Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 59: Coral Sea Basin

  • 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

    Convention for the Protection of Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region
    The Nouméa Convention, adopted in 1986, in force 1990, obliges Parties to endeavour to take all appropriate measures to prevent, reduce and control pollution from any source and to ensure sound environmental management and development of natural resources, using the best practicable means at their disposal, and in accordance with their capabilities.The Convention has two protocols:

    Convention on Conservation of Nature in the South Pacific
    The Apia Convention, adopted in 1976, in force in 1990, contains no specific reference to migratory species. It obliges States in general terms to create protected areas to safeguard representative samples of ecosystems, and places of scenic, geological, aesthetic, historical, cultural or scientific importance. The Convention also prohibits the taking or killing of fauna (including eggs and shells ) unless the taking is controlled by the competent authorities of the State concerned or unless in pursuance of 'duly authorised' scientific investigations. There is a further obligation on States to use their best endeavours to protect indigenous species from unwise exploitation and other threats that may lead to their extinction.

    Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna
    The objective of the Convention, which was adopted in 1993 and came into force in 1994, is to ensure through appropriate management, the conservation and optimum utilisation of southern bluefin tuna (SBT). The main purpose of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) is to decide upon management measures for the global SBT fishery, such as the total allowable catch and the amount that each nation may catch, and if necessary other additional measures. Scientific information, fishing catch and effort statistics and other data relevant to the conservation of SBT, ecologically related species (i.e., living marine species which are associated with SBT) and by-catch species, such as seabirds, is collated by Commission members. The Commission is actively pursuing efforts to bring non-Parties under the umbrella of the CCSBT so that the global fishery can be managed in a sustainable way. Cooperation with Indonesia is especially important as the SBT breeding ground lies within the Indonesian fishing zone.

    South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP
    SPREP is a regional organisation established by the governments and administrations of the Pacific region to look after its environment. According to its Mission Statement, the organisation is "to promote co-operation in the South Pacific region and to provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations". SPREP's members total 26, consisting of all 22 Pacific island countries and territories, and four developed countries with direct interests in the region: Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States of America. All activities are guided by the Action Plan for Managing the Environment of the South Pacific Region to the year 2000. SPREP also serves as the Secretariat for the Apia Convention and the Nouméa Convention, and will serve as the Secretariat for the Waigani Convention when it enters into force. Some of SPREP's current projects with input from the international community include:

    • The South Pacific Biodiversity Conservation Programme (SPBCP); a project for the preparation of a regional strategy for international waters; the Pacific Islands Climate Change Assistance Programme (PICCAP) and CC:TRAIN (assist Pacific island countries meet their obligations under Article 4 and 12 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). All of these projects are funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    • Waste Management Education and Awareness by the European Union
    • Climate Change and Environmental Education and Training programmes through AusAID
    • Atmospheric and Radiation Measurements in the Tropical Western Pacific with the US Department of Energy
    • Meteorological services in conjunction with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
    • The Programme of Capacity Building for Sustainable Development in the South Pacific: Building on NEMS (Capacity 21 for short), part of UNDP's focus on capacity building and
    • The environmental clearing house functions of SPREP operate with funding from New Zealand.

    Secretariat of the Pacific Community
    SPC, formerly the South Pacific Commission, is the oldest regional organisation in the Pacific, with 26 member countries and territories. It is a technical advice, assistance, training and research agency serving the 22 Island countries and territories of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. SPC enables all of the region's Island countries and territories to express their needs and identify their own development priorities. Its mission is to provide technical advice, assistance, training and applied research to its member countries and territories. The SPC integrated work programme covers, inter alia, technical services in marine resources (Coastal fisheries; Oceanic fisheries).

    Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
    The Forum, formerly the South Pacific Forum, represents Heads of Government of all the independent and self-governing Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand. Since 1971 it has provided member nations with the opportunity to express their joint political views and to cooperate in areas of political and economic concern. Its administrative arm, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is based in Fiji. It undertakes programmes and activities under guidelines decided by the Forum leaders. The Secretariat's current programmes are aimed at promoting regional cooperation among member states through trade, investment, economic development, and political and international affairs.

    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.

    East Asian Seas Regional Coordinating Unit
    Information on the UNEP East Asian Seas Programme can be found on the web site of the Coordinating Unit, which is located with ROAP. The Unit is the co-ordinating body for the East Asian Seas Action Plan (see below).

    Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, GBRMPA
    GBRMPA is the lead agency for Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area issues. The Authority is the principal adviser to the Commonwealth Government on the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The goal of the GBRMPA is to provide for the protection, wise use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef in perpetuity through the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    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.

    East Asian Seas Action Plan
    On the initiative of the five States of the East Asian region — Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — the Governing Council of UNEP in 1977 decided that "steps are urgently needed to formulate and establish a scientific programme involving research, prevention and control of marine pollution and monitoring " for a regional action plan in East Asia. An Action Plan for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Marine Environment and Coastal Areas of the East Asian Region was adopted in 1981, with a decision making body, the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA). A revised Action Plan and a Long-term Strategy for the COBSEA for the 1994-2000 period were developed in 1994 and Australia, Cambodia, China, Korea and Vietnam joined the Action Plan.
    A new East Asian Seas Action Plan — "Leading the EAS Action Plan to the 21st Century" — has been elaborated for the period 2000-2009.


    State of the regional environment

    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



    Other actors, initiatives and resources

    International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management, ICLARM
    An international research organization "devoted to improving the productivity, management and conservation of aquatic resources for the benefit of users and consumers in developing countries". ICLARM is one of the research centres of CGIAR, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. ICLARM, in collaboration with the the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other partners, and with support from the European Commission, has developed
    FishBase, a global information system on fishes for research scientists, fisheries managers, zoologists and many more. FishBase contains full information on 23,500 species. ICLARM has also developed similar systems on coral reefs and their resources (ReefBase) and management of fish stocks in Asia (TrawlBase).

    International Coral Reef Initiative, ICRI
    An environmental partnership that brings stakeholders together with the objective of sustainable use and conservation of coral reefs for future generations. ICRI is an informal mechanism that allows representatives of over 80 developing countries with coral reefs to sit in equal partnership with major donor countries and development banks, international environmental and development agencies, scientific associations, the private sector and NGOs to decide on the best strategies to conserve the world's coral reef resources.

    Coral Health and Monitoring Programme, NOOA
    The mission of the NOOA Coral Health and Monitoring Program is to provide services to help improve and sustain coral reef health throughout the world. Long term goals:Establish an international network of coral reef researchers for the purpose of sharing knowledge and information on coral health and monitoring.Provide near real-time data products derived from satellite images and monitoring stations at coral reef areas. Provide a data repository for historical data collected from coral reef areas. Add to the general fund of coral reef knowledge.See also Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, GCRMN.


  • 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