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FOLLOW-UP TO THE GLOBAL PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT FROM LAND-BASED ACTIVITIES

During the afternoon of Monday, 26 February, delegates established an open-ended drafting group to deal with the question of the UNEP draft proposal for follow-up on the Washington Conference GPA. The group, which was chaired by Magn�s J�hannesson (Iceland), was asked to develop a draft resolution regarding implementation of the Global Programme of Action, and report back to the full working group on Thursday.

Delegates offered general comments to the Working Group on the UNEP draft proposal on Tuesday, 27 February. The US noted that the Washington Conference agreed to develop a draft resolution for the General Assembly (GA), outlining implementation. The draft resolution should: endorse the GPA; call on States to take action within relevant bodies; identify relevant organizations; bring the GPA to the attention of international funding organizations; contain specific provisions on the clearinghouse mechanism, including a pilot project and a steering group; and clarify UNEP's role.

AUSTRALIA expressed concern that the UNEP draft proposal did not adequately reflect the GPA, including: UNEP's role in implementation; new and additional financial resources; and government-appointed experts. CANADA agreed, and suggested examination of pre-existing guidelines before developing new global guidelines.

The EU suggested that the draft resolution require UNEP to set up a group of experts to define both the clearinghouse data directory and a suitable medium for access. The NETHERLANDS praised the UNEP draft for supporting the regional seas programme. He proposed adding language on a global instrument addressing POPs. ICELAND, in his role as Chair of the Drafting Group, stated that he would use paragraphs 72 to 79 of the GPA, regarding the international institutional framework, as a point of departure.

CHINA stated that the issue of oceans is transboundary. He supported UNEP as coordinator of the GPA, and reaffirmed the need for new and additional financial resources. While concerned about POPs, he requested that the draft resolution address other water pollution problems relevant to developing countries.

BRAZIL agreed with the general assumptions of the UNEP proposal, especially the sub-paragraph on the marine coastal environment. He suggested more regional methodological studies before defining a global model, and suggested that financial commitments be a central theme of the Drafting Group.

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