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      UNEP at Work
UNEP at work

UNEP undertakes a wide range of activities in promoting and facilitating the development and uptake of clean technology. Here are a couple of recent examples. For further examples of UNEP’s climate change work visit www.unep.org/unite/30Ways

New legal weapon to combat Caribbean marine pollution

The Caribbean Sea is a natural resource of great importance. It is home to a diverse population of species, it supports tourism, fisheries, transportation, trade and recreation, and forms the lifeblood of Caribbean Small Island Developing States.

Alas, its fragile, vulnerable coastal and marine ecosystems are under threat from human activities. Over 80 per cent of the Caribbean Seaís pollution originates from land-based sources, and over 75 per cent of domestic wastewater enters the Sea untreated.

Since 1992, UNEP has facilitated discussions between Governments and regional experts to address these problems. As a result, in 1983, 28 countries adopted the only legally binding regional agreement for the protection and development of the marine environment in the Wider Caribbean Region Ė the Cartagena Convention. The Conventionís three technical protocols promote biodiversity conservation, oil spills prevention and reducing land-based sources of pollution.

The Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol), adopted in 1999, is considered by many to be the most significant agreement of its kind ó it establishes regional effluent limitations for domestic water and requires countries to institute national plans to address non-point sources of pollution. The LBS Protocol formally entered into force in 2010.

The Protocol has already catalysed the development and implementation of several national and regional projects on integrated management of watersheds and coastal areas, reducing pesticide run-off in Central America, and developing a prototype regional fund for wastewater management.

This work has been led by the Caribbean Environment Programme and Convention Secretariat, which come under the auspices of UNEPís Regional Seas Programme.



NOWPAP Ė Aiming for a litter-free north-west Pacific

The northwest Pacific region features coastal and island ecosystems with spectacular marine life and commercially important fishing resources. The region is also one of the most densely populated parts of the world, resulting in enormous pressures and demands on the environment.

The wise use, development and management of the marine and coastal environment in this important region is at the heart of UNEPís North-west Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP). The Plan aims to secure the regionís sustainability for future generations while achieving long-term benefits for the human populations living there.

Addressing marine litter is one of NOWPAPís key initiatives. In 2005 NOWPAP commenced its Marine Litter Activity, which resulted in the development of a Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter. Since 2008 the implementation of this action plan has been underway in cooperation with local Governments and authorities and other partners.

The marine litter activities have created a positive impact in the region by building awareness and prompting actions to address marine litter in the NOWPAP member countries. Results include improved national legislation, establishment of national marine litter programmes, the implementation of international coastal cleanup campaigns and workshops, development of guidelines and technical reports on preventing and collecting marine litter, and the establishment of a monitoring database.

NOWPAP, the full name of which is The Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the North-west Pacific Region was adopted in 1994 as a part of Regional Seas Programme, and it contributes to one of UNEPís signature initiatives, the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities.