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NOWPAP at the 16th GMRS

Joining the other Coordinators, Chairpersons and Executive Secretaries of 16 Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSPs) as well as representatives of relevant multilateral environmental agreements, UN agencies and other organizations, a NOWPAP representative attended the 16th Global Meeting of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (GMRS) from 30 September to 1 October 2014 in Athens, Greece. 

The 16th GMRS focused on strengthening the role of RSPs in implementing the Sustainable Development Goal on Oceans set at Rio+20, fostering Global Partnership on Marine Litter and developing a roadmap for RSPs for the next 10 years and beyond.

The NOWPAP representative reported to the meeting the progress made by NOWPAP contributing to the Regional Seas Strategic Directions agreed upon in 2012, and discussed with some Regional Seas colleagues (HELCOM, MAP and OSPAR) possible cooperation in developing the Ecological Quality Objectives for the NOWPAP region.

For more details, please check the links:

http://www.iisd.ca/oceans/rscap/2014/; http://www.unep.org/regionalseas/globalmeetings/default_ns.asp

(released on 7 October 2014)
2014 NOWPAP ICC campaign and workshop

2014 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) was organized in Boryeong, Republic of Korea on 25-26 September 2014.

The annual event comprised a beach cleanup campaign and a workshop on marine litter management.  NOWPAP marine litter focal points,  representatives of national and local governments in the NOWPAP remember states (China, Korea, Japan and Russia), NOWPAP partners of GPA, PEMSEA and GESAMP, universities, academic institutes and environmental NGOs participated in the event.

Opened by the Minster of the Oceans and Fisheries of Korea (MOF), the beach cleanup brought also several hundreds of local school kids and citizens who joined NOWPAP participants to collect and classify the marine litter on the beach and record in the ICC data cards.

The marine litter workshop was opened by the Deputy Minister of MOF and attended by about 50 participants, featuring management efforts by central and local governments, best practices in dealing with sea-based marine litter and international cooperation.

During the 2014 NOWPAP ICC, a brief working meeting was organized in which NOWPAP marine litter focal points and representatives of NOWPAP regional activities centers reviewed the progress made on marine litter management by NOWPAP members and shared information regarding the implementation of the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter for 2014-2015.

(released on 29 September 2014)
NOWPAP RCU staff joined local beach cleanup efforts

Staff members of NOWPAP RCU in Toyama joined school kids, university students and local citizens in beach cleanup on 17 September 2014.  This event was organized by the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Centre (NPEC) as part of their marine litter monitoring programme which has been implemented for several years by Japan, China, Korea and Russia.  The marine litter collected on the beach was sorted and recorded.  The most predominant litter was plastic (more than 80%), followed by polystyrene and then metal.

(released on 18 September 2014) 
12th POMRAC Focal Points Meeting and Workshop

NOWPAP Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Centre (POMRAC) convened its 12th Focal Points Meeting on 4-5 September 2014 in Busan.  POMRAC focal points and experts of Japan, Republic of Korea and Russia as well as representatives of CEARAC and MERRAC attended the meeting.  Representatives of NOWPAP partners - OSPAR, PEMSEA, PICES and YSLME - participated as observers.  The meeting reviewed the activities implemented since the 11th POMRAC Focal Points Meeting and discussed the implementation plans for the POMRAC activities in 2014 and 2015, including development of ecological quality objectives (EcoQOs) for the NOWPAP region, capacity building on integrated coastal and river basin management and public awareness raising on marine litter problem.  Prior to the meeting, a workshop was convened on 3 September 2014 on setting EcoQOs for the region where NOWPAP partners played an important role sharing their experience and expertise.

(released on 5 September 2014)

Korea increased annual contribution
As pledged at the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting, Korea increased its annual financial contribution to the NOWPAP Trust Fund to USD 125,000 (from previous level of USD 100,000). With the continuous efforts made by the NOWPAP member states in the past years, NOWPAP is currently only short of USD 25, 000 in meeting the target annual contribution to the Trust Fund of USD 500,000.
 (released on 16 July 2014)
Donors approached for possible funding
The Toyota Environment Activity Fund, the Nippon Foundation and Toyota Foundation were approached by a representative of NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) in May and June for possible funding of projects to be implemented by experts from the NOWPAP region. Through attending a workshop of the Toyota Environment Activity Fund and visits in person to the offices of the Nippon Foundation and Toyota Foundation in Tokyo, details of their donor programmes, including focal areas and application schedules, have become available which will be useful for the development of project proposals initiated by the NOWPAP RCU.
 (released on 16 July 2014)
Implementation plans agreed at three RACs Focal Points Meetings
Three of the four NOWPAP regional activity centers (MERRAC, DINRAC and CEARAC) have convened their focal points meetings (FPMs) in June-July 2014 in Daejeon, Korea, Beijing, China, and Toyama, Japan, respectively. While reviewing the activities carried out since their previous FPMs, the focal points of MERRAC, DINRAC and CEARAC discussed and agreed on the implementation plans for the activities and projects to be implemented in 2014-2015 biennium which were approved by the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) in December 2013.

For CEARAC:
• Pilot assessment of impacts of major threats to marine biodiversity in selected sea areas.
• Trial application of the screening procedure of the NOWPAP common procedure for eutrophication assessment.
• Case studies of sea grass mapping in selected sea areas.

For DINRAC:
• Annual update of existing DINRAC databases and website pages.
• Collection of information on endangered/threatened marine species in the NOWPAP region.

For MERRAC:
• NOWPAP DELTA exercise (full-scale oil spill response exercise) in Russia.
• Database update on oil and HNS spill response equipment and experts.
• Development of an online pollution reporting system.
• Risk assessment of oil spill incidents.

In addition, the three RACs will carry out activities related to marine litter according to the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI), covering case studies of marine litter management in river basin, distribution and impact of floating marine litter, and enriching database on marine litter. In order to enhance cooperation between NOWPAP and its major partners, the RAC focal points as well as representatives from PICES, NEASPEC, YSLME, and IOC WESTPAC exchanged information and discussed ways of collaboration in the future, including co-convening workshops.

POMRAC will have its FPM in September 2014 in Busan, Korea.
 (released on 16 July 2014)
NOWPAP at EAS Partnership Council Meeting
 In order to strengthen the relationships with the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), NOWPAP RCU representative attended the 6th East Asian Seas (EAS) Partnership Council Meeting held on 23-24 June 2014 in Manila, the Philippines. Many NOWPAP activities are contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia adopted in 2003 by PEMSEA countries and NOWPAP has served as a non-country member of the EAS Partnership Council since 2007. The NOWPAP representative made a presentation at the meeting on NOWPAP activities and discussed possible joint activities between NOWPAP and PEMSEA in 2014 and 2015. As a result, PEMSEA will send an expert to participate in the NOWPAP POMRAC workshop on Ecological Quality Objectives to be held in Busan in September 2014, and PEMSEA experts have also reviewed the drat ICARM Guidelines prepared by NOWPAP POMRAC. In 2015, PEMSEA and NOWPAP POMRAC are expected to organize a joint training course on ICARM.

 
 (released on 16 July 2014)
Two workshops convened for Regional Seas
UNEP convened two technical workshops from 30 June to 4 July 2014 in Geneva which a NOWPAP representative attended together with other participants from individual Regional Seas Programmes and relevant international organizations.

The technical workshop on selecting indicators for the state of Regional Seas marked the starting point of setting a “core set” of indicators to be used by the Regional Seas to assess the state of marine environment, pressures, response, etc. A plan of NOWPAP POMRAC to develop of the Ecological Quality Objectives for the NOWPAP region was introduced during the workshop.

The visioning workshop for the future of Regional Seas was designed to get a preliminary consensus among individual Regional Seas programmes regarding their possible areas of work in the coming 5-10-40 years. After a few plenary and breakout sessions, four broad areas were agreed upon for the next 10 years (and probably beyond); a) ecosystem services (with focus on extraction of living and non-living resources); b) pollution; c) governance; and d) climate change impacts (including ocean acidification).

 
 (released on 16 July 2014)
SOMER-2 published
The second State of the Marine Environment Report (SOMER-2) for the NOWPAP region has recently been published. The SOMER-2 has been prepared by NOWPAP POMRAC in collaboration with other three NOWPAP RACs, based on the first State of Marine Environment Report (published in 2007) and taking into account developments in recent years. The SOMER-2 presents the current status of marine environment, assessing the marine and coastal areas of the NOWPAP region by analyzing major marine environmental problems and issues including contamination by hazardous substances through atmospheric deposition as well as river and direct inputs, oil and chemical spills, harmful algal blooms, marine litter, non-indigenous and invasive species, habitat transformation, endangered species, and climate change impacts.
 (released on 16 July 2014)
Impacts of Global Warming on Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in the Northwest Pacific
Initiated by NOWPAP and sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), the project “Impacts of Global Warming on Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in the Northwest Pacific” has been completed recently. Led by Professor Sukgeun Jung from Jeju National University, the experts from China, Japan, Korea and Russia conducted in 2012-2014 retrospective analysis of climate and oceanographic data collected during the past 40 years. The experts tried to forecast changes in potential production and habitat ranges of major commercial fish species and tried also to evaluate risks and vulnerabilities, induced by climate change, in fishery-dependent sectors of economy across NOWPAP countries.

The project confirmed that a strong climatically induced ecosystem regime shift has occurred in the NOWPAP region in the late 1980s. The project found also that the habitat ranges of five of the several commercially important fish species examined (Horse mackerel, Pacific sardine, Common squid, Spanish mackerel and Yellowtail), will shift 20-70 km poleward between the years of 2000 and 2030. It was concluded that the distribution range of large pelagic species will be more affected by ocean warming comparing with small pelagic species.

It is expected that artisanal and coastal fisheries will become less competitive than industrialized fisheries in adapting to possible climate–driven range shifts. Therefore, more attention should be paid to artisanal, small-scale fisheries while developing fisheries policies related to climate change adaptation in the region.
 (released on 19 May 2014)
Northwest Pacific Regional Node of the Global Partnership for Marine Litter (GPML)
With the support of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), a regional node of the GPML will be co-hosted by the Northwest Pacific Environmental Cooperation Centre (NPEC) and NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU). Based on the networks already established by NPEC and NOWPAP as well as the experience obtained from the implementation of the marine litter related activities, the northwest Pacific GPML regional node is expected to play the following roles:

• Further developing regional marine litter networks, maintaining communication and coordination across relevant stakeholders, convening regional learning and collaboration events, including workshops and topic-specific events, such as beach cleanup campaigns;
• Providing information to the GPML Secretariat on regional priorities;
• Facilitating technical collaboration and coordination of marine litter activities in the region and support activities of key GPML partners.

For contributing to the GPML regional node, a special website is being developed with the financial support from GPA to share information and reports on marine litter in English and four languages of the NOWPAP countries. The activities planned under the framework of NPEC and NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter will also contribute to the development of the regional node, including, among others, annual International Coastal Cleanup campaign and workshop; monitoring marine litter quantities, composition and distribution; regular assessment of marine litter situation; and development of technical reports and guidelines.
 (released on 23 April 2014)
First Extraordinary Intergovernmental Meeting of NOWPAP
NOWPAP convened its first Extraordinary Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) on 9-10 April 2014 in Seoul, Republic of Korea to discuss possible measures to address financial sustainability of the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) offices in Toyama and Busan. Representatives of member states (China, Korea, Japan and Russia) as well as UNEP Headquarters attended the two-day special meeting which was requested by the chairperson of the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting. As the resolutions of the 18th IGM have been adopted by the member states through correspondence, approving the 2014-2015 NOWPAP programme of work, the extraordinary IGM focused on the issue of RCU restructuring aiming to keep the staffing costs within the current contributions of two RCU host countries (Japan and Korea). After intensive discussions, the meeting has decided to reduce the total number of RCU UNEP staff members to four. The functions of the new posts for the two RCU offices will be discussed at next ordinary IGM which is scheduled for late 2014 in Russia.

 
 (released on 16 April 2014)
NOWPAP Developments
By the end of 2013, several reports have been developed and published by NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers and partners.

With the generous support from the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, three reports related to marine litter management were prepared: a) National Report of China’s Environmental NGOs role in Marine Litter Control; b) Promotion of Best Practices for Minimizing Marine Litter in Fisheries, Aquaculture and Shipping; and c) Best Practices for Prevention of Marine Litter Input from Land-based Sources in the NOWPAP Region. Based on the last two reports, brochures for general public were prepared and translated into four NOWPAP languages in addition to English (for wide dissemination and use of best practices).

Under the leadership of Dr. Konstantin A. Lutaenko, experts from NOWPAP member countries collected information on marine invasive species (MIS) in the region and compiled an atlas of MIS. The recently completed Atlas contains information about taxonomic and common names, maps of regional distribution, possible origins and ways of introduction, and bibliographies related to 79 species of marine organisms, including 15 species of plants (macroalgae, vascular plants and phytoplankton) and 64 species of animals in the NOWPAP region.
 (released on 24 January 2014)