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Global International Waters Assessment

GIWA is a water programme led by UNEP. Its aim is to produce a comprehensive and integrated global assessment of international waters, the ecological status of and the causes of environmental problems in 66 water areas in the world, including all the Regional Seas, with a focus on the key issues and problems facing the aquatic environment in transboundary waters.

GIWA is funded to about 50 per cent by the Global Environment Facility, GEF. Other major donors are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Finnish Department for International Development Co-operation, and the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (Sida).

Global assessments have already been made on biodiversity, climate change, and the ozone layer (stratospheric ozone) for the purpose of supporting the implementation of the GEF project portfolio in these areas. Scaling and scoping reports have been complied covering some of the Regional Seas programmes such as the the Black Sea, South China Sea and the Brazil current.

In October 2004 the UNEP-Global International Waters Assessment report on the Baltic Sea was completed and presented at the 12th Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation conference in Malmö, Sweden.

The report gives options for actions to mitigate the major environmental problems of the Baltic Sea: eutrophication and over-fishing.