5th APRIL 2022

Regional Seas Weekly News
A compilation of news, events, publications from the Regional Seas Programme and other sources.


In FocusContributions of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to a Healthy Ocean


The report shows what can be achieved by working together at a regional scale and how, through coordination, greater impact can be achieved. The report highlights the unique role that regional seas conventions and action plans (hereafter “regional seas”) have played in protecting and conserving the marine environment for more than 45 years and the crucial role they play in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 14: Life below water. Using a series of case studies, the present report showcases how, through cooperation and collaboration, regional seas have helped to advance progress towards each of the 10 targets of Goal 14 and how that serves as a successful model to stimulate action in other areas. The report provides a “toolbox” to point decision makers, policymakers and other stakeholders towards different types of solutions, helping to support science-based action and results.
Full report 

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The World Commits To Strengthen Efforts In The Fight Against Toxic Mercury At Minamata COP-4

A strong Pacific representation joined hundreds of delegates and representatives of Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury during a week of intense negotiations at the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 4) in Bali, Indonesia. Held from 21 to 25 March 2022, delegates from the Pacific’s seven Parties to the Convention, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu including SPREP joined the COP virtually due to COVID-19. The outcomes of COP 4 are welcomed by Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) who are leading the Pacific’s effort to make the region free from mercury. At the last SPREP Meeting, Officials endorsed SPREP’s proposal to embark on a mission to put an end to the use of mercury in the Pacific. 

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SPREP’s New Director General Sefanaia Nawadra Takes Office

A new dawn at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) starts this week with the organisation welcoming its new Director General. Mr Sefanaia Nawadra takes over from his predecessor, Mr Kosi Latu, who held the role since 2016. Mr Nawadra’s appointment was announced at the 30th SPREP Meeting of Officials last September but was unable to take up the role due to prior commitments as the Head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Pacific Office.

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40 years of the Convention

7 April 2022 will be the 40th anniversary of the CAMLR Convention coming into force. This is a significant milestone for CCAMLR, and some of the many successes for the organisation are presented in a series of blogs that were released prior to the 40th meeting of the Commission in 2021.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone component of the Antarctic ecosystem and a history of over-exploitation of several other marine resources in the Southern Ocean.

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SPREP Farewells Mr Kosi Latu As Director General

Commemorating over a decade of achievements made, the staff of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) had a special virtual farewell event for the SPREP Director-General Mr Kosi Latu today. Mr Latu began with SPREP as the Deputy Director-General in 2008, then became the Director-General in 2016.  His term as the SPREP Director-General comes to an end on 1 April 2022. Over 100 staff came together for the virtual event to extend their appreciation for the hard work of Mr Latu, presenting him with a special award for his outstanding leadership in building resilience across the Pacific island’s region.

Nairobi Convention Weekly Marine and Coastal News Round-up

The Nairobi Convention News Round up is a compilation of recent marine and coastal environment news from the Western Indian Ocean region and around the World. 
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OSPAR Weekly newsletter

Every Friday, the OSPAR Commission for the Protection and Conservation of the North-East Atlantic is releasing a newsletter using the hashtag #FridayOceanFindings. The aim is to highlight the assessments and other components that have already been agreed by the Commission that will form OSPAR’s next holistic assessment of the North-East Atlantic, the Quality Status Report (QSR) 2023. The QSR will examine the current state of the marine environment and ecosystems, and the human activities benefiting from the marine environment and interacting with it.
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25 to 27 May 2022Twenty-Second Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Programme

The objectives of the 22nd annual meeting is to launch the new Regional Seas Strategic Directions 2022 – 2025 and kickstart its implementation. The meeting will also deliberate on Marine litter and plastics pollution in light of Resolution to End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument (UNEP/EA5/L23/REV.1) and the Role of the Regional Seas Programme; Ocean Governance; Regional Seas Programme input to the June 2022 UN Ocean Conference; Western Indian Ocean Marine Regions Forum in 2023; among others.
More details to follow soon. 

1 June 2022

The High-level Segment of the meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions will take place on Wednesday, 1 June 2022, at the Stockholm Exhibition & Convention Centre at Älvsjö, in Stockholm, Sweden.


7IMDC Call for Abstracts and Posters and Other Important Updates

The Call for Abstracts and Posters is Open!
The Call for Abstracts and Posters for the 7IMDC was launched on the 31st of March 2022, and is open until Friday the 29th of April, 2022.

Technical Sessions Selected
The Call for Technical Sessions was open from November 2021 to January 2022, and it received an impressive response – the number of proposals submitted was almost double what the conference can accommodate. The selection process was rigorous, and in the end 115 Technical Sessions were accepted by the 7IMDC’s Executive Committee, organized around 9 thematic tracks.
The 7th International Marine Debris Conference (7IMDC), which is scheduled to take place from 18-23 September 2022 in Busan, Republic of Korea.
For more information on the 7IMDC, please visit our website at

Recycled plastic gavel brought to signify plastic pollution agreement

The recent UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) will go down in history for its historic agreement to end plastic pollution. The draft resolution– which was endorsed by UN Member States and will become a legally binding agreement by 2024– was sealed when Espen Barth Eide, the Minister of Climate and the Environment for Norway and the president of UNEA, brought down a recycled plastic gavel. The gavel, produced by Nzambi Matee, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Young Champion of the Earth, was made using recycled plastic bottle tops from the Dandora landfill in Nairobi. At the end of the assembly the gavel was gifted to UNEP by Norway.
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UNEA 5.2 and UNEP@50: Taking the Nairobi spirit forward

EVENT: Briefing to Member States on the outcomes of UNEA 5.2 and UNEP@50

Her Excellency Ms. Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN

His Excellency Mr. Omar Hilale, Permanent  Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) came at a difficult time for the planet and for the international community.

The triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste is intensifying. It is threatening to pull the rug out from under the Sustainable Development Goals. It is hampering our plans to end hunger and poverty and deliver peace and equity.
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New Global Industry Alliance launched to tackle sea-based marine plastic litter

UN entities and the private sector have joined forces to tackle sea-based marine plastic litter through the GloLitter Partnerships Project. A ground-breaking Global Industry Alliance (GIA), led by the UN GlobalCompact, was  launched in the Port of Oslo, Norway (24 March). The GIA will help tackle one of the most pressing issues in marine ecosystems of our time  -  plastic entering the ocean.
The GloLitter Partnerships project will assist developing countries to prevent and reduce marine litter, especially plastic marine litter, within the maritime transport and fisheries sectors and identify opportunities for the reduction of plastic uses in both industries. Within the existing policy and regulatory frameworks and with help of new tools developed and lessons learned from interventions in other sectors and strategically linking with FAO and other on-going global and regional initiatives related to marine plastic litter (MPL), GloLitter will expand government and port management capacities, instigate legal, policy and institutional reforms at the country level. 
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Protecting the oceans - ban on disposal at sea of sewage sludge proposed

A global ban on the dumping of sewage sludge at sea is a step closer, following the submission to IMO of a proposal to amend the 1996 London Protocol on the prevention of marine pollution by the dumping of wastes. Sewage sludge is a waste that currently may be considered for dumping at sea under both the London 1996 Protocol and its precursor 1972 Convention. In the past, a substantial number of States permitted the dumping of this waste at sea. Under the London Protocol all dumping is prohibited, except for possibly acceptable wastes on the so-called "reverse list" (Annex 1). The proposal, submitted by the Republic of Korea and Mexico, would amend the Annex to remove sewage sludge from the permitted list.  If the proposal is agreed by the Contracting Parties, then the dumping of sewage sludge at sea would be prohibited worldwide. 
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Governments Advance Negotiations on Ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework but Require More Time

Following 15 days of negotiation in Geneva, world governments have produced a strong basis for a post 2020 global biodiversity framework to safeguard the health of the planet, scheduled for final agreement at UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China this year. “Governments came to Geneva eager to meet in person and make progress on urgent action on the goals, targets and institutions needed to protect nature,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, “They have engaged in intense discussions drawing a variety of positions and shown the power of multilateralism and a willingness to seek common ground.” “When we started the meeting, the text under discussion was our proposed first draft,” said Francis Ogwal, who with Basile van Havre co-chairs the Global Biodiversity Framework negotiations working group. “Following the engagement and discussions here in Geneva, this text is now clearly that of world governments and we are in a Party-led process.”
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Related links:
~ Summary of ICRI side event at the CBD negotiations in Geneva: 3 ways to save coral reefs through the GBF
Proposal to expand nature reserves to 30% globally

Biodiversity negotiations must reconnect with reality

Launch of the Southern Ocean Action Plan

The Southern Ocean Task Force is pleased to announce the Launch of the Southern Ocean Action Plan. For this occasion, a webinar will be hosted on April 12th 2022, at 12:00pm UTC to present the content of the Action Plan and the future of the Southern Ocean community’s engagement in the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Through the publication of this Action Plan, the Southern Ocean Task Force aims to mobilise the Southern Ocean community and inspire all stakeholders to seek engagement and leverage opportunities to deliver innovative solutions that maintain and foster the unique conditions of the Southern Ocean.
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5 things you might not know about manatees

Manatees are large, marine mammals often associated with Florida. But did you know these gentle animals are found all over the Caribbean Sea? Learn more about where manatees live, why they are sometimes called “sea cows”, and what WWF is doing to protect their habitats with these facts:

1. Where do manatees live?
2. What do manatees eat?
3. Why do manatees like mangroves?
4. Are manatees at risk?
5. How does WWF protect manatees and their habitats?

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African network protects key turtle sites

A network of West African Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covers key sites used by green turtles, new research shows. The RAMPAO  runs along the coast of seven countries, from Cape Verde to Sierra Leone, protecting vital habitats for many species. The new study tracked 45 female green turtles from Poilão Island, in Guinea-Bissau's Bijagós Archipelago, which hosts the largest population in the Eastern Atlantic. The tracked turtles were found to spend most of their time during nesting and foraging periods inside the MPA network.
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The STRONG High Seas project has published new findings providing recommendations for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction in the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific regions. These two complementary reports provide a number of key recommendations for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) of the Southeast Atlantic region and Southeast Pacific regions, respectively. This includes considerations for proposing new or expanding existing measures to support conservation efforts as well as utilizing other resources, which support the development of or underpin conservation efforts for . The reports focus on the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific regions, both characterised by high biological productivity, supported by important oceanic currents.
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Boosting maritime security in the Seychelles

Strengthening the capacity of maritime law enforcement was discussed during a five-day workshop (28 March-1 April) in Mahé, Seychelles. Maritime administrations looked at how to put in place a legal framework to give full effect to the IMO instruments dealing with maritime security. The workshop included a visit to the port of Victoria, to observe the physical security measures applied in the port in - line with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code requirements. The ISPS Code sets measures designed to strengthen the security of ships and port facilities. 
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Dolphins deep breathe on camera for oil spill science

Those excited squeaks in the video below are from Bayley the dolphin, who lives at The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. Scientists are studying Bayley’s behavior to better understand the impacts of oil spills on dolphins. When Bayley displays the correct breathing behavior she self-congratulates, squeaking and chirping excitedly. Her caretaker tosses her fish for a job well done.
Bayley surfaces in the view of a specially-designed, mounted camera on the pool’s edge. She exhales a cloud of mist into the air then immediately inhales air and some of the mist that forms over her head as she surfaces. Although this study is designed to help scientists understand the impacts of oil spills on dolphins, don’t worry — this water is clean. 
Bayley’s simple act and the sample it provides helps explain some of the mechanics of how dolphins breathe. Scientists will use this information to contribute to efforts to improve disaster response during future oil spills, and to help restore marine mammal populations impacted by pollution. 
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~ Warmer summers and meltwater lakes are threatening the fringes of the world's largest ice sheet

~ Plastic Pollution Is a Global Problem – Here’s How to Design an Effective Treaty To Curb It

~ Hope for Coral Reefs - A new book tracks scientific research and restoration efforts around the world that are focused on saving this critical ocean ecosystem

That dead whale on the beach? Let it be, study says. Or at least don’t blow it up

Inside the Mediterranean sea's 'animal forests': An encounter with the gorgonian corals

Ingesting microscopic plastic affects the ability of mussels to grow and reproduce - an RMIT University eco-toxicologist has found.

Researchers find dolphin attempting to communicate with porpoises

Assessment of storm surges in Europe since 1960 suggests likelihood of rising sea levels

The UNEP Regional Seas Programme (RSP) is UNEP’s most important regional mechanism for conservation of the marine and coastal environment since its establishment in 1974. The Programme aims to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through a shared approach, by engaging neighbouring countries in comprehensive and specific actions to protect their shared and connected ocean. It is an action-oriented programme that brings together a broad range of stakeholders including governments, scientific communities, intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, private sector and civil societies, to address ocean-related issues. Today, 146 countries participate in 18 Regional Seas programmes, and most of the programmes have adopted a regional action plan underpinned by a legal framework in the form of a regional convention and associated protocols on specific issues. The Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans outline coordinated actions to address specific environmental concerns. 
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The news articles are compiled by the Regional Seas team. All articles are reproduced as reported by the media. Their inclusion does not mean that UNEP endorses the views they reflect or confirms the information they contain.

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