livelihoods. This collaboration will assist in accomplishing task 2.7 of the Ramsar's Scientific and Technical Review Panel Work Plan, which will support parties in the implementation of resolution X.27 on wetlands and urbanization. Link to further information Ramsar website
UNESCO GENERAL CONFERENCE CONVENES

The 35th session of UNESCO's General Conference opened at the organization's headquarters in Paris, France, on 6 October, and will convene until 23 October. The Conference will determine the Programme and Budget of UNESCO for 2010-2011 and elect a Director-General for the Organization. The session will also feature a Ministerial Forum on strategies to overcome the economic crisis and two ministerial roundtables, one on education another on responsible ocean governance. Link to further information UNESCO website

September 2009

ASCOBANS MOP ADOPTS ACTION PLANS FOR HARBOR PORPOISES IN THE NORTH AND BALTIC SEAS

The sixth Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS), an agreement under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), was held from 16-18 September 2009, in Bonn, Germany. Parties agreed on a number of measures to protect and enhance populations of small whales and dolphins, including a new version of the Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbor Porpoises (Jastarnia Plan) aiming at restoring the population to healthy levels by reducing bycatch, supporting research and public awareness and establishing a network of marine protected areas. They also adopted a new Conservation Plan for the Harbor Porpoise in the North Sea, including actions related to management, monitoring, mitigation of threats and research. In addition, participants agreed on guidelines to address the adverse effects of underwater noise on marine mammals during offshore construction activities for renewable energy production. Link to further information ASCOBANS press release, 18 September 2009
WATER EXPERTS GROUP CONVENES

The First Meeting of the Water Experts Group of the Union for the Mediterranean convened from 7-8 September 2009, in Athens, Greece. The Water Experts Group is intended to implement the provisions included in the Declaration of the Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water held at the Dead Sea, Jordan, in December 2008, particularly regarding the “Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean.” The water experts group agreed to elaborate the draft SWM, which should be developed as a strategy for action, with an implementation mechanism at regional and national level. Participants agreed that the strategy/action plan will build on existing activities and will propose a timetable to be reviewed regularly with objectives and indicators (taking into account local priorities). The WEG also welcomed the proposal to include in the SWM an activity focusing on strengthening the coordination of existing Euro-Mediterranean and regional initiatives and networks on information and expertise. Link to further information EMWIS website
EXPERT PANEL DISCUSSES OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

The Expert Panel on Ocean Acidification convened at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 3 September 2009. The event was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and the UN Foundation. The meeting aimed to increase awareness and highlight options to avoid adverse impacts of ocean acidification on marine life and ecosystems by bringing together key stakeholders. The panel included senior officials and experts, and the panel's presentations were followed by an interactive discussion focused on potential international cooperation, possible policies and actions by the international community, and steps to raise public awareness. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
GPA REGIONAL TRAINING WORKSHOP CONVENES IN ECUADOR

A regional training workshop to enhance national capacities to mainstream coastal and marine environmental management issues into the national planning and budgetary processes convened in Guayaquil, Ecuador, from 1-3 September 2009. The workshop was organized by UNEP's Coordination Office for the GPA, in cooperation with the UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Secretariat of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS. The workshop was attended by 19 senior government officials of the Ministries of Environment, Maritime Authority, Aquatic Resources and Finance from five member states of the CPPS (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru), as well nongovernmental representatives. At the workshop each country developed a national mainstreaming strategy including identification of the key institution to take the lead in mainstreaming coastal and marine issues, outlining the roles and responsibilities of other participating institutions and sectors including the accountability framework. Link to further information GPA website news item, September 2009
FAO-ORGANIZED NEGOTIATIONS ON TREATY ON ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED FISHING FINALIZED

More than 90 countries have agreed to a treaty to address “pirate” fishing. The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The first ever global pact on this subject, which intends to block illicit fish catches from entering international markets, and focuses on ending such violations as unlicensed fishing, using illegal gear, disregarding fishing seasons, catching prohibited or undersized species, and fishing in closed areas. Under the treaty, foreign fishing boats will be required to request permission to dock from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board. The treaty also mandates regular inspections and outlines a set of standards that will be used during those inspections, including reviews of ship papers, surveys of fishing gear, examining catches and checking a ship's records. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized the negotiations leading to the agreement on the treaty, and the FAO's Director-General will act as legal depository for countries' ratifications. The text will be reviewed by FAO's Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its next meeting (23-25 September 2009), following which it will be considered during FAO's Council meeting in September and the FAO Conference in November for final review and formal adoption. Link to further information FAO news release, 1 September 2009

August 2009

WORLD WATER WEEK EXPERTS CALL FOR COPENHAGEN DEAL

The 2009 World Water Week conference convened from 16-22 August 2009, in Stockholm, Sweden. At the conference, political leaders and experts called for water to be a key part of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. Conference participants agreed that “water is a key medium through which climate change impacts will be felt and it is therefore central to planning and adaptation surrounding climate change.” Participants also emphasized the importance of more research into the vulnerability of water resources to climate change and additional funding to support the development of adaptive strategies for vulnerable groups and ecosystems. The message from World Water Week reinforces the earlier message sent to world leaders from the World Water Forum meeting in March 2009. Links to further information World Water Week website World Business Council on Sustainable Development press rele..., 27 August 2009
UN-WATER PLANS FOURTH REPORT

The 11th meeting of UN-Water convened in Stockholm, Sweden, from 15-16 August 2009. At the meeting, participants discussed the recent launch, distribution and reception of the third edition of the UN World Water Development Report as well as plans for the preparation of the fourth Report. It was agreed that the fourth Report will focus on “Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk” and will be launched in March 2012 on the occasion of the sixth World Water Forum, to be held in Marseilles, France. Link to further information UNESCO Water Programme website

July 2009

IMO CIRCULATES INTERIM GHG REDUCTION MEASURES

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held its 59th session from 13-17 July 2009, in London, UK, and agreed to circulate interim voluntary measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. The MEPC also issued a work plan of market-based instruments to offset growing emissions in other sectors and to serve as an incentive for the industry to invest in more fuel-efficient technologies. The measures include: interim guidelines on the method of calculation, and voluntary verification, of the Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships; guidance on the development of a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan, for new and existing ships, that incorporates best practices for the fuel efficient operation of ships; and guidelines for voluntary use of the Ship Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator, for new and existing ships, that enables operators to measure the fuel efficiency of a ship. It is estimated that, if unaddressed, GHG emissions from international shipping may increase between 150 and 250% by 2050. The outcome of the MEPC on GHG emissions from ships will be reported to the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009. Link to further information IMO press release, 20 July 2009
UNESCO HOLDS MEETING ON SANITATION AND THE RIGHT TO WATER

On 7-8 July 2009, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), through its “From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential” (PCCP) associated programme, in cooperation with UNESCO's Social and Human Sciences sector and the UNESCO Centre of the Basque Country, hosted a meeting of 13 external experts and eight organizers to discuss the human right to water and challenges related to access to safe sanitation. The main objective of the meeting, which took place in Paris, France, was to elaborate upon recommendations concerning the fulfillment of this right, which will contribute to each of the participating institutions' ongoing work in this area. To this end, participants discussed the content of the human right to water, strategies and indicators for fulfillment, and “good practices.” In addition, the outputs of the meeting will contribute to a working document discussing the human right to water that will serve the Member States of UNESCO and will be distributed during its 35th Session of the General Conference, to be held from 6-23 October 2009, in Paris, France. Link to further information Meeting website
SECOND JOINT MEETING OF TUNA RFMOs REVIEWS PROGRESS OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS

The second joint meeting of the five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) took place in San Sebastian, Spain, from 29 June-3 July 2009. The meeting, which follows on from the first such event held in Kobe, Japan, in 2007, brought together representatives from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as from member States and non-member States of: the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas; the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission; the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission; and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. The meeting was hosted by the EU and included two workshops on the review of the actions agreed in Kobe and on reducing overcapacity in the global tuna fleet. The event concluded with the adoption of a new plan of action for the next two years. Conservation NGOs expressed disappointment with what they labeled as limited progress achieved during the meeting. Links to further information EU press release, 29 June 2009 Meeting website Greenpeace press release, 3 July 2009

June 2009

UNESCO'S WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE INSCRIBES NEW MARINE SITES TO ITS LISTS

The 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee took place from 22-30 June 2009, in Seville, Spain, to review the state of conservation of properties inscribed on the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage List and nominations for new inscriptions of cultural and natural sites on the List. During the meeting, the Committee decided to inscribe two marine sites on the World Heritage List: the Wadden Sea as a transboundary property for Germany and the Netherlands; and the Philippines' Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. The Committee also decided to inscribe Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Links to further information UNESCO press release on the World Heritage List, 26 June 2009 UNESCO press release on the Danger List, 26 June 2009
IWC'S 61ST ANNUAL MEETING DISCUSSES THE FUTURE OF THE COMMISSION

The International Whaling Commission's (IWC) 61st annual meeting took place from 22-26 June 2009, in Madeira, Portugal, and brought together over 70 members of the Commission. The meeting, which was chaired by William Hogarth, Chair of the IWC, examined, inter alia: a report on the discussions of the Small Working Group on the Future of IWC; the report of the Scientific Committee that reported on its work related to the status of a number of large whale populations; and the report of the sub-committee on aboriginal subsistence whaling. The Commission also discussed sanctuaries, environmental and health issues, and cooperation with other international organizations, and announced that it has been granted interim observer status at the International Maritime Organization. Links to further information Meeting website IWC press release, 26 June 2009
STATES PARTIES TO UNCLOS EXAMINE WORKLOAD OF CLCS

The States parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) held their 19th meeting from 22-26 June 2009, in New York, US. The meeting focused on budgetary and administrative questions, inter alia, on: the workload facing the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) as it continues to examine submissions by coastal States for the delineation of the continental shelf; the allocation of seats on the Commission and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; and budgetary matters of the Tribunal, including adjustment of the remuneration of members of the Tribunal. Links to further information UN press release, 19 June 2009 UN press release, 25 June 2009
ICP REVIEWS ITS ACHIEVEMENTS AND SHORTCOMINGS

The tenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (ICP10 or Consultative Process), which took place from 17-19 June 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, brought together over 350 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions. During the meeting, plenary sessions addressed: the implementation of the outcomes of the Consultative Process, including a review of its achievements and shortcomings in its first nine years; issues that could benefit from attention in the future work of the General Assembly on oceans and the law of the sea; and consideration of the outcome of the meeting. The Secretary-General's report on “Oceans and the law of the sea” (A/64/66) provided the basis for discussion. The meeting's outcome consists of a report drafted by Co-Chairs Amb. Paul Badji (Senegal) and Amb. Don MacKay (New Zealand), which contains a summary of the plenary and panel discussions on the ICP's: mandate, objective and role; outcomes and their implementation; format and methods of work; and issues that could benefit from future attention. The summary, which was adopted with minor amendments, will be forwarded to the General Assembly for consideration at its 64th session under the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea.” Link to further information IISD RS coverage

May 2009

UNESCO MAN AND THE BIOSPHERE COUNCIL DESIGNATES NEW RESERVES

Meeting from 25-29 May 2009, in Jeju, Republic of Korea, the 21st session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme decided to add 22 new sites from 17 countries to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now counts 553 sites in 107 countries. The new sites include the first Biosphere Reserves in two countries, Malaysia and Syria, and a sacred site in North Korea. Link to further information UNESCO release, 26 May 2009
INTERNATIONAL MARINE CONSERVATION CONGRESS HIGHLIGHTS ROLE OF OCEANS IN FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE

The International Marine Conservation Congress took place in Washington DC, US, from 20-24 May 2009. This interdisciplinary meeting brought together natural and social scientists, managers, policy makers and the public, and illustrated the role that healthy marine ecosystems can play in fighting climate change. Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head of IUCN's Global Marine Programme, called on governments to recognize the potential within the oceans to reduce carbon emissions and include marine issues on the agenda of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. Other themes addressed during the Congress included: the land-sea interface; ecosystem-based management; and poverty and globalization. Link to further information Conference website
UNECE CO-ORGANIZES WORKSHOP ON INTEGRATED TRANSBOUNDARY WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat, with the support of the Global Water Partnership Mediterranean and the International Sava River Basin Commission, co-organized an International Workshop on Integrated Transboundary Water Resources Management in South Eastern Europe (SEE) Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 18-20 May 2009. Opening the workshop, Hido Biscevic, RCC Secretary General, underlined that promoting cooperation on ecologically sound management of transboundary waters and their reasonable and equitable use “is the way to avoid conflicts and promote development.” He stressed the vulnerability of the SEE region to climate change, noting the increased frequency and severity of droughts, floods and other extreme weather conditions. During the workshop, participants were presented with several project ideas and identified the most urgent actions to prevent, control and reduce negative transboundary impacts on human health, safety, nature and socioeconomic conditions. Link to further information UNECE press release, 20 May 2009
World Ocean Conference Addresses Management of Marine Resources in the Context of Climate Change

Oceans experts from around the world convened in Manado, Indonesia, from 11-15 May 2009, for the World Ocean Conference (WOC2009) and Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Summit. The event, hosted by the Government of Indonesia, aimed to increase cooperation between countries on managing marine resources in the context of climate change as well as to increase understanding of the role of oceans in regulating global climate. WOC2009 brought together ministers, high-level government officials and the Heads of several multilateral and non-governmental organizations. Participants engaged in discussions on: ocean observations and analysis; the impacts of climate change on coastal communities; preparedness and improving resilience of coastal communities to adapt to climate change; climate change mitigation; adaptation measures and security concerns; financing adaptation; and the future of oceans and the climate change agenda. Following closed negotiations held throughout the week, delegates adopted the Manado Ocean Declaration by acclamation. On the event's last day, the six countries participating in the CTI, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and East Timor, met to confirm their commitment to the Initiative through a Leaders' Declaration and adopted the CTI Action Plan. [IISD RS Coverage] [Conference website]
IMO ADOPTS SHIP RECYCLING CONVENTION

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships during the International Conference on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which took place from 11-15 May 2009, in Hong Kong, China. The Convention aims to ensure that ship recycling is carried out in a way that does not pose unnecessary risks to human health and safety and the environment. It was developed over the past three years, with input from IMO member States and relevant industry organizations and in cooperation with the International Labour Organization and the parties to the Basel Convention. Link to further information IMO press release, 18 May 2009
RAMSAR SC40 CONCLUDES

The Ramsar Standing Committee (SC) held its 40th meeting in Gland, Switzerland, from 11-15 May 2009. The meeting was the first of the Committee membership newly elected by the tenth Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP10) in Changwon, Korea, in November 2008. Subsidiary committees met over the first two days to prepare the ground for the plenary sessions that continued until the end of the week. Participants also took a study tour of a Ramsar site in the Geneva area. The Ramsar Secretariat has released the report of the SC40 and the Scientific and Technical Review Panel work plan for 2009-2012 that was adopted by SC40. Links to further information Report of the SC40 Scientific and Technical Review Panel work plan for 2009-201...

April 2009

IMO, ICAO AND UNFCCC HOLD CLIMATE MEETING

The heads of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) have held a meeting in preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. IMO's Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, Yvo de Boer of the UNFCCC, and ICAO's Kobeh González met in London, UK, on 30 April 2009. The three leaders discussed potential hurdles to be crossed in the process leading up to COP15. Mitropoulos recommended that parties to the UNFCCC continue to entrust IMO with the development and enactment of a global regulatory regime to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. Kobeh emphasized that a globally-harmonized framework is essential for tackling emissions from international aviation due to their global nature. He added that a Group on International Aviation and Climate Change was created and mandated by the ICAO Assembly in 2007 to pursue this global framework through an ICAO Programme of Action on International Aviation and Climate Change. He also indicated that the ICAO Council has scheduled a High-level Meeting on International Aviation and Climate Change in October 2009 to review the Programme of Action and the recommendations to parties in Copenhagen. De Boer underlined the potential contribution of the two sectors in achieving the long-term objectives of the UNFCCC and stressed the need for the Copenhagen agreement to constitute a solid foundation for the work of the IMO and the ICAO to address emissions from bunker fuels. Link to further information IMO press release, 8 May 2009
FAO HOLDS ROUNDTABLE ON ECOLABELLING AND CERTIFICATION IN THE FISHERIES SECTOR

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Government of the Netherlands co-organized a Roundtable on Ecolabelling and Certification in the Fisheries Sector in The Hague, from 22-23 April 2009. The Roundtable brought together representatives from organizations involved in fisheries certification, the fisheries value chain elements and NGOs, and aimed to inform participants about how the industry adapts to the increasing pressures for standards, to understand stakeholder expectations with respect to the role of public authorities and private standards in the field of standards and the role and place of standards in the market for fish and fish products. Links to further information Round table introduction Round table programme
UNECE SEMINAR EXPLORES HOW TO ENHANCE WATER MANAGEMENT IN CENTRAL ASIA

The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) organized a seminar from 19-21 April 2009, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to examine existing UN conventions in the area of water and environment, including the UN Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, and review best practices in negotiating cooperative transboundary water agreements. The event brought together experts and representatives from Central Asian nations and aimed to provide them with practical knowledge in finding a long-term sustainable negotiated solution to the problems with water and associated resource management issues in the region. Link to further information UN press release, 20 April 2009
DIALOGUE ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION FOR LAND AND WATER MANAGEMENT ADOPTS NAIROBI STATEMENT

The concluding Dialogue on Climate Change Adaptation for Land and Water Management was held at UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 16-17 April 2009. The event was co-hosted by UNEP and the Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, Ulla Tørnæs. The Dialogue addressed the need to: tackle existing problems in land and water management to build resilience to climate change; strengthen institutions for land and water management; and increase financing targeted towards the most vulnerable people. This event consisted of an introduction to the dialogue process, reports from the regional workshops in Hanoi, Viet Nam, and Bamako, Mali, and discussion of the draft Nairobi Statement, which seeks to provide input to the negotiations leading up to the fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP15), as well as tangible guidance to stakeholders involved in developing and implementing strategies for adaptation in land and water resources management beyond COP15. Invited ministers and representatives of international and regional institutions also made presentations. Participants adopted the Nairobi Statement consisting of six guiding principles on sustainable development, resilience, governance, information, economics and financing and partnerships in the context of climate change adaptation in land and water management. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
COMMISSION ON LIMITS OF CONTINENTAL SHELF CONCLUDES 23rd SESSION

The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (the Commission) held its 23rd session at UN Headquarters, in New York, US, from 2 March-9 April 2009. During the session, the Commission carried out work in plenary meetings and proceeded with the technical examination of submissions made by Indonesia, Japan, and jointly by Mauritius and Seychelles, on the limits of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, in accordance with article 76 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Commission also heard an update on the activities of the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea related to training courses for delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles and for the preparation of a submission to the Commission, as well as an update regarding the status of relevant trust funds. The Commission decided that it would resume its 23rd session from 3-7 August 2009, and will hold its 24th session from 10 August-11 September 2009. Link to further information UN press release, 9 April 2009
IMO LEGAL COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT PROTOCOL TO CONVENTION ON CARRIAGE OF HAZARDOUS AND NOXIOUS SUBSTANCES BY SEA

The Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held its 95th session in London, UK, from 30 March-3 April 2009, and approved a draft Protocol to the 1996 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea. The draft Protocol is designed to address practical problems that have prevented many States from ratifying the original Convention. The Convention seeks to establish a two-tier system for compensation to be paid in the event of accidents at sea, in this case involving hazardous and noxious substances, such as chemicals. One of the main obstacles that has discouraged ratification of the Convention is the requirement for States to report the quantities of Hazardous and Noxious Substances received to IMO, considering the range and diversity of hazardous and noxious substances that will be governed by the Convention. The IMO Legal Committee has requested the IMO Council, which meets in June 2009, to approve the holding of a diplomatic conference as early as possible during 2010 to consider the draft Protocol, with a view to formally adopting it. Link to further information IMO press release, 9 April 2009
EU-ORGANIZED MEETING CONSIDERS MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE NORTH EAST ATLANTIC

At the initiative of the EU, Heads of delegation of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) gathered in London, UK, from 31 March - 1 April 2009, to consider NEAFC measures to implement the UN General Assembly resolution calling for vulnerable marine ecosystems to be closed for bottom-gear fishing activities. The meeting was attended by the EU, Iceland, Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, Norway and the Russian Federation. The parties agreed to a proposal by Norway to close some areas to bottom-gear fishing activities, but the group did not accept a more ambitious EU proposal. Links to further information European Commission press release, 25 March 2009 EU press release, 3 April 2009

March 2009

FISHERIES COMMISSION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN MAKES PROGRESS TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) held its 33rd session in Tunis, Tunisia, from 23-27 March 2009. Delegates adopted a number of recommendations towards sustainable fisheries management and agreed to set up a GFCM fishing fleet register. Delegates also agreed on the use of at least 40 mm square mesh in trawl fisheries, to avoid accidental catches of small fish and other marine organisms. Links to further information Meeting website EU press release, 3 April 2009
5TH WORLD WATER FORUM DISCUSSES BRIDGING DIVIDES FOR WATER

The 5th World Water Forum, the largest international event on freshwater, convened in Istanbul, Turkey, from 16-22 March 2009. The 5th Forum's main theme, “Bridging Divides for Water,” was addressed through six framework themes: global change and risk management; advancing human development and the Millennium Development Goals; managing and protecting water resources; governance and management; finance; and education, knowledge and capacity development. The Forum theme was explored through more than 100 thematic sessions, seven regional sessions, and a series of political processes involving local authorities, parliamentarians, ministers and Heads of State. A Water Expo, Water Fair, Children's Forum, Youth Forum and meetings of various stakeholder groups, including women, were also held. Over 25,000 participants attended, representing governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, business and industry, indigenous groups, youth and the media. An additional 8,000 participants attended the Forum's Water Expo. The Forum's main outputs include a Ministerial Declaration and the Istanbul Water Consensus, agreed to by local authorities. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
EIGHTH ROUND OF INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF FISH STOCKS AGREEMENT CONTINUE DIALOGUE

The Eighth round of Informal Consultations of States parties to the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA, or the Agreement) was held from 16-19 March 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The meeting brought together approximately 200 participants, who focused on the meeting's theme “Continuing Dialogue.” During the session, participants also undertook initial preparations for the resumption of the Review Conference in 2010, and prepared a timeline and programme of work for consideration by the 64th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The outcome of the Continuing Dialogue was a summary report prepared by the Dialogue's Moderator that captures the debates on the subtopics on promotion of wider participation in the Agreement, capacity building, compatibility of conservation and management measures, enforcement and port State measures, and the relationship between the UNFSA and UNCLOS and other international instruments. Both outcomes will be appended to the Chair's Summary for submission to the 64th session of the UNGA. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
SIX COUNTRIES WORK ON SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR CORAL TRIANGLE

On 13 March 2009, environment and fisheries ministers from six Asia Pacific countries considered a draft Regional Action Plan for the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on coral reefs, fisheries and food security, which establish a framework to tackle coastal and marine resource degradation in the Coral Triangle ecosystem. Ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste are working to ensure the sustainable management of the Coral Triangle, a region abundant in marine life and biodiversity holding more than 75% of the known corals and over 3,000 species of fish. So far, the Coral Triangle Initiative, supported by the Global Environment Facility and the Asian Development Bank has generated commitments or pledges of around US$400 million. The Plan is expected to be endorsed by heads of state at a CTI Leaders Summit in Manado, Indonesia, in May 2009. A World Ocean Conference will take place prior to the CTI Summit. Link to further information ADB press release, 13 March 2009
UNITAR ORGANIZES WORKSHOP ON WATER GOVERNANCE

The UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) organized, jointly with the municipality of Plock, CIFAL Plock and Veolia, a workshop on “Improving water governance for better water services delivery: Learning and sharing experiences” for Central and Eastern European countries. The event took place in Plock, Poland, from 10-12 March 2009 and was attended by 26 participants, consisting of local technical staff, representatives of local authorities, representatives of Ministries, heads of water department, members of the private sector and civil society representing six countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. Participants heard presentations on water governance best practices and evaluated possibilities of replicability; and elaborated for their city a concrete action plan with measures to be taken to improve local water governance. Link to further information UNITAR press release, 19 March 2009
IWC INTERSESSIONAL MEETING CONCLUDES WITH CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM

The Intersessional Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) took place at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 9-11 March 2009. The meeting was attended by over half of the Commission's 84 members, representatives of four intergovernmental organizations, as well as of NGOs and civil society. Participants considered the results of the initial deliberations of the Small Working Group (SWG) on the Future of the IWC, which was established at the IWC's Annual Meeting in 2008 to “assist the Commission to arrive at a consensus solution to the main issues it faces, to enable it to best fulfill its role with respect to the conservation of whale stocks and the management of whaling.” The final report of the SWG will be available by 18 May 2009. At the close of the meeting, IWC Chair Bill Hogarth noted that the discussions had been helpful, and underlined that there were “clear expressions of view that efforts to arrive at a package of proposals must continue.” However, he added that much work remains to be done as members differ as to precisely how to accomplish the Commission's goal. Links to further information Meeting website IWC press release, 11 March 2009
SPECIAL MEETING OF STATES PARTIES TO UNCLOS ELECTS ITLOS JUDGE

A Special Meeting of States parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was held at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 6 March 2009, and elected Jin-Hyun Paik (Republic of Korea) as a new member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). The election took place to fill the vacancy created by the death of Judge Choon-Ho Park (Republic of Korea), and Paik will hold office for the remainder of his predecessor's nine-year term, which expires on 30 September 2014. Link to further information ITLOS press release, 6 March 2009
FAO FISHERIES COMMISSION ADOPTS GUIDELINES TO REDUCE ACCIDENTAL DEATHS OF SEABIRDS

At the 28th session of its Committee on Fisheries, which convened in Rome, Italy, from 2-6 March 2009, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) adopted a set of best practice guidelines to reduce the accidental deaths of seabirds, including the world's 18 species of threatened albatross, in fisheries. The new guidelines extend the scope of the FAO's seabird action plan from longline fisheries to include trawling gear and gill-nets. Link to further information FAO COFI28 website RSPB press release, 3 March 2009

February 2009

GROUP OF 77 WATER FORUM ADOPTS MUSCAT DECLARATION ON WATER

The First Ministerial Forum on Water of the Group of 77 met in Muscat, Oman, from 23-25 February 2009, and sought to facilitate the exchange of scientific and technical expertise among member counties to disseminate information on water resources, improve and strengthen communication among the group, and establish knowledge transfer mechanisms to governments and decision makers on the local and international levels. The Forum also sought to develop the fields of desalination, sanitation and others that could support water resources. Delegations from 130 member States agreed on 21 conclusions and recommendations that will be forwarded to the fifth World Water Forum, which is scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, in March 2009. The Forum concluded with the adoption of the Muscat Declaration on Water, which highlights the vital importance of water as a source of life, and recognizes the human right to clean water and hygienic sanitation as a key goal. The declaration also stresses the main challenges to securing this right, namely the lack of capacity, finance and political will to implement the decisions and other actions recommended in previous fora. Links to further information Forum website The Declaration
EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON PEACE WITH WATER ELABORATES MEMORANDUM FOR A WORLD WATER PROTOCOL

The “Peace With Water” conference took place at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, from 12-13 February 2009, and was organized by the World Political Forum, based on a proposal by the European Research Institute on Water Policy. Participants discussed and elaborated a Memorandum for a World Water Protocol, based on the prevention of conflicts, the promotion of the right to water for all and the safeguard of the world water heritage for a responsible and effective management of water as a common good. The Memorandum will be forwarded to the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will take place in December 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Links to further information Conference Brochure EurActiv Press Release, 13 February 2009
PEW COMMISSION ON WHALE CONSERVATION HOLDS THIRD MEETING

The Pew Commission on Whale Conservation in the 21st Century met from 9-10 February 2009, in Lisbon, Portugal, and was the third major meeting of the Pew Whale Conservation Project. The Pew Whales Commission was established to advance possible solutions that will enhance whale conservation and help the International Whaling Commission (IWC) resolve some of the complex issues on its agenda. The Lisbon meeting brought together 13 Pew Whales Commission members and around 25 observers, who evaluated diplomatic remedies and areas of agreement and disagreement relating to the IWC and its constituent instrument, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). Despite some strongly-held positions on both sides of the debate, consensus was reached on a number of important issues, including: that the best way forward would be not to draft an entirely new convention, but rather to develop a protocol to the current Convention that modernizes both the IWC and the ICRW; and the need for high-level participation in the IWC's Annual Meetings to help move the issue forward. Areas of disagreement included: the possibility of officially permitting small-type coastal whaling in Japan; ceasing all whaling operations in the Southern Ocean; and bringing scientific whaling under the authority of the IWC Scientific Committee, rather than that of individual States. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
HIGH-LEVEL SYMPOSIUM ON WATER SECURITY CALLS FOR URGENT ACTION TO SOLVE THE CONFLICT BETWEEN WATER SUPPLY AND DEMAND

The High-Level Symposium on Water Security took place from 4-6 February 2009, at UN headquarters in New York, US. Organized by the World Water Organization, the event gathered experts from the UN Secretariat and member States, as well as from the corporate, medical, scientific, academic, and NGO communities. The symposium explored the worldwide water security issue and sought to identify specific vulnerabilities and threats, and offered practical solutions for protection and preservation of water infrastructure. Speaking at the event, UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro warned that two-thirds of the world's population will face a lack of water in less than 20 years, if current trends in climate change, population growth, rural to urban migration and consumption continue. Link to further information UN Press release, 5 February 2009
WORLD WETLANDS DAY 2009 CELEBRATED

World Wetlands Day (WWD) was celebrated on 2 February 2009 under the theme “Upstream – Downstream: Wetlands connect us all,” with a focus on river basin management. The Day marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels have taken advantage of the opportunity to highlight the importance of the world's wetlands to the planet's health. Link to further information Ramsar's World Wetlands Day website

January 2009

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP ASSESSES EFFECTIVENESS OF NATIONAL POLICIES ON IRRIGATION WATER MANAGEMENT

The Capacity Development Workshop on Improving Agricultural Productivity, Water Use Efficiency and Strengthening Rural Livelihoods, took place from 28-30 January 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA/DSD) in collaboration with the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and brought together representatives from governments, local authorities, UN Agencies, and academia to share lessons learned and best practices in combating rural poverty. Specifically, the workshop provided an assessment of the effectiveness of existing national policies and strategies on rural development, irrigation water management and agriculture development in reducing rural poverty, and identified the necessary interventions and adjustments in the existing policies and strategies to promote sustainable agriculture, including irrigation management and rural development. The outcomes of the workshop will serve as inputs to the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of 17th session of the CSD in 2009. Link to further information Workshop website
FAO CONSULTATIONS MAKE PROGRESS ON DRAFT TREATY TO COMBAT IUU FISHING

The Technical Consultation to draft a legally-binding instrument on port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing took place at UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 26-30 January 2009. The meeting, which was chaired by Fabio Hazim (Brazil), brought together representatives from over 60 States and put in place the general outlines for an international agreement or treaty on “port State measures” that would deny vessels engaged in IUU fishing access to fishing ports. According to the draft elements of the treaty, fishing vessels that wish to land will be required to request permission from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board, thereby providing authorities an opportunity to assess and detect possible illegalities prior to docking. In addition, information-sharing networks will enable countries to deny port access to any vessel previously reported as involved in IUU fishing by other agreement participants or by regional fisheries management organizations. Final details of the agreement will be laid out in a future round of talks, whose date has yet to be determined. Link to further information FAO press release, 3 February 2009
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR MAKING WATER SECURITY A KEY TOPIC FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN 2009

At an event entitled “Managing our Future Water Needs,” held on 29 January 2009, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UN Secretary-General stressed the inter-relation among the economic, food and energy crises, climate change, and the water crisis. He noted that the global public is increasingly aware of the impact of climate change on water scarcity, but underlined that technology can mitigate water stress through sea-water desalinization, rainfall harvesting, the deployment of new and simple methods of irrigation, and crop diversification. He underscored the lack of a coordinated global management authority in the UN system or globally to address the related problems of climate change, agricultural stress and water technology. He therefore emphasized the importance of the development by members of the Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate of a water security Global Agenda Council, and recommended making water security one of the key topics for climate change adaptation in 2009. Link to further information The statement
THIRD GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE GLOBAL WATER PARTNERSHIP IN WEST AFRICA FOCUSES ON IWRM

The Third General Assembly of the Global Water Partnership in West Africa (GWP WA) convened in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, from 27-28 January 2009, under the theme “Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in West Africa: Adaptation Strategies in a Context of Proven Climate Change.” During the meeting, representatives from the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) met to address concrete water and climate change issues on the continent, and to build on the growing collaboration between the two organizations. The meeting adopted a joint GWP-AMCOW communiqué, which affirms GWP-AMCOW cooperation within the framework of the Africa Water Vision and in pursuit of the AMCOW Programme of Action. The three main areas as the focus of GWP-AMCOW cooperation are: adaptation to climate change and mitigating its impact; funding for proper infrastructure; and the improvement of water governance. In parallel to the meeting, the African Development Bank (AfDB) organized the Preparatory Process for Africa's participation in the Fifth World Water Forum to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, in March 2009. Link to further information Global Water Partnership Press Release, 5 February 2009