China Japan Korea Russia

NOWPAP at East Asian Seas Congress 2015

Partnerships in Environmental Management of the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) organized the 2015 East Asian Seas Congress in Da Nang, Vietnam, on 16-20 November 2015 and NOWPAP participated in the Congress as a non-country partner of PEMSEA.  In addition to attending an East Asian Seas Partnership Council meeting, a Ministerial Forum of PEMSEA member states, and several special events and workshops during the Congress, NOWPAP set up an exhibition booth to showcase its activities with posters, publications and promotional items.

With approval by the Ministerial Forum of the new (revised) Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS SEA) with strategic targets for 2016-2021, NOWPAP is expected to further enhance the relationship with PEMSEA through cooperative activities such as having joint training course on Integrated Coastal Management, linking PEMSEA “knowledge bank” with NOWPAP databases, etc.

(Released on 16 November 2015)

NOWPAP promotion

On 8 November 2015, NOWPAP set up a booth at Toyama International Festival introducing NOWPAP activitis to the visitors.   Joning other organzitions based in Toyama, NOWPAP particiated in the annual event which was aimed at promotinng cultural exchange between the local people and foreign expatriates living in Toyama.


On 11 November 2015, NOWPAP RCU staff members attended the 12th meeting of the Sub-Committee on Environment of the Association of the North East Asia Regional Governments (NEAR) and delivered a presentation introducing NOWPAP and its activities.  With overlapping membership, NOWPAP has been in touch with NEAR exchanging information during the NEAR Sub-Committee meetings organized every two years in Toyama.  It was agreed at this year meeting that the following projects would be conducted in 2016 through the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Centre (NPEC), the host of NOWPAP CEARAC:

1. Ecological symposium for school kids in Vladivostok (in conjunction with the 10th "Nature without borders" Forum).

2. Marine litter monitoring and marine litter art classes (continued).

3. Exhibition of ecological posters (prepared by kids) in Korea.  

4. Pilot biodiversity surveys (Toyama Prefecture and Primorsky Kray).

In addition, as a contribution from NEAR to a G7 environment ministers meeting in Toyama in May 2016, the second Northeast Asia Environmental Forum will be also held in May 2016.

(Released on 12 November 2015)
20th NOWPAP IGM held in Beijing

The 20th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) was held on 28-30 October 2015 in Beijing, China.  The meeting was attended by representatives of the NOWPAP Member States (the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation).  Directors of the NOWPAP RACs, a representative of UNEP Headquarters and RCU staff members also attended the meeting.  A representative of the North Pacific Science Organization (PICES) attended the meeting as a NOWPAP partner.  

The meeting approved the report of the Executive Director of UNEP and the reports of four NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres on the progress for the implementation of NOWPAP activities during the 2014-2015 biennium. The meeting also approved the NOWPAP 2016-2017 Programme of Work including the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter budget for 2016-2017. The meeting decided to prepare the draft NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2018-2023 and to revise the Terms of Reference for NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit in 2016.  In order to help POMRAC with smooth implementation of its projects, the meeting decided to assign to DINRAC the responsibility of operating financial transactions for two POMRAC activities in 2016-2017.  

The 21st NOWPAP IGM will be held in the Republic of Korea late 2016.

(Released on 5 November 2015)
NOWPAP at 2015 PICES annual meeting

To follow up the recommendations from a meeting of the joint NOWPAP PICES study group in 2014 in Yeosu, Korea during the 2014 PICES annual meeting, NOWPAP actively participated in the 2015 PICES annual meeting held on 14-25 October 2015 in Qingdao, China, where NOWPAP cosponsored/convened the following events:

      PICES Marine Environmental Quality Committee (MEQ) Topic Session on Indicators of Emerging Pollution Issues in the North Pacific Ocean.

       Workshop on Contrasting Conditions for Success of Fish-killing Flagellates in the Western and Eastern Pacific — A comparative ecosystem approach.

       Workshop on Identifying Major Threats to Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems in the North Pacific.

      Workshop on Marine Environment Emergencies: Detection, monitoring, response, and impacts.

For those events above, 3 NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres (CEARAC, MERRAC and POMRAC) were involved in the preparation and NOWPAP as a whole has funded 9 participants as co-conveners or invited speakers.

During the annual meeting, NOWPAP Deputy Coordinator delivered a presentation at the MEQ meeting and Technical Committee on Data Exchange (TCODE) meeting respectively where cooperative activities between NOWPAP and PICES were introduced and continuation of cooperation was discussed. In this regard, PICES decided to participate in the 20th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting on 28-30 October 2015 in Beijing. 

(Released on 5 November 2015)

NOWPAP at a Global Meeting of Regional Seas

NOWPAP Coordinator attended the 17th Global Meeting of Regional Seas (GMRS) held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 20-22 October 2015.  Representatives of 13 Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAPs) as well as related Intergovernmental Organizations, Multilateral Environmental Agreements and UN agencies (such as CBD, FAO, IAEA, IOC UNESCO, UNDP and others) discussed issues related to conserving biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, relevance of recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to individual Regional Seas programmes, and other issues.  At the end of the meeting, participants adopted Regional Seas Strategic Directions for 2017-2020 along with four main “themes”: governance, pollution, climate change and extraction of living and non-living resources.  Possible input of individual RSCAPs to the Fourth Intergovernmental Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) was also discussed.  The next GMRS was suggested to be held in Abidjan in 2016.

After the GMRS, one day meeting of a Regional Seas Working Group on indicators was held.  Participants agreed on a draft core set of indicators which might be used to characterise the pressures and state of the marine environment in different regions.  Work plan for the next year has been also discussed and approved.

 (Released on 5 November 2015)


The 2015 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) and workshop on marine litter management were held on 24-25 September 2015 in Yantai China.  The workshop was organized as a joint event of NOWPAP and TEMM (Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Republic of Korea and Japan).  Participants who attended the workshop were NOWPAP marine litter focal points, ICC coordinators and representatives of NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres, NOWPAP partners (Ocean Conservancy and COBSEA), research institutions and environmental NGOs. The participants joined students from a local university in the beach clean up to promote ICC, collecting and recording marine litter items in the ICC data cards which will be submitted to Ocean Conservancy to compile a global report.

(Released on 5 October 2015)

RCU at a beach cleanup

Staff members of RCU Busan Office, continuing NOWPAP efforts to address marine litter problem, jointed local people on 18 September 2015 in Busan participating in a beach cleanup campaign.  Held at Songdo beach, the campaign started with a ceremony to mark the 2015 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) in Korea, followed by awarding those who made their great efforts on addressing the issue of marine litter.  A statement on marine litter was read at the beginning with the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries of Republic of Korea present.

(Released on 21 September 2015)

Toyama Tower 111 turns blue

Contacted and encouraged by NOWPAP RCU, the landmark building of Toyama - Tower 111 - which houses NOWPAP RCU Toyama Office has joined more than two dozen cities around the world for the Turn the World UN Blue Campaign to commemorate the 70th anniversary of United Nations.  Situated to the north of Toyama railway station, the highest building in Toyama (Japan) will be lit up in blue at the night and will attract attention of many visitors. 

(Released on 14 September 2015)

NOWPAP RACs preparing for the 2016-2017 biennium

CEARAC and MERRAC organized their Focal Points Meetings in the week of 24-28 August 2015 in Toyama, Japan and Busan, Korea, respectively.  In addition to reviewing the ongoing activities and projects, the focal points discussed and agreed upon new activities and projects for the next biennium, 2016-2017.  Although having difficulties with organizing its Focal Points Meeting in 2015, POMRAC is consulting focal points through email.   Beside routine activities to be continued from the current biennium, the major projects suggested for 2016-2017 are:

·     Development of a draft common procedure for assessment of the impacts of major pressures on marine biodiversity in the NOWPAP region (CEARAC).

·     Feasibility study towards assessment of seagrass distribution in the NOWPAP region (CEARAC).

·     Development of information sharing platform on oil and HNS spills in the NOWPAP region (MERRAC).

·     A full scale NOWPAP oil spill exercise (MERRAC).

·     Organization of regional workshop (training course) on Integrated Coastal Planning and Management (POMRAC).

·     Selection of targets and indicators for Ecological Quality Objectives for the NOWPAP region (POMRAC).

As DINRAC has also completed its Focal Points Meeting in July 2015, the activities and projects suggested by all RACs for the 2016-2017 NOWPAP Programme of Work will be submitted to the upcoming 20th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) in October 2015 in Beijing for approval.  In addition, each RAC will carry out relevant activities and projects within the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter.

(Released on 2 September 2015)

Joint TEMM-NOWPAP workshop on marine litter management

Synchronizing their efforts in combating marine litter, NOWPAP and TEMM will have the first joint TEMM-NOWPAP workshop on marine litter management on 24 September 2015 in Yantai, China as part of 2015 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup campaign.  As a high level regional cooperative mechanism established in 1999, the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM) among China, Japan and Korea has given marine litter a particular attention in recent TEMM communiqués (along with other environmental issues such as air quality, biodiversity, climate change response, etc.) and supported NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI).  At the joint workshop, one of presentations will outline new TEMM Action Plan on Environmental Cooperation (2015-2019), including marine litter.  Other presentations will be made by representatives of central and local governments of NOWPAP member states, research institutions, non-governmental organizations (including Ocean Conservancy from the US) and NOWPAP partners (such as Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, COBSEA).

(Released on 17 August 2015)

NOWPAP RCU Busan office received visitors

A group of newly recruited civil servants for marine conservation authorities in the Republic of Korea paid a visit to NOWPAP RCU Busan office on 27 July 2015 to learn about NOWPAP as part of their training.  The visitors were briefed on NOWPAP history, structure, major activities and implementation mechanism.

(Released on 27 July 2015)

NOWPAP at marine litter roundtable discussion

Representing UNEP, the NOWPAP Coordinator made a presentation on 24 July 2015 at a roundtable discussion in the Swiss Embassy in Tokyo to mark the port call of the “Race for Water Odyssey” expedition.  The NOWPAP Coordinator introduced UNEP efforts in dealing with marine litter starting from UNEP initiative on ML in 2003 (with regional and global ML assessments), the 5th International Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu in 2011 (with Honolulu Strategy and Honolulu Commitment adopted), and then GPML establishment at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012 (including online Marine Litter Network).  UNEA resolution on plastic debris and subsequent study were also mentioned along with major UNEP publications already produced and expected to be available in 2015-2016.  NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) was briefly introduced with a few examples.  Marine litter-related publications produced by NOWPAP in recent years were distributed at the meeting.

 (Released on 27 July 2015)

DINRAC plans for 2016-2017 biennium

The 13th Focal Points Meeting of the NOWPAP Data and Information Regional Activity Centre (DINRAC) was held on 9-10 July 2015 in Dalian, China.  DINRAC focal points and experts attended the meeting along with representatives from other three NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres (CEARAC, MERRAC and POMRAC).  Representatives of a local university and environmental NGO also attended as observers.  The meeting reviewed the progress of the implementation of the DINRAC activities in the current biennium (2014-2015) and agreed on the DINRAC work plan and budget for the next biennium (2016-2017).  The meeting discussed 8 project proposals prepared by the focal points of China, Japan and Russia, and (after careful consideration) agreed to submit the following four activities for approval by the 20th NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM):

  • Compilation of marine environmental standards used in the member states.

  • Development of DINRAC website including updating existing databases, and visualizing data through web-based GIS (continued from 2014-2015).

  • Compilation of major marine environmental data available in the member states (continued from 2014-2015).

  • Collection of data and information on threatened marine species (second phase of the project implemented in 2014-2015).

(Released on 27 July 2015)

RCU staff members trained for Umoja

Since 1 June 2015, new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, called “Umoja”, has been in place for UNEP and other UN agencies. Umoja is an administrative reform initiative designed to help UN operate more effectively by integrating and streamlining business processes that manage financial, human and physical resources within a single global solution for the entire UN system.  In order to prepare for the transition to the new system, one RCU staff member went to Nairobi for a 3-week training while other staff members got relevant training courses online.  Staff members now are able to perform basic functions on the system after numerous consultations with Umoja help team fixing the access problems encountered.   During the transition to Umoja, some business transactions in NOWPAP have been affected.


(Released on 3 July 2015)

NOWPAP at a GPML online conference

Two NOWPAP representatives joined other members of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) around the world in an online conference held on 26 June 2015.  During the conference, recent developments of GPML were shared by the GPML secretariat, including GPML Communication Strategy and a Marine Litter Massive Open Online Course to be launched in September 2015.  To promote GPML at regional level, NOWPAP has been hosting the GPML Northwest Pacific regional node since 2014.

 (Relased on 3 July 2015)

Lecture on marine litter at a university

Upon invitation, a representative of NOWPAP delivered a lecture on marine litter at the Toyama Prefectural University on 26 June 2015. Targeting a group of university students, the one hour lecture started with stressing the global threat of marine litter and then introducing the efforts against marine litter at both global and regional levels, including cooperation among NOWPAP members through the implementation of NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter.  The lecture will help students understand the issue of marine litter and relevant actions undertaken both in Japan and internationally.

(released on 29 June 2015)

NOWPAP at 10th Intergovernmental Session of IOC WESTPAC

A NOWPAP representative participated in the 10th Intergovernmental Session of UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (IOC WESTPAC) held on 12-15 May 2015 in Phuket, Thailand.  The meeting was attended by about 100 delegates from 15 IOC WESTPAC member states, including NOWPAP members of China, Japan, Korea and Russia.  The meeting reviewed and evaluated IOC WESTPAC existing regional programmes, projects and the activities of working groups carried out since its 9th Session held in 2012, discussed and approved new workplan for the next two years. 

A presentation was delivered by the NOWPAP representative introducing briefly NOWPAP in general and suggesting areas for possible cooperative activities in the next two years.  Among the WESTPAC ongoing projects/activities reviewed at the meeting, NEAR-GOOS, Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB), Remote Sensing for Habitat Mapping, Marine and Coastal Biodiversity are of interest to NOWPAP.  Exchanging information by experts from each organization and participating in meetings and workshops organized by the others were encouraged. The possible occasions for such exchanges include the Focal Points Meetings of NOWPAP DINRAC and CEARAC in July and August 2015, a workshop during the PICES Annual Meeting in October 2015 (co-convened by NOWPAP) and the NEAR-GOOS coordinating committee meeting later this year in Tokyo. Having joint activities with regional partners allows NOWPAP to avoid duplication, save financial resources and increase its visibility.

(released on 27 May 2015)

NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit restructured

At the second NOWPAP Extraordinary Intergovernmental Meeting (2nd EO IGM) held on 1-2 April 2015 in Seoul (Korea), member states decided to downgrade two posts in the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) following the earlier decision of reducing the number of staff members in RCU from 6 to 4 agreed at the 1st EO IGM in April 2014.  The restructured RCU will have a Coordinator at P5 level with a Programme Assistant at G6 level in RCU Toyama office and a Programme Officer at P3 level with a Team Assistant at G4 level in RCU Busan office.  Some functions lost from the RCU due to restructuring will be covered by support from UNEP Headquarters or by consultants at the cost to NOWPAP funds in the future. Recruitment of new RCU staff members will be initiated later this year and is expected to be completed by February 2016.

(released on 9 April 2015)

Preparation of 2nd extraordinary IGM

As decided by the member states at the 19th NOWPAP IGM held in October 2014, the 2nd Extraordinary Intergovernmental Meeting (EO IGM) will take place on 1-2 April 2015 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.  Documents for the meeting have been prepared and shared with NOWPAP member states who will continue the discussion on the restructuring of NOWPAP RCU.

(released on 4 March 2015)

NOWPAP adopted its financial rules and procedures

Agreed upon by the member states at the 19th NOWPAP IGM, the financial rules and procedures for the NOWPAP funds have become effective since 1 January 2015.  The adoption of the rules and procedures allows NOWPAP to establish working capital reserve for NOWPAP accounts in order to guarantee the financial liquidity and integrity of the funds.  In addition, it requires certain documents to be accessible online, such as programme of work and budget, financial statements, status of pledges and contributions, and audit reports.  These documents are now available here.

(released on 4 March 2015)

NOWPAP cosponsors a session and workshops with PICES

A special topic session on indicators of emerging pollution issues in the North Pacific Ocean during the PICES 2015 annual meeting to be held in October 2015 in Qingdao, China is under preparation and NOWPAP will be a cosponsor by financially supporting several participants.  Selection of the candidate speakers is underway through NOWPAP POMRAC and coordination with PICES is undertaken by the RCU.  In addition, NOWPAP CEARAC and MERRAC will co-convene respectively two workshops on identifying major threats to marine biodiversity and ecosystems and on marine environment emergencies—detection, monitoring, response and impacts.

(released on 4 March 2015)

Lecture about NOWPAP activities at a local high school

On 14 January 2015, NOWPAP Coordinator provided a lecture to students of Takaoka High School which was designated as one of Super Global High Schools by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.  The students were lectured on marine environment issues in the Northeast Asia and NOWPAP projects addressing these issues.  Some students expressed their interest in working for the United Nations in the future.


(released on 19 January 2015)