Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 33: Sea of Japan

  • Major intergovernmental agreements and actors
  • Action programmes, strategies, and research
  • State of the regional environment
  • GEF Projects in the region
  • Other actors and initiatives

    Major intergovernmental agreements and actors

    North Pacific Marine Science Organization, PICES
    PICES is an intergovernmental scientific organization. It was established in 1992 and its present members are Canada, People's Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States of America. The purposes of PICES are to promote and coordinate marine research in the northern North Pacific and adjacent seas especially northward of 30 degrees North; to advance scientific knowledge about the ocean environment, global weather and climate change, living resources and their ecosystems, and the impacts of human activities; and to promote the collection and rapid exchange of scientific information on these issues.

    UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP
    Within the Water Resources Programme under its Environment and Natural Resources Development Division, the UN ESCAP organizes seminars and workshops on various issues relating to water resources, including: Water resources assessment; Integrated water resources development and management; Protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; River basin development and management; Promotion of infrastructure development and investment for drinking water supply and sanitation; Water pricing and promotion of private investment in the water sector; Water demand management, water saving and economic use of water; and Mitigation of water-related natural disasters, particularly flood loss reduction.

    UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, ROAP
    Working closely with the Division of Regional Co-operation and Representation in UNEP's Nairobi-based headquarters, the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) looks to adopt global environmental policy to regional priorities and needs. It acts as a catalyst, co-ordinator, facilitater and mobilizer of resources. It puts particular emphasis on building partnerships with regional and sub-regional intergovernmental fora, other UN agencies, national governments, NGOs, the private sector, academic and research institutions, and civil society, and the media. See also here.

    Financial institutions

    Asian Development Bank, ADB
    The Asian Development Bank, a multilateral development finance institution, was founded in 1966 by 31 member governments to promote the social and economic progress of the Asia-Pacific region. It now has 58 member countries - 42 from within the region and 16 non-regional. ADB gives special attention to the needs of the smaller or less-developed countries, and to regional, subregional, and national projects and programs. Promoting sustainable development and environmental protection is a key strategic development objective of the Bank. (See also about environment.) To fulfill this objective, the Bank (i) reviews the environmental impacts of its projects, programs, and policies; (ii) encourages DMC governments and executing agencies to incorporate environmental protection measures in their project design and implementation procedures, and provides technical assistance for this purpose; (iii) promotes projects and programs that will protect, rehabilitate, and enhance the environment and the quality of life; and (iv) trains Bank and DMC staff in, and provides documentation on, environmental aspects of economic development. The Asian Development Fund (ADF) is the concessional lending window of the Bank.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    Northwest Pacific Action Plan, NOWPAP
    China, Japan, Russia and Korea share a common sea. This shared resource also requires co-operative management. UNEP through its regional seas programme is assisting the four nations in developing pollution control and disaster response in the shared ocean environment. The goal of NOWPAP is the wise use, development and management of the coastal and marine environment so as to obtain the utmost long-term benefits for the human populations of the region, while protecting human health, ecological integrity and the region's sustainability for future generations.
    As the core center for initiating the cooperation among the countries and regions involved for the environmental protection in the Sea of Japan and Yellow Sea, the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center (NPEC) was established in 1997. It became a public service corporation under the Japanese Environment Agency in 1998 and was also designated to be one of the Regional Activity Centers of Northwest Pacific Action Plan in 1999. NPEC functions as Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Center for NOWPAP. See also below - Nautilus.

    Partnership in Environmental Management for for the Seas of East Asia, PEMSEA
    A GEF project, focusing on "building partnerships within and among governments of the region, as well as across public and private sectors of the economy. The goal is to reduce or remove barriers to effective environmental management, including inadequate or inappropriate policies, disparate institutional and technical capabilities and limited investment in environmental facilities and services". PEMSEA is "based on two management frameworks developed and tested in an earlier GEF Project: Integrated coastal management, addressing land-water interactions and the impacts of human activity in coastal areas; and risk assessment/risk management, applying to subregional sea areas and the impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems. See also the PEMSEA Updates, a free online newsletter.

    UNEP Regional Seas Programme
    The Regional Seas Programme was initiated in 1974 as a global programme implemented through regional components. The Regional Seas Programme is UNEP's main framework in the field of the coastal and marine environment. It includes 14 regions and three partner seas, involves more than 140 coastal states, and focuses on sustainable development of coastal and marine areas. Each regional action plan is formulated according to the needs and priorities of the region as perceived by the Governments concerned. Regional conventions are in place for several areas. See a map of all regional seas, and go to more information on the Black Sea, Wider Caribbean, Mediterranean, East Asian Seas, South Asian Seas, Eastern Africa, Kuwait Region, North West Pacific, Red Sea And Gulf of Aden, South East Pacific, North East Pacific, South Pacific, Upper South West Atlantic, and West and Central Africa. The UNEP Regional Seas web site also contains information on What's at stake, Major threats, and Actions.


    State of the regional environment

    Environmental problems in the Tumen Region
    The Tumen Region is host to a range of unique but threatened environmental resources that are of regional and even global significance. They include the Tumen River and its tributary system, as well as coastal wetlands and offshore areas like 'Peter the Great Bay'. The region's fragile ecosystems include steppe and temperate forests that are habitats of the endangered Siberian tiger, the Amur leopard, the Mongolian gazelle and several species of crane, to name just a few. Economic development in the Tumen Region is starting to impact on these unique resources, and further commercialisation has the potential to worsen significantly the pollution of international waters and degradation of the region's biodiversity. Main threats are from the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources such as timber and fossil fuels, new transport and communication lines that cut across the habitats of endangered species, and environmentally damaging construction. Population growth and urbanisation are increasing the demand for water, food, energy and construction materials, and could result in the loss of wetlands caused by lower water tables and changing land use patterns. Environmental degradation not only results in the loss of environmental assets of regional and global significance, but can also lead to the eventual destruction of important sources of income and growth, such as tourism - including ecotourism - if they are not managed in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.

    GEO 2000 State of the Environment: Asia and the Pacific

    Global Enviroment Outlook 2000. GEO is:

    • a global environmental assessment process, the GEO Process, that is cross-sectoral and participatory. It incorporates regional views and perceptions, and builds consensus on priority issues and actions through dialogue among policy-makers and scientists at regional and global levels.
    • GEO outputs, in printed and electronic formats, including the GEO Report series. This series makes periodic reviews of the state of the world's environment, and provides guidance for decision-making processes such as the formulation of environmental policies, action planning and resource allocation. Other outputs include technical reports, a web site and a publication for young people.

    GEF Projects in the region

    Projects under implementation

    UNDP - GEF - International waters:
    Preparation of A Strategic Action Programme (SAP) and Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) for the Tumen River Area, Its Coastal Regions and Related Northeast Asian Environs
    The purpose of this project is to prepare a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for the Tumen River Economic Development Area. The implementation of the SAP will assist in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding among the Tumen River Area Development Programme member states by integrating and applying sound land and water resource management strategies. The implementation of the SAP will also entail a number of interventions focused on the conservation of biodiversity designed to obtain national, regional and global benefits, with GEF financing their incremental cost. The SAP will provide a common framework for the identification and formulation of strategies, programmes and projects, responding primarily to transboundary issues of environmental management.
    See also the project web site!


    Other actors, initiatives and resources

    Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development
    A policy-oriented research and consulting organization. Nautilus promotes international cooperation for security and ecologically sustainable development. Programs embrace both global and regional issues, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Nautilus produces reports, organizes seminars, and provides educational and training services for policymakers, media, researchers and community groups. A number of papers on marine environment, sustainable development and environmental cooperation in Northeast Asia can be found on the web site.

    The Sea of Japan - a Large Marine Ecosystem (LME)
    A Large Marine Ecosystem, LME, is a "region of ocean space encompassing coastal areas from river basins and estuaries to the seaward boundary of continental shelves and the seaward margins of coastal current systems. It is a relatively large region characterized by distinct bathymetry, hydrography, productivity, and trophically dependent populations." See also Rhode Island University map of LMEs.


  • Global International Waters Assessment, GIWA
    SE- 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
    Phone: +46- 480 44 60 00. Fax: +46- 480 44 73 55.

    page last modified on 22 August 2006