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Stronger commitment for global action programme against marine pollution

Publication date 20.10.2006 12.30
Press release -

Today saw the close of a major UN-led meeting on marine pollution held in Beijing. The five-day talks focussed on measures for reducing the loading of the marine environment from land-based sources of pollution through the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA).

The meeting achieved the approval of policy lines of the GPA for the years 2007-2011 as well as a political declaration on the prevention of land-sourced marine pollution. Ministers and high representatives from more than a hundred countries participated in the meeting.

The meeting focused on issues of financing with particular respect to developing countries and the informational and administrative readiness of these countries to implement improvements. Also prominent on the agenda were questions related to the drawing up and realisation of national action plans.

The EU emphasised in its addresses the importance of the application of the ecosystem approach in global marine management, cooperation between different branches of administration and the participation and commitment of all actors to the preparation and implementation of the GPA. In addition, the EU emphasised the importance of regional agreements in regard to effective execution of the programme.

The political declaration approved at the meeting underlined the commitment of all actors to advancing the implementation of the GPA during the years 2007-2011. This commitment includes, e.g., taking into account the direct effect of the ecological condition of the seas on social and economic welfare and, in particular, its impact on coastal inhabitants and their livelihoods. The declaration also emphasises the ecosystem approach, which is high on the EU agenda, as well as regional and interregional cooperation in marine environmental protection. According to the declaration, the GPA is to be made an integral part of national-level planning and budgeting activities. Governments are also requested to support the work of the body responsible for coordination of the GPA in order to facilitate the implementation of the programme.

The importance of cooperation and information exchange between actors was also emphasised at the Beijing meeting. As an example of this, possibilities for establishing practical cooperation programmes between different parties were encouraged. Cooperation programmes can be established by regional agreement or by global environmental programmes, NGOs and private sector actors whose activities are aimed at promoting marine conservation.

The GPA forms part of the UN Environmental Programme. The programme is implemented locally, nationally, regionally and globally and realizes the objectives of, e.g., the sustainable development strategy and the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

The Finnish Head of Delegation was State Secretary from the Finnish Environment Ministry, Stefan Wallin, whose visit to China also included several bilateral meetings based on environmental cooperation between Finland and China and the promotion of Finnish environmental technology exports.

Further information: Ministerial Counsellor Ulla Kaarikivi-Laine, Ministry of the Environment, Tel. +358 50 559 9142. Senior Adviser Markus Tarasti, Ministry of the Environment, Tel. + 358 400 532 723