National and Regional Activity
National Implementation of the GPA
A key component of the GPA framework is the development and implementation of the National Programmes of Action (NPAs) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (NPA). A national programme of action is the policy framework envisaged in the Global Programme of Action to facilitate the implementation and mainstreaming of the Programme at the national level. NPA’s are iterative processes that call for the phased implementation of priorities identified through a cross-sectoral, participatory approach. These programmes provide a comprehensive yet flexible framework, to assist countries in fulfilling their duty to preserve and protect the marine environment from the major GPA pollution categories.
The framework operates from the premise that action at the national level should build upon existing national priorities, policies and development plans. Targeted supported is provided to countries to mobilise domestic and international resources for the implementation of the NPA and to reinforce the NPA through the review/enactment of national legislations and regulations. The National Programmes of Action (NPAs) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities are a tool for environmental managers and national policy makers to implement the GPA at the national level.
Based on information received from Governments, some 72 countries have established framework national programmes of action since the inception of the Programme. Since 2006, 15 countries have begun to develop national programmes of action, 8 have revised their national programmes of action and many have successfully integrated coastal and marine environmental management and pollution reduction measures into national sustainable development plans or strategies and budgetary mechanisms. In addition, 17 countries have reported having comparable policies enabling them to address land-based sources of marine pollution consistent with the Programme.
For more information on NPAs: UNEP Handbook on the Development and Implementation of National Programmes of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.
Regional Implementation of the GPA
In the Washington Declaration ( Washington Declaration English), the Governments declared their intention to cooperate on a regional basis to coordinate GPA implementation efforts. Development of national and regional programmes of action is of primary importance. The UNEP Regional Seas Programme and the other regional seas programmes and organizations provide an integrated framework for national action programmes. In this context and within the framework of the UNEP Regional Seas Programme, seven technical workshops of government-designated experts were convened by UNEP, during the period 1996 - 1998, to identify regional priorities and to develop regional programmes of action. Sewage was identified as the major land-based source of pollution affecting the human and ecosystem health.
At the regional level significant progress has been made in addressing GPA issues such as the Land Based Sources of Pollution Protocol coming into force for the Cartagena Convention, which is supported by a recently established Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater management (CREW) and funded by the GEF. The Nairobi Convention signed a similar protocol, and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol within the Barcelona Convention was also ratified in 2010. Other GPA achievements include the release of Northwest Pacific Action Plan guidelines for harmful algal blooms. In the APC countries, especially at the local level capacity has been built to manage wastewater, and in East Africa there is now increased capacity to manage solid wastes. In the Caribbean, countries are improving their integrated management of watersheds and ultimately coastal areas including reducing pesticide runoff.