China Japan Korea Russia
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)
18th NOWPAP IGM in Toyama
The 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) was convened on 4-6 December 2013 in Toyama, Japan. Delegates from NOWPAP member states (China, Japan, Korea and Russia) attended the meeting. Directors of NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres, representatives from UNEP Headquarters and NOWPAP partners (PICES and YSLME) also participated in the meeting. The meeting reviewed the progress of NOWPAP implementation for the last two years and discussed the workplan and budget for the biennium of 2014-2015. Member states agreed on the scale of contribution to the NOWPAP Trust Fund for the next two years reflecting increased Korea contribution starting from 2014. The meeting approved the Agreement of cooperation with International Maritime Organization (IMO) granting NOWPAP observer status at the IMO meetings and conferences. Activities on marine litter and a suggestion to organize a symposium next year to mark the 20th anniversary of NOWPAP were agreed upon. However, some important decisions were not made and member states will continue discussions through correspondence. In this connection, an extraordinary Intergovernmental Meeting might be convened before June of 2014 in Korea. The next regular NOWPAP IGM will be held in Russia in 2014.

In conjunction with the 18th NOWPAP IGM, Toyama Prefecture and the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center (NPEC) organized a symposium on international cooperation for the environment and the representatives of UNEP and NOWPAP delivered key speeches on global initiatives on oceans and NOWPAP activities under the framework of UNEP Regional Seas Programme.
 (released on 10 December 2013)
NOWPAP is supporting a session on marine debris at 2014 PICES Annual Meeting
A proposal on organizing a topic session “Marine debris in the Pacific Ocean: sources, transport, fate and effects of macro- and micro-plastics” has been approved by PICES Science Board for the next year PICES Annual Meeting to be held on 17-26 October 2014 in Yeosu, Korea. NOWPAP together with the Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution (GESAMP) will be co-sponsoring the session which is designed to address growing threat of marine litter through presenting the status and trends associated with plastic debris pollution as well as its environmental consequences and possible management actions.
 (released on 25 November 2013)
NOWPAP/PICES Joint Training Course on Remote Sensing Data Analysis in Qingdao
Jointly sponsored by NOWPAP and PICES, the Training Course on Remote Sensing Data Analysis was organized on 21-25 October 2013 in Qingdao, China by the NOWPAP Special Monitoring & Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC). With the help of local organizers of the Ocean Remote Sensing Institute of Ocean University of China and the Chinese National Environmental Monitoring Centre (CNEMC) of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the training course was conducted for 23 trainees from China, Japan, Korea, Canada, Cameroon and Oman. The trainees, including postgraduate students, professional researchers and local government officers whose work/studies are related to the marine environment, were selected among 73 applicants by the Organizing Committee. 7 trainers from the NOWPAP countries of China, Japan, Korea and Russia as well as from Germany and USA delivered lectures on remote sensing applications for monitoring and assessment of the marine and coastal environment in the Northwest Pacific. For more details please check here.

 (released on 22 November 2013)
2013 NOWPAP ICC in Okinawa
2013 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) and Workshop on Marine Litter management were successfully organized jointly by the non-profit organization (NPO) Okinawa Ocean Culture and Environment Action Network and NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit from 24 to 26 October 2013 in Okinawa, Japan. Sponsored by NOWPAP, Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) and Japanese Government, the 2013 NOWPAP ICC workshop convened at the campus of Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology has brought about 100 participants from NOWPAP countries of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation as well as countries beyond NOWPAP region such as Estonia, Indonesia, Philippines, United States and Thailand. NOWPAP marine litter focal points and other participants from governments, academic institutions, international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) shared their practices in addressing marine litter problem, including raising public awareness and promoting ICC campaigns worldwide. The workshop was focused on four themes stressing the efforts of NGOs, local and central governments, latest developments in research and monitoring, and international cooperation. (Presentations are available here)

After the workshop, a beach cleanup was organized at two beaches where the workshop participants with local people collected marine litter items, sorted them out and recorded in the ICC data cards which will be reported to Ocean Conservancy for compilation in the annual report.

 (released on 30 October 2013)
POMRAC and CEARAC Focal Points Meetings
The Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Centre (POMRAC) and Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC) have organized respectively their 11th Focal Points Meeting on 9-10 October 2013 in Tianjin, China and on 11-12 September 2013 in Toyama, Japan. Both POMRAC and CEARAC Focal Points and experts reviewed the progresses made since the previous Focal Points Meetings, discussed and agreed on the work plans and budgets for 2014-2015 to be submitted for approval by the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting to be held in December. Main activities planned for the next biennium are as follows:

  • Development of ecological quality objectives (EQOs) for the NOWPAP region (which will involve three other NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres), and
  • Application of regional guidelines for integrated coastal planning management through training, in cooperation with NOWPAP partner, PEMSEA.
  • Pilot assessment of the impacts of major threats to marine biodiversity in selected sea areas in the NOWPAP region,
  • Trial application of the screening procedure of the NOWPAP Common Procedure for eutrophication assessment, and
  • Case studies of sea grass and seaweed mapping in selected sea areas in the NOWPAP region.
 (released on 17 October 2013)
NOWPAP at Global Meeting of Regional Seas and Second Global Land-Ocean Connections Conference
NOWPAP representative attended the 15th Global Meeting of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (GMRS) held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 30 September – 1 October 2013. The Second Global Land-Ocean Connections Conference (GLOC-2) was held at the same venue on 2-4 October where work plans of three global partnerships (on marine litter, nutrients and wastewater) were discussed in detail.

The GMRS was attended by Coordinators or Executive Secretaries of 9 Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans as well as by representatives of several multilateral environmental agreements and relevant agencies and initiatives: CBD, FAO, Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO), GRID-Arendal, IMO, IOC-UNESCO, UN DOALOS, etc. In 2014, UNEP Regional Seas Programme will celebrate its 40th anniversary and the next GMRS will be held in Croatia, hosted by the Mediterranean Action Plan.

GLOC-2 was attended by more than 200 participants from about 70 countries. Unfortunately, there were no participants from China, Japan, Korea and Russia (except two international NGOs based in Hong Kong/San Francisco). NOWPAP poster, leaflet and a “speed presentation” were focused on NOWPAP efforts addressing marine litter. After a side event organized by the GPO introducing their pollution component and working group, NW Pacific was added to focal regions where the GPO will implement their activities related to marine pollution (marine litter, nutrients and wastewater).

 (released on 17 October 2013)
UNEP Administrative Management Meeting 2013
UNEP 2013 Administrative Management Meeting was held on 16-19 September 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted jointly by UNEP and UNON. This biennial meeting addressed introduction of the new accounting standard, IPSAS (from January 2014), and launch of the new Enterprise Resource Planning system, Umoja (expected in summer 2014). The meeting also covered various issues of finance, legal instruments, human resources, procurement, travel policies, and others. Three NOWPAP RCU administrative staff members have attended the meeting in order to enhance their administrative knowledge and skills as well as to learn best practices of other out-posted offices as well as UNEP and UNON. Taking this opportunity, the staff members also took IPSAS Intermediate Training Course on 23-24 September. DEPI and OfO of UNEP provided travel support for two RCU staff members.

 (released on 17 October 2013)
CEARAC Expert Meeting
NOWPAP Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC) organized the Expert Meeting on Marine Biodiversity and Eutrophication on 5-6 August 2013 in Toyama, Japan. Experts from NOWPAP member states (China, Korea, Japan and Russia) together with representatives from the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) and Japan Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF) participated in the meeting. The expert meeting reviewed ongoing activities carried out under the 2012-2013 CEARAC work plan on eutrophication and marine protected areas (MPAs) and discussed new proposals to be presented to the 11th CEARAC Focal Points Meeting in September 2013. The suggested activities for CEARAC for 2014-2015 will focus on:
- Trial application of the screening procedure for eutrophication assessment;
- Pilot assessment of marine biodiversity degradation;
- Seagrass and seaweed mapping using remote sensing
 (released on 12 August 2013)
DINRAC convened its 11th Focal Points Meeting
NOWPAP Data and Information Network Regional Activity Center (DINRAC) held its 11th Focal Points Meeting on 24-25 July 2013 in Beijing, China. The goals of this meeting were to review ongoing projects, discuss suggested activities for 2014-2015 and agree on the work plan and budget for the 2014-2015 biennium (to be approved by the 18th NOWPAP IGM in December 2013). Among other issues, compilation of major marine environmental data on DINRAC website and preparation of an Atlas on marine invasive species were discussed in detail (Atlas is expected to be published at the end of 2013). In 2014-2015, DINRAC will undertake the following activities:
- Continue visualization of DINRAC website;
- Collect information on endangered marine species in the NOWPAP region;
- Continue preparation of annual summaries of major marine environment data; and
- Continue updating existing DINRAC databases.

 (released on 30 July 2013)
Partnership with PEMSEA enhanced
As a non-country member of the East Asian Seas (EAS) Partnership Council, NOWPAP representative attended the 5th EAS Partnership Council Meeting on 9-10 July 2013 in Manila, Philippines and delivered a presentation summarizing the current NOWPAP activities contributing to the 5-year implementation plan for the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia. Possible joint cooperative activities between NOWPAP and PEMSEA were also suggested: on integrated coastal and river basin management, marine litter management, eutrophication assessment, regional oil spill preparedness and response, etc. PEMSEA representatives were invited to attend meetings organized by NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres in July-October 2013.
 (released on 17 July 2013)
MERRAC organized Focal Points Meeting
NOWPAP Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre (MERRAC) held its 16th Focal Points Meeting and the 8th Competent National Authority Meeting on 17-21 June 2013 in Incheon, Republic of Korea.

The meeting reviewed MERRAC activities being implemented since May 2012 and discussed the work plan and budget for 2014-2015 which will be submitted for approval to the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting to be held in December 2013. In the next two years, MERRAC will continue to implement various activities related to the NOWPAP Regional Oil and Hazardous and Noxious Substance Spill Contingency Plan as well as sea-based marine litter.

 (released on 08 July 2013)
NOWPAP at 8th Global Gathering
NOWPAP participated in the Global Gathering 2013 in Busan, Republic of Korea, displaying UNEP and NOWPAP posters, brochures, publications and promotional items to the public on 25 May 2013. This annual event with the theme of “come together, get together”, organized by the Busan Foundation for International Activities with support of Busan metropolitan city has brought diplomatic missions, international organizations, academic, cultural and social institutions based in Busan to showcase their activities for promoting international exchanges. A total of 86 exhibitors representing 27 countries and regions participated in this event. The marine litter activities shown in the NOWPAP booth drew many visitors’ attention. Among 149 booths set up there, NOWPAP was designated by the organizer as one of the seven booths for Stamp Rally for raffle draws at the end of the event.

 (released on 28 May 2013)
2013 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup and Workshop
At the 18th Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) of the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) held on 10-12 April 2013 in Kobe, Japan, a proposal submitted by Okinawa Ocean Culture & Environment Action Network in collaboration with NOWPAP on promoting International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) was accepted for funding. Taking advantage of generous contribution from the Japanese government as well as APN funding, the 2013 NOWPAP ICC and Workshop on Marine Litter Management will be organized in Okinawa, Japan on 24-26 October 2013. Expected participants to the event are from each NOWPAP member state, including marine litter focal points, representatives of central and local authorities, research institutions and universities, non-governmental and other relevant organizations, preferably involved in the implementation of NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter or waste management. NOWPAP neighbouring countries and partner organizations dealing with marine litter issues will be also invited.

 (released on 17 April 2013)
Marine Litter Forum
NOWPAP representative attended the Forum on 14-15 March in Tokyo which was organized by JEAN (Japan Environmental Action Network). The Forum reviewed the implementation of the ‘Law for the Promotion of Marine Litter Disposal’ enacted in 2009 in Japan and the role of NGOs in raising public awareness on marine litter and galvanizing local actions, as demonstrated by JEAN and Ocean Conservancy (OC) involvement in the implementation of a Japanese government-sponsored project dealing with the 2011 tsunami-generated marine debris.
Using the opportunity, the NOWPAP representative had a group talk with JEAN, OC, Our Sea of East Asia Network (OSEAN) and Okinawa Ocean Culture and Environment Action Network (OCEAN) to share an idea of creating a webpage at the NOWPAP website to highlight the NGOs efforts in the region. As the NGO representatives welcomed such idea, the webpage has been created (http://www.nowpap.org/ML-NGOs.php). They were also updated on the preparation of the NOWPAP ICC and the workshop in Okinawa in October 2013 including a NGO session suggested.

 (released on 3 April 2013)
NOWPAP and NEASPEC jointly organized the Workshop on Marine Biodiversity Conservation and Marine Protected Areas in the Northwest Pacific on 13-14 March 2013 in Toyama, Japan.

The workshop brought together focal points and experts from both NOWPAP and NEASPEC member states of People’s Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation as well as representatives from international organizations: Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) and IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (IOC WESTPAC).

The first day of the workshop was focused on sharing information on marine environmental assessments for marine biodiversity conservation and the current status of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the member states. During the second day, after hearing further updates on MPAs by NEASPEC experts, participants discussed MPA networking, including possible operation modalities.

The workshop agreed that both NOWPAP and NEASPEC should work together in the development and implementation of their respective projects toward the common goal of protecting the marine biodiversity in the region and coordinate with other organizations and projects such as YSLME, PEMSEA and WWF.
 (released on 22 March 2013)
NOWPAP at North Pacific Regional Workshop on EBSAs
The North Pacific Regional Workshop to Facilitate the Description of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) was convened by the Convention of Biological Diversity Secretariat in Moscow, Russia, from 25 February to 1 March 2013 in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP), the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), and the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC). NOWPAP representative and experts from its member states (Republic of Korea, Japan and Russia) attended the workshop together with participants from other countries and international organizations.

The workshop was tasked to describe areas meeting the scientific criteria for EBSAs or other relevant criteria based on best available scientific information. From the NOWPAP region, Japanese experts shared their experiences in applying the scientific criteria for EBSAs in their jurisdiction and Russian experts suggested marine areas meeting EBSAs criteria within the Russian national jurisdiction, including Peter the Great Bay as well as Moneron island shelf in the NOWPAP sea area. Participants also indentified gaps and needs for future elaboration in describing EBSAs, including the need for building scientific capacity and enhancing future scientific collaboration.

 (released on 8 March 2013)
NOWPAP financial sustainability enhanced further
NOWPAP is pleased to announce that the Chinese Government has decided to increase its annual contribution to the NOWPAP Trust Fund to USD 100,000 from the current level of USD 40,000. In this connection, NOWPAP is one step forward in reaching the target amount of half a million dollars which was set up by member states. With the increased contribution, NOWPAP is able to support more activities agreed upon by the member states.

 (released on 13 February 2013)
NOWPAP at a Workshop on Regional Marine Environmental Cooperation
NOWPAP representatives attended the workshop held in Seoul on 23 January 2013 where the issue of marine environmental cooperation among several projects and programmes in the East Asia was discussed. This workshop was organized by the Center for Climate and Sustainable Development Law and Policy, Korea University, with the support of Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology. The outcomes of this workshop are expected to be presented to the “transition committee” of the newly elected ROK President.

 (released on 30 January 2013)
Call on Toyama Prefectural Government
NOWPAP representative paid a courtesy call on the Toyama Prefectural Government on 16 January 2013 to deliver the New Year greetings and sincere thanks for the support offered by the host government to NOWPAP office in Toyama. It was learned that the Prefectural Government is planning to have a symposium back to back with the 18th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting in December 2013 for which it is also the host.

 (released on 16 January 2013)
Invited as an observer, NOWPAP representative attended the 17th Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the North-East Asian Sub-regional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) held on 20-21 December 2012 in Chengdu, China. As all NOWPAP member states are also members of NEASPEC, NOWPAP has been watching closely the developments of NEASPEC in order to find issues of mutual interest for cooperative activities and to avoid any possible duplicated efforts in the region.

As the meeting approved a proposal for launching a project on Northeast Asian marine protected areas (MPAs) network to which NOWPAP has contributed during the preparation of the project proposal, NEASPEC has been invited to co-organize a workshop on marine biodiversity conservation and marine protected areas to be hosted by the NOWPAP Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre on 13-14 March 2013 in Toyama, Japan. NEASPEC has suggested one session and will dispatch experts to the workshop, which will be held as a joint event of NOWPAP and NEASPEC.

 (released on 11 January 2013)