1.1 Description of the UNEP Regional Seas Programme
1. The UNEP Regional Seas Programme was initiated in 1974
as a global programme implemented through regional components. It has been repeatedly
endorsed by the UNEP Governing Council as a regional approach to the management
of marine and coastal resources and control of marine pollution. The Regional
Seas Programme at present comprises 10 regions, while three more regional Programmes,
including NOWPAP, are being developed. There are over 140 coastal States and
Territories participating in the Programme. It is an action-oriented Programme
having concern not only for the consequences but also for the causes of environmental
degradation and encompassing a comprehensive approach to corn-batting environmental
problems through the integrated management of coastal and marine areas.
2.The fulcrum for each regional programme is the Action Plan.
All action plans are structured in a similar manner and designed to link assessment
of the quality of the marine environment with the causes of its deterioration,
leading to activities designed for rehabilitation and improvement in the short
term and comprehensive protection and management for sustainable development
in the longer term. Action plans usually include the following elements:
Environmental Assessment which comprises baseline studies,
research and monitoring of the quality of the marine environment and the factors
that may influence it. It is not to be confused with the Environmental Impact
Assessment (EIA) process.
Environmental Management which includes cooperative
training in assessment methodologies, ecosystem management, control of wastes
from industrial, agricultural and domestic sources, and the formulation of contingency
plans for dealing with pollution emergencies.
Environmental Legislation which seeks legal commitments
in the form of conventions, protocols and similar instruments on a regional
basis as well as ratifying and implementing legislation at the national level.
Institutional Arrangements which determine the frequency
of meetings, setting of objectives, reviewing progress and approving activities
and budgets, as well as providing a secretariat to coordinate activities.
Financial Arrangements through which UNEP often provides
"seed financing" until the participating Governments are able to assume
full responsibility for budgetary requirements, at which stage UNEP usually
assumes responsibility for administering trust funds that are set up.
3. The initial Objectives and Goals adopted by the various
regions do have a common thread. However, there is sufficient flexibility in
the system to allow for particular emphases and priorities as perceived by the
Governments concerned. While Action Plans are fashioned on a similar mould for
all regions, the priorities differ from region to region. There could even be
differences within the same region over time, through the merging of some objectives
and the lessening in importance of others.
4. The key to the success of any regional action plan is a
common understanding and a mutual commitment by the participating governments
to act collectively or individually towards shared regional goals. This commitment
is usually in the form of conventions and protocols.
1.2 The Northwest Pacific Action Plan
5. The Governing Council of UNEP at its Fifteenth Session
(Decision 15/1: "Strengthening the role and effectiveness of the United
Nations Environmental Programme", part VI.3) approved the "preparation
of new action plans for seas not yet covered by the regional seas programme
(Northwest Pacific, Black Sea)" as one of the activities listed within
the "Supplementary Programme of Environment Fund Activities for the Biennium
1990-1991" attached as an Annex to the above-listed decision. The countries
up the Northwest Pacific region are: China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Russian Federation.
6. As a first step in this process, UNEP initiated a series
of consultations with representatives of the governments of the region and With
other organizations within the United Nations system. This culminated in the
First Meeting of Experts and National Focal Points on the Development of the
Northwest Pacific Action Plan which was held in Vladivostok from 28 to 31 October
1991 in cooperation with the Centre for International Projects and the Pacific
7. Experts and National Focal Points presented reports on
the aspects of the marine environment in their region. They also agreed on the
scope and format of national reports which they undertook to prepare and which
were to review the state of the marine environment and the coastal areas within
the countries, comment on national policies, measures and relevant activities
dealing with marine pollution problems, make proposals on ways and means for
solving environmental problems, and finally propose activities for the Action
Plan. The meeting also agreed on a workplan and timetable towards the preparation
of a draft Action Plan and a draft Regional Overview.
8. At the Second Meeting of Experts and National Focal Points
on the Development of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan, held in Beijing from
26 to 30 October 1992, in cooperation with the National Environmental Protection
Agency, the first draft of the Action Plan was discussed. Subsequently, UNEP
arranged for revisions and improvements to the draft and a final draft was discussed
and agreed to by the participants at the Third Meeting of Experts and National
Focal Points on the Development of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan, which
was held in Bangkok from 10 to 12 November 1993.
1.3 Geographic coverage
9. The geographical scope of the Northwest Pacific Action
Plan will cover the marine environment and coastal zones of the following States:
[Democratic People's Republic of Korea;]
People's Republic of China;
Republic of Korea; and
from about 121° E to 143 ° E longitude, and from approximately
52° N to 33 ° N latitude, without prejudice to the sovereign right of any State.