Regions and network

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
Subregion 62: Small Island States

  • 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.

    South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
    The objective of the Rarotonga Convention, adopted in 1985, in force in 1986, is to establish a nuclear-free zone in the region and to keep the region free of environmental pollution by radioactive wastes.

    Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Island Countries of Hazardous Wastes and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific
    The objective of the Waigani Convention, adopted in 1995, not yet in force, is to prohibit the import of hazardous wastes and radioactive wastes.

    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.

    Convention for the Prohibition of Fishing with Long Driftnets in the South Pacific
    According to the Convention, which was adopted in 1989 and came into force in 1991, each Contracting Party undertakes to prohibit its nationals and vessels documented under its laws from engaging in driftnet fishing activities within the Convention Area.See also the 1987 South Pacific Fisheries Treaty.

    Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission
    The Convention, which was adopted in 1949 and came into force in 1950, deals with yellowfin and skipjack tuna (and other species taken by tuna fishing boats) in the East Pacific Ocean. The Convention provides for investigation into population, biology and ecology of yellowfin and skipjack tuna and species used as bait ; and into effects of natural and human impacts on those species. It also provides for analysis of information regarding population trends; studies of fishing methods and methods of maintaining and increasing populations; control over taking ; joint action to ensure maximum sustained catch ; compilation of catch statistics; publication of reports and scientific, statistical and other data. The principal duties of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission are to study the biology of the tunas and related species of the eastern Pacific ocean, with a view to determining the effects that fishing and natural factors have on their abundance, and to recommend appropriate conservation measures so that the stocks of fish can be maintained at levels which will afford maximum sustainable catches. In 1976 the Commissions duties were broadened to include work on the problems arising from the tuna-dolphin relationship in the eastern Pacific ocean. It was decided that the Commission should strive to maintain a high level of tuna production and also to maintain porpoise stocks at or above levels that ensure their survival in perpetuity with every reasonable effort being made to avoid needless or careless killing of porpoise.

    Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Fishing Agreement
    The Agreement of 1984 applies to certain highly migratory species of tuna and tuna related fish in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Provides for the establishment of a Council entrusted with the task of implementing the agreement. Provides for the issuance of international licences authorizing holders to fish for the species covered by the agreement in the Agreement Area including the EEZ of states which are parties thereto (coastal states of the eastern Pacific Ocean or members of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission). The 12 mile territorial sea is, however, outside the Agreement Area. Empowevers the Council to make recommendations to parties concerning tuna resources but not until all states that fish for tuna in the area have acceded to the agreement.

    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.


    Action programmes, strategies and research

    Small Island Developing States Network
    The SIDSnet was initiated as a follow up to the Barbados Programme of Action from 1994. It was recognised that all islands share common issues and SIDSnet was initiated with UNDP Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). At present, 41 small island developing States and territories are included in the monitoring of the progress in the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action. These states and territories often work together through the AOSIS, which also includes some small low-lying coastal States. The General Assembly convened a Special Session on SIDS in 1999.

    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

    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:
    Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) of the Pacific Small Island Developing States
    The long-term objective of this project is to conserve and sustainably manage the coastal and ocean resources in the Pacific Region. Project activities are designed to encourage comprehensive, cross-sectoral, ecosystem based approaches to mitigate and prevent existing imminent threats to International Waters. The SAP provides a regional framework within which actions are identified, developed and implemented. Targeted actions will be carried out in two complementary, linked consultative contexts: Integrated Coastal and Watershed Management (ICWM) and Oceanic Fisheries Management (OFM). ICWM actions will focus on freshwater supplies including groundwater, Marine Protected Area (MPA) enhancement and development, sustainable coastal fisheries, integrated coastal management including tourism development, and activities to demonstrate waste reduction strategies will be stressed. The OFM component will target the Western Pacific Warm Pool ecosystem, whose boundaries correspond almost precisely to the Western Pacific tuna fishery.

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Community Conservation and Compatible Enterprise Development on Pohnpei, Micronesia
    This project is designed to assist the Government of the FSM in meeting its obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity through protecting Pohnpei's globally significant terrestrial and marine biodiversity. It will also develop and implement an innovative model for community-based biodiversity conservation based on Pohnpei's Watershed Management Strategy: Building a Sustainable Future: 1996-2000.

    World Bank - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Marine Biodiversity Protection and Management, Samoa
    This project will protect critical sites for marine biological diversity, including coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass areas, within the core zones of large multiple-use marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Aleipata and Safata Districts of Upolu Island. It will demonstrate a model and innovative district-level approach to community-based management and protection of marine biodiversity that has wider application in Samoa, the Pacific Islands region, and globally.

    UNDP - GEF - Biodiversity:
    South Pacific Biodiversity Conservation Programme
    Project protects biological diversity of 15 island states by facilitating establishment of conservation areas with agreed criteria for development based on long-term ecological sustainability. Supports scientific and technical assessments, trains NGO and government officials, facilitates extensive consultations with local groups, assists with initial management of protected areas, and raises public awareness.

    Project concepts in the pipeline

    Asian Development Bank (ADB) - GEF - Biodiversity:
    Fisheries Management and Marine Biodiversity Conservation Project, Solomon Islands
    The overall objective of the project is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of Solomon Islands fisheries and related coastal ecosystems, particularly the country's globally significant coral reeefs.


    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.
    See, for example, Caribbean Marine Protected Areas Project: The Role of Marine Protected Areas in Fisheries Management and Biodiversity Conservation in Coral Reef Ecosystems. 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 also 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. Furthermore, ICLARM has 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