Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

 

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 25 No. 31
Monday, 19 June 2006

SUMMARY OF THE SEVENTH MEETING OF THE OPEN-ENDED INFORMAL CONSULTATIVE PROCESS ON OCEANS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA:

12-16 JUNE 2006

The seventh meeting of the UN Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or UNICPOLOS) took place from 12-16 June 2006, at UN headquarters in New York. The meeting brought together over 400 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academic institutions.

Delegates convened in plenary sessions throughout the week to: exchange views on areas of concern and actions needed, including on issues discussed at previous meetings; discuss cooperation and coordination on ocean issues, especially as they relate to ecosystem approaches and oceans; and identify issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly on oceans and the law of the sea. In addition, a discussion panel was held to consider ecosystem approaches and oceans. The outcome of the meeting includes a report containing elements on ecosystem approaches and oceans. This report will be submitted to the General Assembly for consideration at its 61st session under the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea.”

While negotiations on text for the recommendations to the General Assembly were predictably lengthy, the focus on ecosystem approaches did not see the same level of contention that has characterized previous meetings. Arguably this was due to the broad and unspecified topic for discussion, which gave delegates a welcome opportunity to focus on enhancing their understanding of ecosystem-based management (EBM) rather than renewing debate on the more contentious issues currently being considered in other processes on the global oceans agenda. As a result, the agreed elements for consideration by the General Assembly did not break much new ground. However, progress did occur, most notably during the interactive panel discussions, and given that by nature the ecosystem approach does not easily lend itself to mandatory “one-size-fits all” measures, a number of participants were not surprised that the major advances of the week were conceptual.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LAW OF THE SEA AND THE CONSULTATIVE PROCESS

On 1 November 1967, Malta’s Ambassador to the UN, Arvid Pardo, asked the countries of the world to recognize a looming conflict that could devastate the oceans. In a speech to the General Assembly, he called for “an effective international regime over the seabed and the ocean floor beyond a clearly defined national jurisdiction.” The speech set in motion a process that spanned 15 years and saw the creation of the UN Seabed Committee, the signing of a treaty banning nuclear weapons on the seabed, the adoption of the declaration by the General Assembly that all resources of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction are the “common heritage of mankind,” and the convening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. These were some of the factors that led to the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, during which the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS or the Convention) was adopted.

UNCLOS: Opened for signature on 10 December 1982, in Montego Bay, Jamaica, at the third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS sets forth the rights and obligations of states regarding the use of the oceans, their resources, and the protection of the marine and coastal environment. The Convention, which entered into force on 16 November 1994, is supplemented by the 1994 Deep Seabed Mining Agreement, and the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of UNCLOS relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UNFSA).

UNCED: The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in June 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted in Rio, addresses “the protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources.” This remains the fundamental programme of action for achieving sustainable development of oceans and seas.

UNGA RESOLUTION 54/33: On 24 November 1999, the General Assembly adopted resolution 54/33 on the results of the review undertaken by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its seventh session on the theme of “Oceans and seas.” In this resolution, the General Assembly established an open-ended informal consultative process to facilitate the annual review of developments in oceans affairs. The General Assembly decided that the Consultative Process would consider the Secretary-General’s annual reports on oceans and the law of the sea, and would suggest particular issues to be considered by the General Assembly, with an emphasis on identifying areas where intergovernmental and inter-agency coordination and cooperation should be enhanced. The resolution further established the framework within which meetings of the Consultative Process would be organized, and decided that the General Assembly would review the effectiveness and utility of the Consultative Process at its 57th session.

UNICPOLOS-1 to 3: The first three meetings of the Consultative Process were held in New York and co-chaired by Tuiloma Neroni Slade (Samoa) and Alan Simcock (UK). Each meeting identified issues to be suggested as well as those that could benefit from its attention in the future, and elements to be proposed to the General Assembly. The first meeting of the Consultative Process (30 May-2 June 2000) consisted of discussion panels addressing fisheries, and the impacts of marine pollution and degradation. The second meeting of the Consultative Process (7-11 May 2001) focused on marine science and technology, and coordination and cooperation in combating piracy and armed robbery at sea. The third meeting of the Consultative Process (8-15 April 2002) included discussion panels on the protection and preservation of the marine environment, capacity building, regional cooperation and coordination, and integrated oceans management.

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: At the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) (26 August - 4 September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa), states negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. Among the 11 chapters of the JPOI, which provide a framework for action to implement sustainable development commitments, Chapter IV on “Protecting and Managing the Natural Resource Base of Economic and Social Development” contains several paragraphs on the sustainable development of oceans that address, inter alia: water pollution prevention for the protection of ecosystems; improved cooperation and coordination on oceans and coastal issues within the UN system; and the application by 2010 of the ecosystem approach to marine areas.

UNGA RESOLUTION 57/141: On 12 December 2002, the 57th session of the General Assembly adopted resolution 57/141 on “Oceans and the law of the sea.” The General Assembly welcomed the previous work of the Consultative Process, extended it for an additional three years, and decided to review the effectiveness and utility of the Consultative Process at its 60th session.

UNICPOLOS 4-5: These two meetings were co-chaired by Philip Burgess (Australia) and Felipe Paolillo (Uruguay). The fourth meeting of the Consultative Process (2-6 June 2003, New York) adopted recommendations on safety of navigation, the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems, and cooperation and coordination on oceans issues. The fifth meeting of the Consultative Process (7-11 June 2004, New York) adopted recommendations on new sustainable uses of the oceans, including the conservation and management of the biological diversity of the seabed in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

UNICPOLOS 6: The sixth meeting of the Consultative Process (6-10 June 2005, New York), co-chaired by Philip Burgess and Cristián Maquieira (Chile), adopted recommendations on fisheries and their contribution to sustainable development, and considered the issue of marine debris.

UNICPOLOS-7 REPORT

The seventh meeting of the Consultative Process opened on Monday, 12 June 2006. Co-Chair Lori Ridgeway (Canada) noted the growing importance of the Consultative Process on the global agenda and stressed the importance of thinking of the ecosystem approach as an “integrating framework” instead of a “paradigm shift.”

Co-Chair Cristián Maquieira (Chile) emphasized that UNICPOLOS-7 outcomes must be practical and suitable for national implementation.

Vladimir Golitsyn, Director of the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UN-DOALOS), appealed to delegates to contribute to the UNICPOLOS voluntary fund.

Co-Chair Ridgeway then introduced the meeting agenda, which was adopted without amendment (A/AC.259/L.7).

Plenary meetings were held on Monday, Thursday and Friday to address: areas of concern and actions needed, including on issues discussed at previous meetings; cooperation and coordination on ocean issues; and elements to be suggested to the General Assembly for consideration. States were invited to provide written submissions regarding issues for further consideration. The Discussion Panel on ecosystem approaches and oceans met from Monday through Wednesday to consider: demystifying the concept and understanding its implications; moving to implementation; lessons learned from implementation of ecosystem approaches at the national level in developed and developing states; and international cooperation to implement ecosystem approaches at the regional and global levels. A Friends of the Co-Chairs Group convened from Tuesday through Friday morning, and was tasked with meeting in the evenings and during lunch breaks to prepare the draft elements to be recommended to the General Assembly for its consideration. These draft elements were the negotiated on Friday in plenary.

This report summarizes discussions held by the plenary and the discussion panel, organized by agenda item, as well as agreed elements to be submitted to the General Assembly.

PLENARY

AREAS OF CONCERN AND ACTIONS NEEDED: Areas of concern and actions needed was addressed in plenary on Monday and Thursday. Delegates addressed issues pertaining to: the Consultative Process; the definition and implementation of ecosystem approaches; scientific research; high seas governance; cooperation and coordination; capacity building; and threats to marine biodiversity.

The Consultative Process: Many delegates welcomed the three-year renewal of the UNICPOLOS mandate, and Australia emphasized the importance of input from industry, NGOs, IGOs, and states.

Definition of the ecosystem approach: Many delegates noted the absence of an internationally agreed definition of the concept. Canada underscored that significant progress can be made towards implementation of the ecosystem approach despite the lack of a consensus definition. New Zealand and Australia suggested that the Consultative Process focus on identifying experiences and initiatives that can improve sustainable marine management.

Implementation of the ecosystem approach: Cuba and Norway noted the diverse ways of implementing ecosystem approaches, while Norway and Canada called for implementing the existing legal framework. Australia, the European Union (EU), and the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) called for adoption of a holistic approach. The Russian Federation, Iceland, Tuvalu and Venezuela noted the relevance of climate change to oceans management. Chile emphasized the need for adequate planning and resources. Mexico said ecosystem approaches should balance sustainable development, conservation, and enhanced quality of life in coastal communities. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Greenpeace said oceans management must maintain ecosystem integrity. The International Collective in Support of Fishworkers underscored the need to include all traditional and artisanal fishers when establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The International Transport Workers Federation called for the establishment of criteria to determine the genuine link between a flag state and a vessel. The Permanent Commission for the South Pacific emphasized the need for more regional coordination and cooperation. Many delegates supported the establishment of MPAs.

Scientific research: On scientific research, Canada and China emphasized the need for more targeted research. Mexico noted a number of initiatives to increase environment information on marine ecosystems.

High seas governance: Argentina, supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), stressed that Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) do not provide the solution to high seas governance as they are not representative of the international community, and recommended that an international institutional framework be developed to apply to every State whose activities impact upon high seas ecosystems. The EU, Thailand and Greenpeace called for an UNCLOS implementing agreement to protect high seas marine biodiversity. The US did not support the development of a new UNCLOS implementation instrument, noting that effective management can be achieved by strengthening existing organizations and creating RFMOs in areas where they do not already exist. The G-77/China underscored the need for the General Assembly to address bottom trawling at its 61st session. Palau, Greenpeace, WWF, IUCN - The World Conservation Union, and the International Ocean Institute (IOI) supported a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. The Sea Turtle Restoration Project called for a moratorium on long-line fishing to save the Pacific leatherback turtle. Japan and the Republic of Korea opposed adopting a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, noting that such a measure would not be based on sound scientific evidence. New Zealand, the G-77/China and NRDC supported the EU proposal to continue the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

Cooperation and coordination: China suggested addressing the improvement of coordination and cooperation among relevant departments and industries at all levels. Papua New Guinea, on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, outlined regional initiatives relating to the implementation of the ecosystem approach. Japan stressed the need for enhanced cooperation and coordination between RFMOs, while Norway called upon RFMOs to update their mandates to include biodiversity conservation measures and ecosystem approaches. Iceland called for developing regional capacities where no RFMOs exist and fulfilling existing commitments. Namibia favored a regional approach to the ecosystem-based management of oceans, while recognizing that RFMOs can be undermined by lack of participation.

Capacity building: Cuba, Samoa and Indonesia called for capacity building in implementing ecosystem approaches to marine management. The Bahamas underscored the importance of information sharing by states that have knowledge relevant to achieving integrated management. The IOI highlighted its capacity building programmes.

Threats to marine biodiversity: The Sierra Club described the effects of anthropogenic marine noise on marine ecosystems and, with the International Ocean Noise Coalition, called for multilateral efforts to protect ecosystems from noise impacts. New Zealand and Mexico supported exploring ways to protect the oceans from noise pollution. South Africa, on behalf of the G-77/China, urged consideration of waste dumping, transboundary movement of hazardous waste, and pollution.

A summary of this exchange of views is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2527e.html and http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2530e.html

COOPERATION AND COORDINATION ON OCEAN ISSUES, ESPECIALLY AS IT RELATES TO ECOSYSTEM APPROACHES AND OCEANS: The plenary addressed issues pertaining to cooperation and coordination on Thursday morning. Patricio Bernal, UN-Oceans, outlined the work of UN-Oceans in 2005 and 2006. In relation to the implementation of ecosystem approaches, he highlighted the establishment of UN-Oceans Task Forces on: a Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment (GMA); Biodiversity in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction; and the Second Intergovernmental Review of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA).

Salif Diop, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), reported on the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Steering Group for the “Assessment of Assessments” of the GMA, which took place in New York prior to UNICPOLOS-7. He emphasized the importance of completing the nomination and appointment of country representatives, and of mobilizing financial resources to move the process forward.

In ensuing discussions participants addressed: the GMA process; implementation of ecosystem approaches; cooperation and coordination; and high seas governance. A summary of these presentations and discussions can be found at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2530e.html.

ISSUES THAT COULD BENEFIT FROM ATTENTION IN FUTURE WORK OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON OCEANS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA: On Thursday afternoon, Co-Chair Maquieira invited delegates to submit to UN-DOALOS written suggestions on issues for further consideration, and noted that these would be included in the Co-Chairs’ report of the meeting. He indicated that they would be incorporated in the list contained in Part C of the Reports of the fourth, fifth, and sixth meetings of the Consultative Process (A/58/95, A/59/122, and A/60/99).

DISCUSSION PANEL ON ECOSYSTEM APPROACHES AND OCEANS

The discussion panel on ecosystem approaches and oceans took place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and addressed: demystifying the concept and understanding its implications; moving to implementation; lessons learned from implementation of ecosystem approaches at the national level in developed and developing states; and international cooperation to implement ecosystem approaches at the regional and global levels.

DEMYSTIFYING THE CONCEPT AND UNDERSTANDING ITS IMPLICATIONS: On Monday afternoon, Salvatore Arico, UNESCO, noted the minimal implementation of the ecosystem approach in open ocean and deep sea environments and highlighted the need for stakeholder analysis in this respect. He outlined challenges of making the transition to the ecosystem approach, including integrating the various management approaches into a cohesive plan.

Simon Cripps, WWF, stressed the need for immediate catalytic steps to implement ecosystem approaches despite the lack of perfect knowledge. He defined and discussed WWF’s approach to ecosystem-based management, highlighting his organization’s 12-step practical implementation guidelines, the first being identification of stakeholders.

Hiroyuki Matsuda, Yokohama National University, stated that maximum sustainable yield theory ignores the fact that ecosystems are uncertain, changing, and complex. He called for avoiding catching low stock level and immature fish, catching temporarily dominant fish species, improving selective fishing gear technology, and monitoring both prey and predator species.

Steven Murawski, US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlined the “Top Ten Myths Concerning Ecosystem Approaches to Ocean Resource Management,” including that only a few developed countries have the financial resources to implement ecosystem-based management, that science has not developed sufficiently to allow ecosystem based management, and that no examples exist of the ecosystem approach in the world’s oceans. He also listed MPAs, harvesting restrictions, quotas, temporal and spatial closures, and activity and gear restrictions as potential ecosystem and fisheries management tools.

In the ensuing discussions, participants addressed: developing an international framework for the ecosystem approach; implementation of the ecosystem approach; information needed for implementing the ecosystem approach; and participation in developing ecosystem approaches. A summary of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2527e.html.

MOVING TO IMPLEMENTATION: IMPLICATIONS FOR ENABLING ELEMENTS: On Tuesday morning, Jake Rice, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, discussed the role of science advisors in implementing the ecosystem approach. He said that despite a lack of comprehensive information for implementing the ecosystem approach, the ability to provide useful advice is currently available. Rice emphasized the need to facilitate regional and global marine assessments by broad-based teams of policy-independent but government-supported experts.

Serge Garcia, FAO Fisheries Resources Division, presented the FAO implementation framework and agenda for the ecosystem approach to fisheries. He emphasized that successful implementation depends upon achieving political and community support, economic and social viability, and sufficient administrative and research capacity. Garcia said for the ecosystem approach to fisheries to be successful, existing problems such as open access, perverse subsidies, and weak administration need to be solved.

Michael O’Toole, Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystems Programme, explained that this joint initiative involving Angola, Namibia and South Africa aims to improve their capacity to deal with transboundary management issues, and to achieve sustainable and integrated management of the region’s marine resources. He highlighted key components of the Programme, the development and implementation of an ecosystem approach for fisheries management, and cooperation and partnerships with regional and international bodies.

John Richardson, European Commission (EC), discussed the EU’s Green Paper on a future maritime policy and its significance for ecosystem-based management. He highlighted challenges to implementing an ecosystem-based approach, including fragmented governance structures and ecosystem models. On the way forward, he recommended a move from piecemeal instruments to integrated arrangements to implement the ecosystem approach.

In ensuing discussions, participants addressed: governance in areas beyond national jurisdiction; scientific information; regional cooperation; and resources for implementing an ecosystems approach. A summary of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2528e.html.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM IMPLEMENTATION OF ECOSYSTEM APPROACHES AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL IN DEVELOPED STATES: On Tuesday afternoon, Campbell Davies, Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, noted the importance of strong enabling legislation, the iterative development of ecological spatial frameworks based upon best available scientific advice, and representative MPAs for conserving ecosystem-level biodiversity.

Camille Mageau, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, outlined the Canadian legislative framework for ecosystem-based management, noting the use of both top-down property-based and bottom-up activity-based approaches. On developing an international work plan, she called for using existing governance bodies and guidance documents, and developing common scientific advice to guide decision-making.

Erik Olsen, Institute of Marine Research, Norway, discussed the Norwegian ecosystem-based management plan for the Barents Sea and areas off the Lofoten Islands. He explained that the process involved assessing the status of available science, carrying out sectoral studies, and examining overall pressures, in particular the expansion of the petroleum industry.

Johann Sigurjonsson, Marine Research Institute, Iceland, reported on domestic implementation and practical considerations relating to ecosystem-based fisheries management, and suggested determining management actions on the basis of a comparative valuation of different marine resources.

In ensuing discussion, participants addressed: threats to the marine environment; implementing the ecosystem approach; stakeholder engagement; and high seas management. A summary of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2528e.html.

LESSONS LEARNED FROM IMPLEMENTATION OF ECOSYSTEM APPROACHES AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL IN DEVELOPING STATES: On Wednesday morning, Cristian Canales, Institute of Fisheries Development, Chile, discussed the ecosystem approach in the research and management of Chilean fisheries, and highlighted: research into trophic predator-prey interaction; the incorporation of ecosystem elements into studies to establish recommended catch quotas; and biodiversity protection policies.

Noah Idechong, House of Delegates, Palau, described the Micronesian sea tradition and Palau’s marine conservation initiatives. He reported that Palau bans bottom trawling it its waters, and globally by Palauan vessels, nationals and licensed entities. Idechong advocated a moratorium on bottom trawling beyond areas of national jurisdiction where no RFMO has competence to regulate the activity.

Tonny Wagey, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, presented the Bali Plan of Action, which was adopted at the second Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ocean-related ministerial meeting. He noted the Plan aims to ensure the sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources, and to provide sustainable economic benefits from the oceans.

Porfirio Alvarez Torres, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico, explained that his government is in the process of drafting legislation for sea use planning for the Gulf of California. He outlined the region’s physical characteristics and the environmental threats it faces, and the process for developing a legal framework for the region, stressing the engagement of all stakeholders in the various stages and bodies involved.

In ensuing discussion, delegates addressed: traditional knowledge; defining and implementing the ecosystem approach; stakeholder engagement; and applying ecosystem approaches beyond areas of national jurisdiction. A summary of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2529e.html.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TO IMPLEMENT ECOSYSTEM APPROACHES AT THE REGIONAL AND GLOBAL LEVELS: On Wednesday afternoon, Alan Simcock, Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Region (OSPAR) Commission, stated that an ecosystem approach concerns the management of human activities that may affect the marine environment, and described how ecosystem quality objectives have been used within the North Sea Pilot Project.

Andrew Constable, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Australia, outlined implementation of the ecosystem approach by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which he said demonstrates that international ecosystem-based management can be achieved on the high seas.

Tim Adams, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, provided an overview of the intergovernmental agency system in the Pacific Islands region and noted activities to assist countries in implementing the ecosystem approach, particularly to fisheries management.

Chua Thia-Eng, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, outlined the operational strategies and tools used in integrated coastal management (ICM) practices in the East Asian seas. He illustrated the socioeconomic advantages of ICM through the example of the Yuandang Lagoon clean-up.

In ensuring discussions, participants addressed: implementing the ecosystem approach; high seas governance; and cooperation. A summary of these presentations and discussions is available online at: http://www.iisd.ca/vol25/enb2529e.html.

ELEMENTS TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

A draft Co-Chairs’ text on elements to be suggested to the General Assembly for consideration was prepared in a Friends of the Co-Chairs Group, which met from Tuesday to Friday morning. The Group’s draft text was negotiated in plenary throughout Friday before agreement was finally reached early on Saturday morning. In addition to preambular language, the text contains sections on the guiding principles for the application of the ecosystem approach, and the definition, implementation and improved application of the ecosystem approach.

Preamble: This section notes that the seventh meeting of the Consultative Process organized its discussions around ecosystem approaches to oceans. The preambular paragraphs were adopted with minor editorial amendments suggested by the EU.

Final Text: The introduction notes that UNICPOLOS-7 met from 12-16 June 2006, and pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/30, organized its discussions around the topic of ecosystem approaches and oceans.

The preambular paragraphs also mention that the Consultative Process reached agreement that:

  • continued environmental degradation and increasing competing demands require an urgent response and the setting of priorities for conserving ecosystem integrity; and

  • ecosystem approaches to oceans management should be focused on managing human activities in order to maintain and restore ecosystem health to sustain goods and environment services, and provide social and economic benefits for food security and livelihoods, to conserve marine biodiversity.

Guiding principles: This section contains principles to guide the application of ecosystem approaches and states’ cooperation in the management of transboundary ecosystems. On managing marine ecosystems in conformity with international law, Venezuela proposed, and Trinidad and Tobago opposed, deleting reference to the rights and duties of states as provided for in UNCLOS. A contact group led by New Zealand was then created and the language proposed by the group was adopted by the plenary without amendment.

Final Text: The Consultative Process proposes that the General Assembly:

  • recall that states be guided in the application of ecosystem approaches by inter alia, UNCLOS, commitments contained in the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), and the WSSD commitment to apply an ecosystem approach by 2010; and

  • encourage states to cooperate, in conformity with international law including the rights and duties of coastal and other states as provided for in UNCLOS, and to address impacts on marine ecosystems in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, taking into account the integrity of the ecosystems concerned.

Definition of an ecosystem approach: This section recognizes the lack of a universally agreed definition of an ecosystem approach and contains elements of what such an approach should include or aim to achieve. Cuba, supported by Trinidad and Tobago and Colombia, favored retaining preambular language recognizing that the ecosystem approach is interpreted differently in different contexts. The list of elements included in an ecosystem approach was then adopted without amendment.

Final Text: The Consultative Process proposes that the General Assembly invite states to consider that an ecosystem approach should, inter alia:

  • emphasize conservation of ecosystem structures in order to maintain ecosystem goods and services;

  • take into account factors originating outside the boundaries of the defined management area that may influence marine ecosystems in the management area;

  • strive to balance diverse societal objectives;

  • be based on and adapt to best available knowledge, including traditional, indigenous and scientific information;

  • assess risk, and apply the precautionary approach;

  • assess the cumulative impacts of multiple human activities on marine ecosystems; and

  • seek to minimize adverse impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems and biodiversity, in particular rare and fragile ecosystems.

Implementation of an ecosystem approach: This section contains actions to be proposed by the General Assembly to achieve an ecosystem approach.

After negotiations on the section on improved application of an ecosystem approach, where Tuvalu, with Australia, suggested removing “man-induced” from reference to climate change, delegates agreed to move these references and the reference to underwater noise to the section on the implementation of the ecosystem approach. After informal consultations, the US proposed text on understanding the impacts of climate change, which was then adopted with minor amendments.

On noise pollution, the US proposed calling for research to understand impact of ocean noise on marine ecosystems. The EU preferred referring to “underwater noise.” Co-Chair Ridgeway suggested inserting a reference not only to research on underwater noise, but also to “consideration” of its impacts. The text was adopted as amended by the EU and the Co-Chair.

On the strengthening of RFMOs, Palau suggested using language agreed during the UNFSA Review Conference, which calls for establishing new RFMOs and strengthening the mandates of RFMOs to implement modern approaches to fisheries management. Argentina, supported by Iceland, Norway and Uruguay, opposed inserting such new language, noting that the Parties to the Fish Stocks Agreement are not the same as the states participating in the Consultative Process. The European Community underscored that the UNFSA Review Conference did not only involve contracting Parties to the Agreement. The original language was adopted with a minor editorial amendment suggested by Australia.

On strengthened and improved coordination and cooperation, Iceland, supported by Canada and the EU, suggested clarifying that the reference to international law does not apply to cooperation at the national level. The paragraph was then adopted with this amendment.

On the implementation of mandates of existing multilateral organizations, Argentina proposed alternative language replacing specific reference to organizations such as the International Seabed Authority with general text referring to organizations created under UNCLOS. The EU said a reference to organizations created under UNCLOS is too restrictive. New Zealand suggested replacing “in particular” by “including” in order to make the reference to UNCLOS organizations less restrictive. The paragraph was then adopted as amended by New Zealand. 

On the tools and principles for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, the US opposed the suggestion by Mexico, which had been supported by Cuba, to include reference to generally agreed principles, noting that such vague language would not enable the principles to be identified. Canada, the EU and Australia suggested, and Cuba opposed, specific mention of management tools such as MPAs. A contact group led by Australia was then formed. Compromise language agreed to by the group was then adopted by plenary without amendment.

On the development of representative networks of MPAs, Canada noted that the draft text prepared by the Friends of the Co-Chairs was inconsistent with the JPOI. A contact group led by New Zealand was formed to agree on language. New Zealand, supported by Brazil and Cuba, presented new text using the language contained in the JPOI. Canada emphasized that a specific reference to the JPOI is not useful as work on MPAs has advanced since the WSSD, but did not oppose the contact group’s proposal, which was adopted by plenary without amendments.

On applying environmental impact assessment to marine uses, discussions focused on whether such assessment should encompass all human activities that impact the marine environment or be limited to the impact of fishing. Canada, supported by Iceland, the US, Norway, and Japan, preferred including the concept more generally in the paragraph on improved application of the ecosystem approach. The EU, supported by Australia, opposed limiting the assessment to fisheries and suggested maintaining the concept in a separate paragraph in the section on implementation. A contact group led by Australia convened to reach agreement on the scope of the assessment. The plenary adopted the language proposed by the group without amendment.

Final Text: The Consultative Process suggests that the General Assembly propose that implementation of an ecosystem approach could be achieved through, inter alia:

  • inclusion in the development of national policies;

  • encouraging and supporting marine scientific research;

  • understanding through increased research the impacts of changing climate on the health of marine ecosystems, and developing management strategies to maintain and improve national resilience of marine ecosystems to climate variation;

  • understanding, through increased research, and consideration of the impacts of underwater noise on marine ecosystems;

  • strengthening RFMOs, adapting their mandate and modernizing their operations, where appropriate;

  • strengthening and improving coordination and cooperation within, and, in accordance with international law, between, and among states, IGOs, regional scientific and advisory organizations and management bodies;

  • implementing fully the mandates of existing multilateral organizations, including those established under UNCLOS;

  • applying the Rio principles and the use of a broad range of management tools for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, including sector specific and integrated management tools on a case-by-case basis, and based on the best available scientific advice and the application of the precautionary approach, consistent with international law;

  • identifying and engaging stakeholders;

  • applying sectoral approaches to integrated management;

  • advancing the JPOI, including, inter alia: the elimination of destructive fishing practices and the establishment of MPAs consistent with international law and based on scientific information;

  • conducting assessments in relation to marine activities likely to have a significant impact on the environment in accordance with national legislation and international law; and

  • monitoring the state of ecosystems to inform future management approaches.

Improved application of an ecosystem approach: This section lists requirements for an improved application of an ecosystem approach.

On capacity building, Namibia proposed, and delegates agreed, to add a reference to coastal African states.

On addressing activities and pressures that lead to adverse impacts on marine ecosystems, New Zealand, supported by Australia, the EU, and Brazil, proposed moving the list of “root causes” of impacts from the section on “targeted action to address root causes” to the section on “addressing mechanisms that lead to adverse impacts on marine ecosystems.” The EU, supported by Canada and Chile, called for retaining “man-induced” climate change and “noise pollution” in the list. The US opposed and suggested creating new paragraphs to deal with these items separately. Following informal consultations, new paragraphs on climate change and underwater noise were agreed to and added to the section on the implementation of the ecosystem approach, and the list of mechanisms that lead to adverse impacts on marine ecosystems was accepted.

On iterative development of an ecosystem approach, delegates agreed to alternative language proposed by Australia that has a broader focus on integrated management of human uses of the ocean.

On targeted action to address “root causes” that can undermine the conservation and integrity of marine ecosystems, the US, with Brazil, the Russian Federation and Japan, opposed including a list of activities that impact upon the marine environment. The EU, Canada, Chile, Colombia and others supported retaining the list. Croatia, Colombia and Norway preferred the use of “activities” or “root causes and activities” to “root causes.” Co-Chair Ridgeway suggested using “root causes of activities” as a compromise. Noting disagreement on the list of activities, New Zealand, supported by Australia, the EU, and Brazil, proposed including the list after the language on the adverse impacts on marine ecosystems. The paragraph was then adopted as amended by Co-Chair Ridgeway and New Zealand.

On support for relevant international and regional processes and initiatives, Iceland, supported by Norway, the Russian Federation, and Japan, and opposed by the EU, suggested deleting the references in the draft of the Friends of the Co-Chairs group to, inter alia: the GMA, the Ad Hoc Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, and the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) review process. Palau suggested adding a reference to the UNFSA review process. After informal consultations, delegates did not reach agreement on this paragraph, which was deleted entirely.

On improved cooperation among international organizations, Australia proposed language to resolve the debate over the participation of non-members in RFMOs, which was agreed informally with other states and adopted with minor amendments.

On the precautionary approach, discussions focused on the inclusion of a reference to areas beyond national jurisdiction, and whether frameworks to support the precautionary approach should be established at the national and regional levels. Indonesia, supported by Thailand, opposed the inclusion of a reference to areas beyond national jurisdiction and to the level at which frameworks are to be established. Argentina, supported by Cuba and Iceland, and opposed by the EU, called for deleting reference to the creation of frameworks to support the precautionary approach where they are currently absent. After informal discussions, “improving as appropriate,” instead of “establishing” legal and policy frameworks was adopted.

On the options reflected in the summary of trends prepared by the Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, the EU supported removing the brackets around language giving consideration to this summary of trends and adding a specific reference to: the establishment of high seas MPAs; the assessment of the need for an UNCLOS implementing agreement; and to Decision VIII/24 of CBD COP 8 (Protected Areas). The US, supported by Iceland, Japan, Thailand, Brazil and the Russian Federation, opposed such language. Cuba added that the General Assembly is the appropriate forum to consider the outcomes of the Ad Hoc Working Group. Thailand supported language on assessing the need for an UNCLOS implementing agreement. After lengthy debates, delegates agreed to compromise language proposed by New Zealand that notes the possible options considered by the Ad Hoc Working Group.

On a follow-up process for the enhanced conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, Argentina and Mexico opposed including reference to the outcomes of CBD COP-8. As a compromise, the US proposed, and delegates agreed, merging reference to the follow-up process with the language on the Ad Hoc Working Group.

On making progress towards the establishment of networks of MPAs, New Zealand, supported by the EU, Mexico and the US, proposed new language that refers to the JPOI. Brazil expressed concern that the proposal only addressed one aspect of the JPOI. Cuba opposed adoption of the proposal and suggested addressing MPAs in a separate paragraph. Brazil suggested compromise language adding reference to the elimination of destructive fishing practices. A contact group led by New Zealand was created to agree on how to address the multiple references to MPAs in the draft text. The proposed text was then adopted with minor amendments.

Final Text: The Consultative Process proposes that the General Assembly invite states to consider that improved application of an ecosystem approach will recognize, inter alia:

  • capacity building through technology transfer, knowledge and skills transfer, particularly to developing countries, including small island developing states and coastal African states;

  • steps in the development of the ecosystem approach, including, inter alia: identification of ecologically-based management areas; assessment of ecosystem health; and development of indicators;

  • the need to address activities and pressures that lead to adverse impacts on marine ecosystems, including land-based and sea-based pollution, over fishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, bycatch of threatened species, dumping, physical destruction and degradation of habitats, and invasive species;

  • an iterative development of an approach that may be achieved through the strengthening of cooperation and collaboration among existing instruments, bodies and scientific research and advisory organizations;

  • targeted action to address root causes of activities that can undermine the conservation and integrity of marine ecosystems;

  • the need to develop, raise and sustain public awareness and institutional and political will;

  • the improved cooperation among international organizations, by encouraging all states whose vessels participate in a fishery regulated by a RFMO to cooperate by becoming members of such organizations and to establish mechanisms to promote non-member participation;

  • the development of mechanisms to monitor and review ecosystem health and management effectiveness;

  • the dissemination of information to the public on activities that negatively affect ecosystems;

  • the improvement, as appropriate, of legal and policy frameworks to support and facilitate the application of the precautionary approach and ecosystem approaches;

  • noting the possible options, the approaches and timely follow-up process discussed by the Ad Hoc Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction; and

  • the compilation of scientific and ecological criteria, including for the identification of MPAs.

CLOSING PLENARY

The final plenary started at 12:30 pm on Friday, at which time the Friends of the Co-Chairs Group finished its work and the draft text on elements for recommendation to the General Assembly was distributed. After negotiations were completed, nearly 12 hours later, Co-Chair Ridgeway noted the strong spirit of cooperation among delegates and expressed her appreciation to all, especially to Renée Sauvé (Canada), who chaired the Friends of the Co-Chairs Group. She emphasized that the meeting had achieved its aim by improving understanding of ecosystem approaches. Co-Chair Maquieira closed the meeting at 12:14 am on Saturday, 17 June.

The final report of the meeting will include: the consensus text of elements to be submitted to the UN General Assembly; a Co-Chairs’ summary of discussions; and additions and amendments to issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly, as contained in Part C of the report of UNICPOLOS-4. This final report will be available online, by 15 July 2006, on the UN-DOALOS website at: http://www.un.org/Depts/los

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF UNICPOLOS-7

The November 2005 decision by the UN General Assembly to renew the mandate of UNICPOLOS for a further three years confirmed the value of a cross-cutting, consultative, multi-disciplinary body amidst the swirling sea of international oceans institutions and instruments, each of which has a different mandate, membership and legal status. Moreover, the focus on ecosystem approaches at UNICPOLOS-7 could be seen as the ultimate embodiment of the UNICPOLOS mission – to discuss an inclusive, multi-sectoral, and cooperative management concept of relevance to nearly every marine issue and make recommendations to the General Assembly on how to move forward.

While negotiations on text for the recommendations to the General Assembly were predictably lengthy, the focus on ecosystem approaches did not see the same level of contention that has characterized previous meetings. Arguably this was due to the broad and unspecified topic for discussion, which gave delegates a welcome opportunity to focus on enhancing their understanding of ecosystem-based management (EBM) rather than renewing debate on the more difficult issues currently being considered in other processes on the global oceans agenda. As a result, the agreed elements for consideration by the General Assembly did not break much new ground. However, progress did occur, most notably during the interactive panel discussions, and given that by nature the ecosystem approach does not easily lend itself to mandatory “one-size-fits all” measures, a number of participants were not surprised that the major advances of the week were conceptual.

Given the breadth of the topic, the Co-Chairs instructed an open-ended “Friends of the Co-Chairs” group to convene throughout the week in an effort to make the drafting process more manageable and avoid the notorious long-haul Friday text negotiations of previous UNICPOLOS meetings. Despite such efforts, the meeting once again finished after midnight, but many delegates felt that this was an acceptable tradeoff as promptness on Friday was sacrificed for the greater good of inclusiveness and thoroughness throughout the week.

This analysis will assess the results and procedures of UNICPOLOS-7 and how they reflect upon the Consultative Process itself within the international oceans framework.

IN THE DOLDRUMS?

As one participant suggested, delegates at UNICPOLOS-7 could be diagnosed as suffering from “oceans fatigue” given the intense schedule of marine-related events that preceded it, including the meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, the Third Global Forum on Oceans and Coasts, the marine and coastal segments of the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement Review Conference and its preparatory meeting. Given the status of discussions in other fora and the need to come to a better understanding of various elements of ecosystem approaches, there was limited will at UNICPOLOS-7 to push ahead with ambitious outcomes or consider potentially contentious new ideas despite the broad meeting agenda.

While the final text was nonetheless exhaustively debated, the major instances of disagreement reflected familiar country and regional positions, such as differences of opinion on regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) conduct, high seas governance, and the relative importance of various international instruments. Reaching final consensus was therefore an exercise in weaving the text around this set of fixed and well-known hurdles, rather than attempting to shift the hurdles themselves. These factors explain the nature of the resulting text and show why the meeting was not able to make any major breakthroughs in terms of recommending tangible new actions to implement ecosystem approaches to oceans management.

ILLUMINATING THE DEPTHS

Despite the lack of a major breakthrough, incremental advances could be observed, as enlightening panel presentations succeeded in demystifying and building confidence in a management approach previously seen by some as complicated and ill-defined. Presentations showed that EBM can be implemented by developing and developed countries alike, adapted to a range of jurisdictional and geographic circumstances, and implemented despite imperfect science, to achieve measurably beneficial outcomes. The progress of the pioneering initiatives outlined by guest speakers may end up being more persuasive to the international community than the elements recommended for the General Assembly’s consideration.

A key revelation was that a relatively simple ecosystem-based management model could be applied even without much scientific data, as long as management rules are made more precautionary and adaptive. The example of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources demonstrated the value of a set of management rules that force decisions to be made relatively quickly on the basis of whatever science is available, rather than leaving arrangements unmanaged while further research is carried out. Many delegates were encouraged to hear that undertaking further scientific research can be part of a management plan, rather than a precondition to its development. Also eye opening to those who had supposed EBM to be prohibitively expensive were examples of its implementation in developing countries such as Mexico, Palau, Namibia, Angola and South Africa. Many also underlined that the initial costs of implementing EBM are significantly outweighed by the long-term penalties of not doing so.

While discussions on these items may have been illuminating, many NGOs regretted that states only superficially addressed emerging issues such as the effects of underwater noise and climate change on marine ecosystems. Although both of these topics were identified as pressures on marine ecosystems in the UN Secretary-General’s 2006 report, and ocean noise was raised repeatedly by NGOs at UNICPOLOS-6, rather than taking the opportunity to add detail to the debate, states effectively sidelined the issues by agreeing on soft language that refers to the need for scientific research on these impacts when undertaking ecosystem approaches to management.

The difficulty of diverting attention away from the hypnotic pull of fisheries issues was also noted more generally. The lack of representation from other major marine industries such as tourism or offshore oil and gas exemplified this, and one delegate lamented this absence, noting that consideration of an ecosystem approach to marine management could not be complete “without hearing the voice of these important actors.” A related issue was the muted attention given to CBD work on guidelines for ecosystem approaches, protected areas, and conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity including through application of the ecosystem approach. Some states also advocated the removal of references to the CBD in the final text, whereas others pointed out that although UNCLOS does set the international framework for oceans governance, UNICPOLOS should nonetheless take into account developments in other relevant fora.

STEERING BY THE STARS: UNICPOLOS IN THE CONSTELLATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL OCEANS FRAMEWORK

Because the recommendations in the final consensus text do not depart meaningfully from the outcomes of previous ocean-related meetings and General Assembly resolutions, it is likely that this year’s oceans and fisheries General Assembly debates will be dominated by topics that have now largely moved off the agenda of the Consultative Process and into more focused or more formal processes. For example, marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction seems likely to continue being addressed in the Ad Hoc Working Group on marine biodiversity, a process which received broad, although not universal support at UNICPOLOS-7. Discussions on high seas bottom trawling are likewise approaching maturity and, according to corridor discussions and some statements made in plenary during the week, this issue is likely to receive significant attention at the General Assembly negotiations this October and November.

The fact that such issues have matured and moved into other fora is a positive reflection on UNICPOLOS, demonstrating the value of forum in which the international community can commence consideration of new, emerging or changing issues in a consultative manner. UNICPOLOS is also unique in that it receives frank input from technical experts, policymakers and stakeholders, but also exerts gravity and authority due to the directness with which its recommendations can be translated into General Assembly resolutions. Further strengths of UNICPOLOS – the relative lack of procedural barriers due to its informal nature and the largely unrestricted parameters of debate due to the ability of the General Assembly to set the terms of the agenda – also remove artificial barriers to the discussion and assist new topics to mature quickly and, where appropriate, move on to a more established home among the constellation of international oceans processes.

A LENGTHY VOYAGE

The preparatory meeting held in March set a high priority on streamlining UNICPOLOS procedures after last year’s meeting ran out of time and was unable to complete text on some agenda items. In previous Consultative Processes, the Co-Chairs would prepare a draft text on Thursday night after the conclusion of discussions, leaving little time for consideration by delegates before negotiations began in earnest on Friday morning. The solution put forward was to form a Friends of the Co-Chairs group that would meet in the evenings and at lunch breaks to ensure that preparation of broadly-agreed text kept pace with plenary debate. Throughout the meeting, this group operated much like a formal drafting committee, although one in which NGOs and other non-state participants were able to attend and contribute. However, even these new processes were unable to prevent another late finish, perhaps because consideration of the very broad main agenda item stretched over four days of meeting time, leading to difficulties in drafting text during the earlier days.

But, as Co-Chair Ridgeway noted, late endings are not necessarily evidence of procedural failure. Indeed, one attendee noted philosophically that perhaps a late night or two is a small sacrifice to make in return for having the chance to address such broad agenda items and to hear contributions from so many voices. Other delegates added that the purpose of the Consultative Process is not to replicate General Assembly debates, but to inform them by making well-considered and rigorous recommendations – indicating that most delegates would not be inclined to cut back on the breadth and depth of UNICPOLOS discussions in order to allow longer negotiations.

At least one delegation expressed disappointment that running out of time usually means that draft text on any unresolved issues either reverts back to old agreements or is deleted entirely, whereas additional work might have resulted in a progressive compromise. In this case, text on marine protected areas and destructive fishing practices reverted to the formulation from the World Summit on Sustainable Development’s Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, as there was no time to find agreement on text that would incorporate more recent developments enshrined in General Assembly resolutions and outcomes of ocean-related meetings in the UN system and under the CBD.

CALMER SEAS AHEAD?

Some will regard UNICPOLOS-7 as a meeting that could have achieved more, both substantively and procedurally. However, the nature of the final recommendations and the limited ability to move beyond a focus on fisheries and to consider new and emerging issues were offset by conceptual advances relating to ecosystem approaches and oceans. The meeting is likely to have converted many EBM skeptics by showcasing examples of cost-effective and practical management, and demonstrating that the lack of a universally agreed definition is no barrier to implementation. Likewise, although the procedural changes made during UNICPOLOS-7 were unable to prevent another late night Friday session, the genuinely informative and interesting deliberations that followed the panel presentations showed the merit of the meeting’s methods, and the renewal of the mandate of UNICPOLOS demonstrates that the oceans community values its outcomes. With the worth of the Consultative Process viewed in this manner, a late finish seems a small price to pay.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

SIXTEENTH MEETING OF STATES PARTIES TO THE UN CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA: States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea will meet at UN headquarters in New York from 19-23 June 2006. For more information, contact the Secretary of the Meeting of States Parties, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea; tel: +1-212-963-3972; fax: +1-212-963-5847; e-mail: doalos@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/depts/los/meeting_states_parties/forthcomingmeetingtatesparties.htm

INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON GOVERNANCE AND THE GLOBAL WATER SYSTEM: This workshop will be held in Bonn, Germany, from 20-23 June 2006. The workshop will consider how governance regimes can be enabled to strengthen the adaptive capacity and resilience of the global water system. For more information, contact: Daniel Petry, International Project Office; tel: +49-228-736186; fax: +49-228-7360834; e-mail: daniel.petry@uni-bonn.de; internet: http://www.gwsp.org/gov_workshop.html

CATCHMENTS TO COAST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE: The conference will take place in Cairns, Australia, from 9-14 July 2006. The major focus of the conference will be the vital role and value of wetlands within the terrestrial and marine environments. For more information, contact: Sally Brown, Conference Coordinator; tel: +61-7-3201-2808; fax: +61-7-3201-2809; e-mail: sally.brown@uq.net.au; internet: http://www.catchments.org.au

2006 WORLD WATER WEEK IN STOCKHOLM: The annual World Water Week will take place from 20-26 August 2006. This year’s theme is: “Beyond the River – Sharing Benefits and Responsibilities.” For more information, contact: Stockholm International Water Institute; tel: +46-8-522-13960; fax: +46-8-522-13961; e-mail: sympos@siwi.org; internet: http://www.worldwaterweek.org

EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MODELLING, MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT OF WATER POLLUTION: This conference will be held in Bologna, Italy, from 4-6 September 2006. The main aim of this conference is to provide a forum for discussion for scientists and managers working in different aspects of water pollution. For more information, contact: Zoey Bluff, Conference Secretariat; tel: +44-238-029-3223; fax: +44-238-029-2853; e-mail: zbluff@wessex.ac.uk; internet: http://www.wessex.ac.uk/conferences/2006/water06/

INTERNATIONAL WATER ASSOCIATION (IWA) WORLD WATER CONGRESS: This congress will take place in Beijing, China, from 10-14 September 2006. For more information, contact: Ivy Jiang, IWA; tel: +86-10-5893-4783 or +86-10-5893-4771; fax: +86-10-5893-3584; e-mail: iwa2006@mail.cin.gov.cn; internet: http://www.iwa2006beijing.com/templates/dynamic/Conferences/Conference.aspx?ObjectId=224213

EUROPEAN LARGE LAKES SYMPOSIUM 2006: This symposium will occur in Tartu-Pühajärve, Estonia, from 11-15 September 2006, and will focus on the ecosystems of European large lakes and their ecological and socioeconomic impacts. For more information, contact: Tuula Toivanen, University of Joensuu; tel: +358-13-251-3503; fax: +358-13-251-3449; e-mail: tuula.toivanen@joensuu.fi; internet: http://www.largelakes.ebc.ee

LEGAL FRAMEWORK OF WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT SEMINAR: The seminar will be held in Rome, Italy, from 11-22 September 2006, and is organized by the International Development Law Organization. This seminar will examine key principles of Integrated Water Resource Development and Management that require both effective legal frameworks and accountable institutions at the national and local levels. For more information, contact: Seminar Secretariat; tel: +39-6-6979261; fax: +39-6-6781946; e-mail: admission@idlo.org; internet: http://www.idlo.int/IBT39E.htm

AGREEMENT ON THE CONSERVATION OF SMALL CETACEANS OF THE BALTIC AND NORTH SEAS (ASCOBANS) MOP-5: This meeting will be held in Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands, from 18-22 September 2006. For more information, contact: ASCOBANS Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2416; fax: +49-228-815-2440; e-mail: ascobans@ascobans.org; internet: http://www.ascobans.org

CONFERENCE ON IMPLEMENTING THE ECOSYSTEM APPROACH TO FISHERIES: This conference will take place in Bergen, Norway, from 26-28 September 2006. Participants will also exchange experiences and constraints encountered so far, and identify strategies and best practices that will facilitate further implementation in practical fisheries management. For more information, contact: Kari �stervold Toft, Institute of Marine Research; e-mail: karit@imr.no; internet: http://cieaf.imr.no

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WATER, ECOSYSTEMS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ARID AND SEMI-ARID ZONES: This conference will be held in Urumqi, China, from 9-15 October 2006, and is organized around four major themes: water and environment; agricultural practices; water and civilization; and issues and perspectives for the future. For more information contact: Zhihui Liu, Xingjian University; e-mail: watarid@xju.edu.cn; internet: http://www.ephe.sorbonne.fr/watarid/watarid_en.htm

SECOND INTER-GOVERNMENTAL REVIEW OF THE GLOBAL PROGRAMME OF ACTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF MARINE ENVIRONMENT LAND-BASED ACTIVITIES:  This meeting will take place in Beijing, China, from 16-20 October 2006. For more information, contact: GPA Coordination Office; tel: +31-70-311-4460; fax: +31-70-345-6648; e-mail: gpa@unep.nl; internet: http://www.gpa.unep.org/

THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WATER RESOURCES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN BASIN: This conference will take place in Tripoli, Lebanon, from 1-3 November 2006, and aims to: review the methods for assessing and monitoring aquatic ecosystems; formulate strategies and identify eco-technological approaches for the restoration and management of aquatic ecosystems; and identify areas of cooperation in aquatic sciences between Mediterranean countries. For more information, contact: Conference Secretariat; tel: +961-3-674-817; fax: +961-6-400-159; e-mail: info@watmed.com; internet: http://www.watmed.com

SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ESTUARIES AND COASTS: This meeting will be held in Guangzhou, China, from 28-30 November 2006. The central topic of this conference will be to advance estuarine and coastal engineering research to enhance the ecological environment. For more information, contact: ICEC-2006 Secretariat; tel: +86-20-8711-7249; fax: +86-20-3849-1316; e-mail: icec2006@prwri.com.cn; internet: http://www.prwri.com.cn/icec2006-eindex.htm

THE EAST ASIAN SEAS CONGRESS 2006: This meeting will take place in Haikou City, Hainan Province, China, from 12-16 December 2006. This event will bring together international organizations, experts and multi-sector stakeholders to exchange knowledge and build capacity in developing strategies to implement the Millennium Development Goals and WSSD goals for the region�s coasts and oceans. For more information, contact: Congress Secretariat; tel: +632-9-202211; fax: +632-9-269712; e-mail: congress@pemsea.org; internet: http://www.pemsea.org/eascongress

JOINT MEETING OF REGIONAL TUNA FISHERIES MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATIONS: This meeting will take place from 22-26 January 2007, in Kobe, Japan, and will bring together secretariats of tuna RFMOs. For more information, contact: Akihiro Mae, Japanese Fisheries Agency; tel: +81-3-3502-8459; fax: +81-3-3502-0571; e-mail: tuna_rfmos@nm.maff.go.jp; internet: http://www.iotc.org/files/proceedings/2006/s/IOTC-2006-S10-03%5BEN%5D.pdf

UNICPOLOS-8: The eighth meeting of the Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea is expected to take place in May or June 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. For more information, contact: UNDOALOS; tel: +1-212-963-3962; fax: +1-212-963-2811; e-mail: doalos@un.org; internet: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/

GLOSSARY
 

EBM
GMA
GPA
ICM
MPA
RFMO
UNCLOS
UN-DOALOS
UNFSA

UNICPOLOS
Ecosystem-based management
Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment
Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities
Integrated coastal management
Marine Protected Area
Regional Fisheries Management Organization
UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea
1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of UNCLOS relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks
UN Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Alice Bisiaux, Robynne Boyd, Andrew Brooke, and James Van Alstine. The Digital Editor is Dan Birchall. The Editors are Alexis Conrad <alexis@iisd.org> and Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV) and the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory General Directorate for Nature Protection. General Support for the Bulletin during 2006 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry for the Environment, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). Funding for translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Funding for the translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Spain. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.