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bringing you the latest news, information and analysis from
international environment and sustainable development negotiations





This page was updated on: 12/09/10



Water, Oceans and Wetlands Media Report Archives: 2009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002


Latest Media Reports

IUCN-backed Scientific Meeting Initiates Analysis of Seamount Cruise Samples

GEF Endorses Projects on International Waters




IUCN-backed Scientific Meeting Initiates Analysis of Seamount Cruise Samples

12 November: Scientists and students from seven countries gathered in Grahamstown at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) to identify samples collected during the 2009 Seamounts Cruise. The Cruise conducted a biological survey of seamount ecosystems, as part of the Seamounts Project, funded by IUCN and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

transAs a result of the expedition, nearly 7,000 samples were gathered and labeled, including an unexpected diversity of fish, shrimps, squid and other marine creatures. IUCN expects the results of the project to help improve conservation and management of Indian Ocean resources, as well as future management of deep-sea ecosystems in the high seas globally. [IUCN press release]


GEF Endorses Projects on International Waters

November 2010: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) gave a final green light to a series of full-sized projects during the month of November, which allows their final approval by implementing agencies to commence activities, including on international waters. These include a US$9.7 million project for several small island developing States (SIDS), namely: Cape Verde, Comoros, Maldives, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, and Seychelles to promote integrated water resource and wastewater management in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans; and a global project to strengthen global portfolio experience sharing, learning and replication to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of GEF international waters projects in delivering tangible results. [GEF full-sized projects website]




FAO Launches IUU Initiative

22 November 2010: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced that an FAO Technical Consultation has agreed to identify a structure and strategy for the development and implementation of the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels. The new initiative aims to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by improving transparency in the global fisheries sector. The recommendations of the consultation will be presented to the January 2011 meeting of FAO's Committee on Fisheries for approval. [FAO press release]


IMO, Norway Sign Cooperation Agreement

3 November 2010: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Norwegian Development Cooperation Agency (Norad) signed a framework Cooperation Agreement on 3 November 2010, under which Norad will provide contributions to the Organization's Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme. Selected projects under the Agreement will focus on activities related to the protection of the marine environment. [IMO press release]


International Maritime Prize for 2009 Presented

2 November 2010: The International Maritime Prize for 2009 was presented to Johan Franson (Sweden), for his contribution to maritime safety, security and prevention of pollution from ships, during a special ceremony at International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters in London, UK. The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually by IMO to the individual or organization judged to have made the most significant contribution to the work and objectives of the Organization. [IMO press release]




Palau Announces Marine Sanctuary

Palau's Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism, Harry Fritz, announced the creation of a marine sanctuary for whales, dolphins and dugongs during Oceans Day, held on 23 October 2010, on the sidelines of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan. The sanctuary covers all of Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone - more than 600,000 square kilometers, and complements a shark sanctuary created by Palau in 2009. [SPREP press release]


UNITAR Becomes UN-Water Member

4 October 2010: The application for UN-Water membership of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has been accepted. UN-Water is composed of representatives from 26 UN organizations. Other organizations outside the UN are partners in UN-Water. [UNITAR press release]


UN Human Rights Council Affirms the Right to Water is Legally-Binding

1 October 2010: The UN Human Rights Council affirmed by consensus, on 30 September 2010, that the right to water and sanitation is contained in existing human rights treaties, and that States have the primary responsibility to ensure the full realisation of this and all other basic human rights. The affirmation comes after 120 countries voted in favor of the resolution at the UN General Assembly in July 2010. Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Independent Expert on human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, stated that "this means that for the UN, the right to water and sanitation, is contained in existing human rights treaties and is therefore legally binding." She added that the decision "has the potential to change the lives of the billions of human beings who still lack access to water and sanitation." [UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights press release]


WWAP and Partners Organize Film Contest

22 September 2010: The UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) and, with the support of the Mexican National Water Commission (CONAGUA), the Mexican Consejo Consultivo del Agua, A.C., are organizing the "Water, Climate and… Action!" short film contest. The entries, which should describe experiences and outline messages about climate change and its aspects on water and life, will be accepted from 22 September-15 November 2010. Selected short films will be projected during a side event at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 16), to be held in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year.  They will also be used to help raise awareness of policy makers of the need for urgent action to adapt to the effects of climate change. [Film contest website]




WWAP and Partners Organize Film Contest

22 September 2010: The UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) and, with the support of the Mexican National Water Commission (CONAGUA), the Mexican Consejo Consultivo del Agua, A.C., are organizing the "Water, Climate and… Action!" short film contest. The entries, which should describe experiences and outline messages about climate change and its aspects on water and life, will be accepted from 22 September-15 November 2010. Selected short films will be projected during a side event at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year. They will also be used to help raise awareness of policy makers of the need for urgent action to adapt to the effects of climate change. [Film contest website]


Turkey Designates No Take Fishing Zones in Gökova Bay

20 September 2010: With the support of the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), the Underwater Research Society (SAD) initiated a project on establishment of No Take Fishing Zone (NTFZ) Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Turkish Gökova Bay in 2009. In Turkey, overfishing and over capacity of fishing fleets pose serious threats to the marine biodiversity. Through a participatory process, the SAD established NTFZs that will benefit marine habitats where valuable fish stocks already collapsed and invasive Lesepsian fish have serious impact grazing on algae cover in the littoral zones. These NTFZs were officially announced in July 2010, and are the first in the country. [GEF press release]


UNECE Launches Policy Dialogue on Integrated Water Resource Management in Georgia

23 September 2010: From 14-17 September 2010, a representative of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Water Convention Secretariat held a series of meetings in Tbilisi with representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia, other ministries, private companies, NGOs and international donor organizations to discuss water management issues in Georgia. The meetings marked the official launch of the UNECE-led National Policy Dialogue on Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the country, which focuses on: preparation of the National Water Law based on the IWRM principles; setting up the targets for implementation of the UNECE/World Health Organization (WHO) Protocol on Water and Health of the UNECE Water Convention; and transboundary water cooperation with its neighbor Azerbaijan. [UNECE National Policy Dialogues on IWRM Programme website] [UNECE press release]


UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Safe and Clean Drinking Water

28 July 2010: The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution on the human right to water and sanitation. The resolution provides that safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights. It calls on UN member States and international organizations to offer funding, technology and other resources to help poorer countries scale up their efforts to provide clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all. The Assembly resolution received 122 votes in favor and zero votes against, while 41 countries abstained from voting. The text of the resolution expresses deep concern that an estimated 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and a total of more than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation. Studies also indicate about 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year and 443 million school days are lost because of water- and sanitation-related diseases. [UN press release] [UN General Assembly press release]


JULY 2010


UNECE Executive Secretary Visits Aral Sea Area

16 July 2010: Ján Kubiš, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Executive Secretary, visited the Executive Committee of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) on 16 July 2010, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The visit provided an opportunity to evaluate existing cooperation with IFAS, such as that carried out under the framework of the Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management, and the help offered to countries of Central Asia to strengthen cooperation on dam safety in the region by improving national legislation and by negotiating a regional agreement. The two sides also discussed future needs, including the development and implementation of the Third Aral Sea Basin Programme, which aims to coordinate efforts of Central Asian countries and the international community to mitigate the environmental and social consequences of the Aral disaster. The visit was part of broader efforts by UNECE to support the sustainable development of Central Asia, in particular by strengthening transboundary water cooperation. [UNECE press release, 16 July 2010] [Project "Regional dialogue and cooperation on water resources management in Central Asia" website]


MARPOL Regulations for Air Pollution from Ships Enter into Force

1 July 2010: The revised Annex VI (Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) entered into force globally on 1 July 2010, together with regulations for reductions in sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions in specific areas. These regulations were adopted in October 2004. To date, MARPOL Annex VI has been ratified by 59 countries, representing approximately 84% of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping fleet. [IMO press release, 1 July 2010]


GEF Supports Caribbean MPA Project

July 2010: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has agreed to support the protection and sustainable use of the marine resources of the Seaflower Marine Protected Area (MPA). The project, "Protecting Biodiversity in the Southwestern Caribbean Sea," is implemented by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and executed by the Corporation for the Sustainable Development of the Archipelago of San Andres, Old Providence and Santa Catalina (CORALINA). It comprises four components: adaptive management; financial sustainability; alternative livelihoods; and monitoring and analysis. [GEF press release, July 2010]


JUNE 2010


EBRD/IMO Marine Biosafety Initiative Supports Eastern European Countries in Tackling Alien Species

The Marine Biosafety Initiative, launched by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in partnership with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), through the Organization's GloBallast Partnerships Programme (GloBallast), will carry out a training programme in the Russian Federation and Ukraine aimed at helping them reduce the risk from harmful organisms and pathogens transferred in ships' ballast water. The EBRD will provide funding for a training programme in a select group of countries, while GloBallast will provide training material and support the project technically via IMO's GloBallast Programme Coordination Unit. The training aims to assist the shipping and port sector in the selected countries in building capacity to comply with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, adopted by IMO in 2004. [IMO press release, 29 June 2010]


Mediterranean to Phase Out Hazardous Chemicals by 2019

Mandatory measures to phase out hazardous chemicals have entered into force under the Barcelona Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan. Adopted at the 16th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, which convened in Marrakesh, Morocco, November 2009, the targeted chemicals include those found in waste water, a series of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) used as pesticides (including Aldrin, Chlordane, Dieldrin, Endrin, Heptachlor, Mirex, Toxaphene), as well as DDT and its stockpiles. The implementation of the chemicals phase-out is expected to take place between 2015 and 2019. Urban waste water is the most serious source of pollution in the Mediterranean, and implementation activities will include mandatory measures for the treatment of waste water in coastal cities and urban centers before its release into the sea. [UNEP press release, 16 June 2010]



8 June 2010: The NICHE Programme, an initiative within the Netherlands development cooperation framework, recently granted 1.2 million Euros to implement a four-year capacity development project in South Africa, from September 2010 to August 2014. The project will be implemented at the Tshwane University of Technology, in collaboration with the Dutch consortium composed of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – Institute for water Education (UNESCO-IHE) Delft, as the lead organization, and others. The main project activities include: the development of a new Post Graduate Diploma Programme in Water Service Management; the development of a new Higher Certificate- and Advanced Certificate Programme in (Waste) Water Treatment Technology; capacity development of the staff in the Water Care Unit and upgrade of the teaching facilities available for the programmes; and strengthening of links with the Department of Water Affairs and other stakeholders through running of joint workshops, seminars, training (of trainers) programmes, internships and research projects.


Links to further information

Tshwane University of Technology web site

UNESCO press release, 8 June 2010



31 May 2010: The Government of Australia instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the Government of Japan, alleging that the Japanese Whale Research Programme is in breach of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), as well as its other international obligations for the preservation of marine mammals and marine environment.  Australia argues that the programme is not relevant for the conservation and management of whale stocks, and presents risks to targeted species and stocks. As such, it cannot be justified under Article VIII of the ICRW, which regulates the granting of special permits to kill, take and treat whales for purposes of scientific research. Australia also argues that Japan has breached its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Link to further information

ICJ press release, 1 June 2010



On 14 May 2010, in Athens, Greece, Tina Birbili, Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Greece, and Veysel Eroğlu, Minister for Environment and Forestry, Turkey, signed a Joint Declaration on collaboration concerning the Evros/Maritsa/Meriç River. In the Declaration, the two countries commit to collaborate to, inter alia: improve living standards in the riverine areas; prudently use environmental resources; conserve natural and cultural heritage; and take necessary measures to manage the flood problem in the Evros/Meric basin, including the establishment of flood early warning system; take necessary measures and apply best available techniques to protect the marine environment; protect biodiversity; and work together to adapt to climate change and reduce its adverse impact, on the basis of common and differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.


Link to further information

The Joint Declaration


MAY 2010



On the sidelines of the Global Environment Facility Assembly meeting, which took place in Punte del Este, Uruguay, the UN Environment Programme and the Government of Cote d'Ivoire signed a headquarters agreement on the Framework of the Convention for Co-operation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central and Southern African Region and protocol (Abidjan Convention). The Convention covers the 22 coastal States on the West Africa side of the Atlantic Ocean from Mauritania to South Africa, and came into force in 1984. The Abidjan Convention is an umbrella agreement for the protection and management of the marine and coastal areas, and focuses on, inter alia: pollution from ships; dumping; land based sources; exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed; pollution from or through the atmosphere; liability and compensation in case of pollution; and overfishing issues. The Convention's protocol concerns cooperation in combating pollution in cases of emergency.


Link to further information

UNEP press release, 25 May 2010



The UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) launched the Global Island Database (GID) during the 18th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, US, on 10 May 2010. The GID aims to boost sustainable management of islands by identifying and bringing together existing sources of data and information relevant to island systems, and presenting new analyses to aid resource managers and decision-making at the island, national, regional and global levels.


Link to further information

UNEP press release

Global Islands Database


APRIL 2010



Five more countries have signed the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU). The new signatories are Australia, Gabon, Peru, New Zealand and the Russian Federation. This brings the number of countries that have signed the UN Food and Agriculture (FAO)-brokered treaty to 16. The Agreement, which will will enter into force 30 days after the 25th party deposits its instrument of ratification, will deny access to fishing ports to ships involved in illegal fishing.


Links to further information

FAO press release, 29 April 2010

IUU Treaty



The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) supported the global Live Earth Run for Water campaign, which took place on 18 April 2010, and aimed to mobilize communities in over 175 cities worldwide to raise awareness of the growing scarcity of safe, clean water. The campaign was organized around the theme: "Every step and every drop counts to solve the water crisis." It featured a series of 6 km community runs or walks, the average distance women and children walk to collect water in many developing countries. In some cities, educational Water Villages and sustainably-managed concerts featuring international artists were held.


Links to further information

UNEP press release, 16 April 2010

Live Earth Run for Water web site



The Government of Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific, has designated its entire Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as a whale sanctuary. In doing so, Tokelau joins 11 other Pacific countries and territories in declaring their EEZs as off-limits to whaling. Although Tokelau's land area consists of just three coral atolls totaling 10km2, its EEZ covers 290,000 km2 of ocean.


Link to further information

Pacific Islands News Association, 14 April 2010



UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured the Aral Sea on 4 April 2010, where he witnessed one of the world's worst environmental disasters. The Aral Sea, once the world's fourth largest lake, has shrunk in recent decades by more than 70% after tributary rivers were diverted for irrigation projects. The salinity of the region's soil has soared and the area is also heavily polluted. Ban drew a parallel with the shrinking of Lake Chad in Africa and underscored the need to manage natural resources sustainably. He welcomed the international fund for saving the Aral Sea, which was initiated by the leaders of five Central Asian States that boarder the Sea, and pledged the UN's assistance for their efforts.


Links to further information

UN press release, 4 April 2010

Secretary-General Ban's speech



On 8 March 2010, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Government of the Dominican Republic signed an agreement establishing, under the auspices of UNESCO, the Centre for the Sustainable Management of Water Resources in the Caribbean Island States in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. According to the agreement, the functions performed by the centre will include: promoting and performing scientific research on water management in the region, and hydrologic aspects thereof; promoting and facilitating applications of technology towards better practical use of water; expanding and coordinating research activities, in cooperation with the various international agencies and the relevant entities of the States of the region; and organizing and implementing activities for knowledge and information transfer for training.


Link to further information

UNESCO press release, 1 April 2010


MARCH 2010



The "Plastiki," a 60-foot catamaran made from 12,500 reclaimed bottles and fully recycled plastic, is set sail at the end of March to raise awareness about plastic waste. The boat was created following the release of the UN Environment Programme report titled "Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas," which highlights the impacts of fisheries, pollution, climate change and other stresses on the marine ecosystem. The Plastiki will sail from San Francisco, US, to Sydney, Australia, and will be lead by David de Rothschild, UNEP Climate Hero and British adventurer and environmentalist.


Links to further information

UNEP press release, 9 March 2010

Plastiki website



The Singapore International Water Week announced that the Yellow River Conservancy Commission (YRCC) has been awarded the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize 2010. The Prize recognizes outstanding contributions towards solving global water problems by either applying technologies or implementing policies and programmes that benefit humanity. YRCC succeeded in implementing an integrated water allocation programme that balances water availability with social, economic and ecological developments to China's second-longest river: the Yellow River. With the YRCC's efforts, the river has flown unabated over the last ten years, providing an improved, reliable supply of water.


Link to further information

UNESCO press release, 3 March 2010



The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) celebrated for the first time Arab Water Day, under the theme "For Joint Arab Water Security." During a press conference to mark the Day, Chief of Sustainable Development and Productivity Division Anhar Hegazi, speaking on behalf of ESCWA Executive Secretary Bader AlDafa, announced the decision by the Council of Arab Ministers for Water issues to consider 3 March of every year as Arab Water Day. She highlighted that climate change poses a serious threat to Arab water security, and is projected to have a dire effect on the quality and quantity of water resources.


Link to further information

ESCWA press release, 3 March 2010



The 2010 edition of International World Water Day, held annually on 22 March, was organized around the theme "clean water for a healthy world."

The World Water Day campaign is a year-long operation harnessing the best UN knowledge and disseminating its messages at local and global levels. To celebrate World Water Day, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with UN-Habitat, the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) and the Government of Kenya, hosted a three-day event at UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. These days brought together journalists, prominent personalities, scientists as well as policy makers involved in a dialogue to address water quality from many different perspectives. UN-Water launched its statement on water quality, a scientific panel addressed challenges and responses, a high-level panel discussed policy options and actions to improve water quality, and the outcomes of the event were communicated, through a live web-cast, to the UN General Assembly in New York, US, also organizing an event to celebrate World Water Day.


Link to further information

World Water Day website



On 16 February 2010, Anada Tiéga, Ramsar Secretary General, and Hartwig Schafer, Acting Vice President, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that aims to "establish a framework of cooperation between Ramsar and the World Bank in exchange of technical expertise and capacity building related to the development and implementation of climate change projects in wetlands in the context of the World Bank-financed climate change portfolio." According to the MoU, the Ramsar Secretariat will: provide technical support for the assessment, formulation, and development of climate change projects in wetlands in the geographical areas of wetland projects in the World Bank portfolio; assist in the development of tools and methodologies to assess the magnitude of carbon sinks in mangroves; support the development of the wetlands typology and protocol for assessing net carbon storage or carbon dioxide emissions under different conditions; and prepare jointly publications on the findings of the cooperation


Link to further information

The MoU



The World Trade Organization (WTO) is providing a discussion forum for stakeholders to present opinions on trade in natural resources, and has invited comments on two online articles on: trade and deforestation; and the relation between international trade and freshwater scarcity. Comments will be taken into account in the World Trade Report, an annual publication that aims to deepen understanding about trends in trade, trade policy issues and the multilateral trading system. The theme of the next edition, to be published in July 2010, is "Trade in Natural Resources: Challenges in Global Governance."


Link to further information

The reports and discussion forum



The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is executing a hydrographic survey within the Traffic Separation Scheme of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, as part of the Marine Electronic Highway (MEH) Demonstration Project of the Global Environment Facility/World Bank. The MEH Project aims to establish a regional mechanism in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore for enhanced maritime safety and marine environment protection, in a cooperative arrangement with the three littoral States (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), as well as the Republic of Korea, the International Hydrographic Organization, the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners. The demonstration project will link shore-based marine information and communication infrastructure with the corresponding navigational and communication facilities aboard transiting ships, while also being capable of incorporating marine environmental management systems.


Links to further information

MEH project website

IMO press release, 22 February 2010



The International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has partnered with the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI). The Initiative, which began in 2009, aims to help identify ecologically significant marine areas beyond national jurisdiction that are in need of protection.


Links to further information

UNESCO IOC press release, February 2010

GOBI website

UNESCO IOC website





The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Waste Concern, a Bangladeshi non-governmental organization (NGO), have launched in Dhaka, Bangladesh, an initiative to transform trash into cash to benefit cities in Asia and the Pacific. The initiative will help solid waste development strategies to become decentralized, pro-poor oriented, and promote self-financing through the sale of carbon credits. UNESCAP has been working with local partners since 2005 and have tested the approach in Sri Lanka and Vietnam with recycling plants serving about 1,000 households.


UNESCAP estimates that local governments spend on average up to 60 percent of their annual public budgets to collect, transport and dispose solid wastes. Rapid urbanization is leading to an increase in the production of solid waste. The initiative hopes to harness the potential of solid waste to provide a living to many families from recycling, both from inorganic recyclable waste and organic waste collection, which can be turned into compost and can generate seed funds costs through carbon credits.


Link to further information

UN News Centre, 22 February



On 3 February 2010, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), signed an agreement with Tibor Tóth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), to enhance cooperation between the two organizations, notably for the benefit of tsunami early warning systems and capacity building in developing countries. At the signing ceremony, Bokova noted that the data received by the CTBTO from its global network of monitoring stations can advance research on ocean processes and marine life, and contribute to sustainable development.


Link to further information

UNESCO IOC press release, 8 February 2010



Over 40 proposals will be considered at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), including on the bluefin tuna, elephant populations and a wide range of sharks, corals, reptiles, insects and plants. According to CITES Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers, "The marine theme of this year's CITES conference is particularly striking." Proposals will be considered to bring eight commercially fished species under the CITES appendices. Attention is particularly focused on Monaco's proposal to list bluefin tuna under CITES Annex I. According to recent reports, France has announced its support for the proposal, with the condition of an 18-month waiting period to allow for further scientific investigation of the issue and possibly permit increased small-scale fishing in coastal waters.


Links to further information

UNEP press release, 5 February 2010

ICTSD Bridges Trade BioRes, 5 February 2010



The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has partnered with the Government of Italy to provide clean water and better sanitation facilities to over 15,000 pupils in Kenya through the construction of rainwater harvesting tanks and latrines. The US$300,000 project, being implemented by the Kenyan NGO Sustainable Aid in Africa, will also support the creation of School Health Clubs to promote best hygiene practices in the selected schools and host communities.


Link to further information

UN-HABITAT press release, 2 February 2010



The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Fisheries and Aquaculture Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Philippe Cousteau "Union of the Oceans" Foundation on 28 January 2010, in Rome, Italy. The MoU formalizes and strengthens the existing cooperation between the two organizations. In particular, the partnership is expected to: strengthen collaboration with the Foundation to disseminate the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department's work within their own networks in Spain and Africa; create synergies between the two organizations for the benefit of national and regional fisheries administrations and regional fisheries organizations; establish strategic partnerships through common work in communications, development of international standards and guidelines towards sustainable fisheries; and increase participation of the Foundation in FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture's activities such as the Committee on Fisheries, and in food security and other related areas.


Link to further information

FAO press release, 2 February 2010



The World Bank has reported on some 320 projects it has been involved with under the Community Development Fund (CDF) project in Kosovo from 2001-2008. The projects aim to increase the quantity and quality of infrastructure and services in poor and conflict-affected communities, as well as the most vulnerable groups, and to promote local capacity building including participation and empowerment. The CDF financed the rehabilitation of the water system and, according to a review carried out by the CDF in consultation with stakeholders, a direct outcome of the CDF's water supply projects has been a dramatic reduction of waterborne diseases. In addition, the water supply systems financed by the project have eliminated time and effort in carrying water.


Link to further information

World Bank press release, February 2010



The Ramsar Secretariat celebrated World Wetlands Day on 2 February 2010, around the theme "Wetlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change" and with the slogan "Caring for wetlands: an answer to climate change." In a message to mark the Day, Anada Tiéga, Secretary General of the Ramsar Secretariat, explained that the Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of these vital ecosystems for our common future. He said this year's theme "captures the sense of urgency we all feel about the need to address the potentially disastrous consequences of global climate change as quickly as possible, particularly in the wake of the Copenhagen meeting of the UNFCCC."


Links to further information

World Wetlands Day 2010 website

Ramsar Secretary General's statement




On the 10th anniversary of the Baia Mare accident – a cyanide and heavy metals spill into the Sasar, Lapus, Somes and Tisza rivers that reached the Danube and eventually the Black Sea – the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) issued a reminder of the need for vigilance to prevent industrial accidents. Through the Secretariat of its Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (Industrial Accidents Convention) and of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), the UNECE has been supporting its member States in their joint work to reduce the likelihood of an industrial accident. Since its entry into force in 1996, the Water Convention has provided an important legal framework and contributed to improving transboundary water management in the pan-European region.


Link to further information

UNECE press release, 29 January 2010



Actors, rappers and environmentalists are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis, which affects over one billion people worldwide, and to raise funds for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations. Participants in the "Summit on the Summit" include actors Jessica Biel and Emile Hirsch, rapper Lupe Fiasco, conservationist and explorer Alexandra Cousteau, environmentalist Kick Kennedy, award-winning photographers Michael Muller and Jimmy Chin, singer Santi White, actress Isabel Lucas, and Elizabeth Gore, executive director of global partnerships at the UN Foundation.

Links to further information
UN press release, 8 January 2010

UNHCR press release, 8 January 2010


The European Commission (EC) has reported on the results of a study carried out to assess the sustainability of tourism on the coasts of Spain and help guide future planning decisions. The study focused on developing sustainability indicators for established coastal destinations in Spain, using a method that could be applied to resorts in other countries. The researchers calculated an overall global indicator for each destination, composed of the social, economic and environmental indicators. These global indicators suggest that the best destinations combine high sustainability conditions in waste and water management, safe beaches and lower ratios of peak season tourists to local residents because the tourist season is spread throughout the year.


Link to further information

EC press release, 7 January 2010



Every year, the UN observes 22 March as the World Day for Water, and UN-Water is responsible for choosing the day's host and theme. The 2010 World Water Day, coordinated by the UN Environment Programme, has the slogan "Clean Water for a Healthy World." UN-Water dedicates this day to the theme of water quality, reflecting its importance alongside quantity of the resource in water management. World Water Day 2010 activities will aim to communicate messages on water quality, ecosystems and human well-being.


Link to further information

2010 World Water Day website



The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHE) and the Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) have partnered to work on UNESCO-IHE's Waters and Society Programme, on the World Water Development Report of the UN and on the follow-up of the outcomes of the Fifth World Water Forum. WfWP and UNESCO-IHE were co-conveners of Topic 6.1 'Education and Capacity Development Strategies' at the fifth World Water Forum, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in March 2009. The strategic partnership is intended to broaden the joint efforts towards inclusion of gender issues and women's empowerment in the water and sanitation sectors.


Links to further information

UNESCO-IHE website

Women for Water Partnership website

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