GPA - Global Programme of Action

A commitment to ocean health from the land

Estimates show that almost 50 % of the world's coasts are threatened by development-related activities. The health, well-being and, in some cases, the very survival of coastal populations depends upon the health and well-being of coastal systems such as estuaries and wetlands. The intense pressures put on the coastal systems require serious commitment and preventive action at all levels: local, national, regional and global.
In response to these major problems, 108 governments and the European Commission declared their commitment to protect and preserve the marine environment from the adverse environmental impacts of land-based activities. The Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities and the Washington Declaration were adopted in 1995. UNEP was tasked to lead the coordination effort and to establish a GPA Coordination Office. This has been renewed through the Montreal and Beijing declarations in 2001 and 2006 respectively, and finally through the Manila Declaration in 2012. The comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach of the GPA also reflects the desire of Governments to strengthen the collaboration and coordination of all agencies with mandates relevant to the impact of land-based activities on the marine environment, through their participation in a global programme. stent organic pollutants, radioactive substances, heavy metals, oils (hydrocarbons), nutrients, sediment mobilization, litter, and physical alteration and destruction of habitat.
The GPA is designed to be a source of conceptual and practical guidance to be drawn upon by national and/or regional authorities for devising and implementing sustained action to prevent, reduce, control and/or eliminate marine degradation from land-based activities. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as secretariat to the GPA, is tasked with facilitating implementation at the national, regional and international levels. The GPA Coordination Office receives its mandate every 5-years through a process known as Intergovernmental Reviews. The Third Intergovernmental Review Meeting on the implementation of the GPA (IGR-3), held in January, 2012, resulted in agreement by governments present on a Manila Declaration. The Manila Declaration gave the GPA strategic direction and the political commitment of states to implement and support the GPA during the period 2012-2016. It gave the GPA a renewed mandate, agreeing that the priority source categories for this period would be nutrients, marine litter and wastewater and mandated a focus on developing global multi-stakeholder partnerships in these three priority areas.

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