China Japan Korea Russia

RCU calls on the President of the Republic of Korea’s National Institute of Fisheries Science
On 18 June 2018, Dr. Lev Neretin and Dr. LIU Ning of the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) called on Dr. SEO Jang Woo, President of the National Institute of Fisheries Science (NIFS) based in Busan. Expressing appreciation for NIFS support in hosting the RCU Busan Office, Dr. Neretin briefed the NIFS President on the progress made by NOWPAP in addressing the problem of microplastics pollution and marine litter and expressed an interest in enhancing cooperation with the Institute. Dr. SEO highlighted concern over the harmful impact of plastic pollution on fish stock and the need for greater efforts by NOWPAP member states to address this issue.
 From left to right: Dr. Go Woo Jin; Dr. LIU Ning, Dr. S SEO Jang Woo, Dr. Lev Neretin, Ms. Jihee Yi
(photo credit: Hayun Jeong)
NOWPAP RCU explores areas of cooperation with Busan Metropolitan City
On 18 June 2018, Dr. Lev Neretin and Dr. LIU Ning of NOWPAP RCU met with Mr. Song Sam-jong, Director-General, Marine and Fisheries Bureau of Busan Metropolitan City. Dr. Neretin invited Marine and Fisheries Bureau to attend the NOWPAP marine litter workshop to be held in Dalian, China in September 2018. He also discussed the importance and NOWPAP interest in exploring news areas of cooperation with Busan Metropolitan City on the development of green port infrastructure, city-led ‘blue economy’ as well as inter-regional cooperation in the framework of the Association of North East Asia Regional Governments (NEAR) where Busan City is a member.
Mr. Song suggested that NOWPAP pays more attention in addressing the problem of discarded/lost fishing gear, deep sea garbage and improving the marine environment for the increased fish production. He pointed out that abandoned fishing gear can remain in oceans for a long period of time and there is a need for international cooperation in removing the discarded fishing gear. NOWPAP could play a role in addressing the issue.
NOWPAP RCU and Busan Metropolitan City agreed to continue exploring areas of mutual interest in environmental protection through information sharing and future joint activities.

 Meeting with the Marine and Fisheries Bureau of Busan Metropolitan City (photo credit: Liu Ning)
Visit from Korean Consulate General in Niigata
Republic of Korea Consulate General in Niigata, Japan visits NOWPAP office

On 12 June 2018, Deputy Consul General, Mr. Seung-cheol Lim, discussed the issues of mutual interest with Dr. Lev Neretin, NOWPAP Senior Coordinator, at the RCU Toyama office. Among them were the implementation of the NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2018-2022 and the interest from both sides to enhance information exchange and collaboration between the two offices.

Marine Litter artworks exhibition opened in Toyama
An marine litter artworks exhibition started on the 7th of June 2018 at Himi City Beach Botanical Garden, Toyama, Japan. This is an annual exhibition organized by the Northwest Pacific Regional Environmental Cooperation Center (NPEC) in cooperation with Toyama prefecture, Toyama University, Toyama Environment Foundation, and UNEP NOWPAP.
All artworks were made of marine debris picked up at the beach in Toyama, and created by Toyama University students. In addition, the marine litter artworks, created by the 4th grade students at Himi City Kubo Elementary School, will be displayed from the 13th of June. The Exhibition will remain open until the 1st of July 2018.
University students clear litter from Russky Island off Vladivostok on World Environment Day
 Russky Island, Russian Federation, June 2018 - Students and teachers of Far Eastern Federal University located on Russky island in Peter the Great Gulf off Vladivostok on the Russian Federation’s Northwest Pacific coast, marked World Environment Day 2018 by removing 200 kg of marine litter from the island.

The coastal clean-up, organized by Ekostart Ltd, a non-governmental organization with the support of the Vladivostok City Administration, covered a 300 m section of the coastline and collected 50 kg of plastic and nearly 100 kg of glass, besides other waste.

The collected litter was sorted by the students and removed for further processing.

NOWPAP provided information support for the 5 June World Environment Day activity on Russky island.
UN Environment study reveals more endangered species in Northwest Pacific region
Beijing, 08 June 2018 – The number of marine species inhabiting the Northwest Pacific areas of China, Japan, the Korean peninsula and the Russian Federation that are at risk of survival is higher than previously estimated, according to an assessment by a United Nations regional marine and coastal conservation programme.

An evaluation by the UN Environment-sponsored Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP) has found that more endangered species are living in NOWPAP member countries than those listed in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The findings of the study by the NOWPAP Beijing-based Data and Information Regional Activity Centre (DINRAC) for its Endangered Species Database were revealed at an annual meeting of NOWPAP Member States held here.

Up to 143 species living in at least one of the member countries of the quarter century-old NOWPAP were evaluated as endangered in the IUCN Red List. The DINRAC assessment found the distribution range of these species to be wider than the area reported by IUCN.

“I hope the new findings of DINRAC will contribute to better planning for conservation of endangered species in the NOWPAP member states”, Dr. Yoshihisa Shirayama of the Japan Agency for Marine and Earth Science and Technology, who led the DINRAC assessment said.

The findings underline the urgency of the message of the annual World Oceans Day today recognized by the United Nations General Assembly to protect the shared global seas and its inhabitants. This year’s theme is preventing plastic pollution of the oceans which is a growing problem, especially for the animals that call the seas their home. It strengthens the call of this year’s World Environment Day marked on 5 June to “Beat Plastic Pollution”.

Most marine endangered species in the region are animals. Zalophus japonicus, commonly known as the Japanese Sea Lion that was widely found in the north-western Pacific till the 1950s was hunted into extinction with the last surviving individual killed in 1974.

However, as many as 10 species, consisting of 6 bony fishes, 3 birds and 1 sea turtle, ranked as critically endangered by IUCN, were confirmed living in the NOWPAP region. The rank of hawksbill sea turtle was raised from endangered to critically endangered during the second and latest phase of the DINRAC assessment.

Twenty-seven species were found to be endangered and 104 ranked as vulnerable by IUCN. These include a variety of groups such as whales, birds, sea-turtles, rays, sharks, corals, sea cucumbers and sea grasses.

Some invertebrate groups in the region are still to be evaluated by IUCN. For example, one of living fossil brachiopod species, Lingula adamsi, rated as critically endangered in the Japanese Red List of Marine Species published in March 2017, is not included in the IUCN Red List.

The 30-31 May 16th NOWPAP DINRAC Focal Points Meeting in Beijing endorsed the third phase. of data collection for species in the Red Lists of NOWPAP Member States. The activity during 2018-2019 aims to support proactive biodiversity conservation in member countries.

Member countries also endorsed DINRAC project proposals to evaluate the environmental impacts of human activity in marine areas and of land reclamation from the sea. Sea farms, seaports, oil and oceanological platforms, underwater pipelines, industrial and municipal sewage, river run-off from industrially developed areas are a major source of marine pollution in the region as is growing land reclamation.

DINRAC is one of four NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres that support evidence-based policymaking and help build preparedness in member countries to protect and sustainably use the marine and coastal environment in keeping with their commitment to the global 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by world leaders in September 2015.

World Environment Day 2018

The 2018 World Environment Day (WED) theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” is encouraging people worldwide to take a critical look at their own relation to single-use plastic and make real efforts to break their dependency on disposable plastic.

World Environment Day is the single largest celebration of our environment each year. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe. For more information, visit
School children team up with UN and NGOs to clean up Busan beach on World Environment Day
Busan, Republic of Korea, 06 June 2018 – Unmindful of the rain, scores of excited school children walked around Busan’s popular Haeundae beach, picking up plastic cups, bottles, discarded fishing gear and other waste littering the seashore as they took part in a coastal clean-up to mark World Environment Day on 5 June.

Eighty junior school students from Busan’s Dong Cheon Elementary School joined the activity organized by the UN Environment Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP) in collaboration with Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea (MOF), Korea Environment Management Corporation (KOEM), and OSEAN (Our Sea of East Asia Network), a Korean non-governmental organization (NGO).

About 70 local people together with NOWPAP officials and civil society groups took part in the International Coastal Clean-up Campaign (ICC) on the beach which attracts large number of tourists. A total of 51 kg of litter, including fishing rods and nets and styrofoam boxes were collected. The two-hour event also featured talks by experts and school teachers on marine litter. A special training was organized on how to collect and measure microplastic particles - products of plastic degradation harmful to the marine environment,

“I knew that there was rubbish on the beach, but not this much! I now know that we need to use less plastic,” said 12-year-old schoolgirl, Shin Dong Yoon

The Busan ICC was the latest in a series of such events organized by NOWPAP annually on the Northwest Pacific beaches of its member states – Japan, the People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.

The ICCs are part of the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter launched in March 2008 to prevent the entry of litter into seas and coasts, monitor marine litter quantities and its distribution, and remove/dispose marine litter.

Annual marine litter management workshops and ICCs are held in each NOWPAP country in collaboration with NGOs. Public awareness is a key element of the Action Plan and a variety of brochures, leaflets and posters on marine litter have been published in local languages and distributed widely in the region. A series of guidelines to reduce marine litter have also been developed for the fishing, shipping and tourism industry as well as a booklet on recycling plastic marine litter.
Marine litter, found on beaches, shores and on the seas in the region, consists mostly of very slowly or non-degradable waste such as plastics, including extended polystyrenethat originates from land- and sea-based sources from fisheries and aquaculture. It results in environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problems, including a possible transfer of toxic substances and invasive species. Marine life is also at risk of entanglement, suffocation and ingestion.

World Environment Day 2018

The 2018 World Environment Day (WED) theme “Beat Plastic Pollution” is encouraging people worldwide to take a critical look at their own relation to single-use plastic and make real efforts to break their dependency on disposable plastic.

World Environment Day is the single largest celebration of our environment each year. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe. For more information, visit

Need for harmonized approach to tackle microplastics threat to Northwest Pacific seas
Busan, Republic of Korea, June 2018 – The growing threat to Northwest Pacific seas from difficult-to-measure microplastics requires closer coordination among experts engaged in evaluating the dangers these pose to the marine environment, participants at a United Nations-sponsored scientific forum here have concluded.
Experts from Japan, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation attending the Expert Meeting of the NOWPAP special project: “Monitoring and Assessment Methods for Microplastics pollution” emphasized the need to harmonize standards and methods used for measuring and monitoring microplastics pollution.
The 03 June meeting was convened under the Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP), a part of the four-decade-old Regional Seas Programme of UN Environment that works to prevent and reverse the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas.
Ranging from 5 mm to nano proportions, microplastics are produced from fragmentation of larger plastic fragments, but also are used in personal care and cosmetic products as well as in pre-production plastic resin pellets. They are increasingly contaminating the world’s seas and oceans, posing a serious threat to the marine environment and marine biodiversity as well as human health by entering food chains.
There is growing scientific evidence linking microplastics to persistent chemicals such as the pesticide DDT and toxic PCBs. Research shows these are adsorbed or embedded during production of plastics and present not only on ocean surfaces but even in deep-sea sediments. An assessment by the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology found the world’s highest concentration of microplastics in the East Asian seas in the Northwest Pacific region at 1.7 million pieces per square km, about 27 times the global average making the region a global “microplastics hot-spot”.
The Expert Meeting also discussed further development of the NOWPAP Special Project ‘Monitoring and assessment methods for microplastics pollution’ which will be implemented during 2019-2022.
It was agreed that the Special Project would use existing microplastics monitoring criteria in NOWPAP countries and later develop a harmonized regional approach for microplastics pollution monitoring. Existing eco-toxicological studies of the impact of microplastics on the environment would be used as part of a harmonized regional approach to microplastics ecological risk assessment.
Monitoring of microplastics pollution would be carried out in selected sites in the NOWPAP region and a plan prepared for a regional programme for microplastics assessment and monitoring.
The recommendations of the Expert Meeting on the focus of the special project were later endorsed by the 2018 Northwest Pacific Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) Meeting held on 5-6 June in Busan. The proposed Special Project will be reviewed by NOWPAP member countries at the 23rd NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) scheduled in Moscow, Russian Federation in October 2018.
Addressing the threat to the marine and coastal environment from microplastics is a priority of the NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy (MTS) 2018-2023. The MTS aims to support scientific evidence-based policymaking in NOWPAP member countries to protect the marine and coastal environment for present and future generations, a key goal of the global 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Expert Meeting of the NOWPAP special project: “Monitoring and Assessment Methods for Microplastics pollution”
San Diego, CA,  12-16th March 2018 - NOWPAP was among contributors at the 6th International Marine Debris Conference (6IMDC). This largest global event for marine litter community was organized by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It was built upon the success of the Honolulu Strategy developed at the 2011 5IMDC, where NOWPAP was also present and contributed to the strategy formulation. The 6IMDC brought together international marine debris researchers, natural resource managers, policy makers, industry representatives, and the non-governmental community. Objectives of this international conference included sharing lessons learned and best practices to reduce and prevent marine debris and its impacts; promoting international co-learning; exchanging innovative ideas such as market incentives and communication strategies; and sharing the latest research initiatives, methods, and results. In total 75 technical sessions across ten track areas were represented at the meeting. The conference was attended by several hundred participants and was a clear manifestation of the “maturity” of the global understanding and response to marine litter issues. The depth of collaborations and scope of partnerships addressing this important global challenge increased dramatically since the last conference in 2011. Several sessions were dedicated to micro- and nano-plastics in the environment, new technologies and tools to prevent and mitigate the impacts of marine litter. Participants also shared experiences in using digital technologies and communication tools. Sustainable business practices and emerging applications of plastics circular economy were presented. NOWPAP Coordinator, Dr. Lev Neretin, talk about successes and lessons learned in the development and implementation of the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) at the session moderated by US NOAA focused on marine litter action plans. During the conference, NOWPAP Coordinator held several working meetings with various NOWPAP partners, including microplastics researchers from Japan, R. Korea and the Russian Federation, GESAMP, OSEAN, and various colleagues from the UNEP. Dr. Nikolay Kozlovsky of NOWPAP POMRAC presented results of his research on micro-plastics discharge with rivers in the NOWPAP region; it was received with a great interest by participants at the conference. NOWPAP also attended and made contributions at the working lunch on the priorities and future activities of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter. The entire conference was an inspiration for the future work of NOWPAP in this area. Presentationss made at the meeting should become available at the conference website soon.
6th International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, California
NOWPAP Seeks Further Synergies With YSLME Project On Marine Environmental Protection
Dalian, P.R. China,  27-29 March 2018 - Dr. Liu Ning of NOWPAP RCU discussed further cooperation on marine environmental protection with the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystems (YSLME) Phase II Project during the Second Meeting of Management, Science and Technical Panel (MSTP) and the Second Meeting of the Interim Commission Council held on 27-29 March 2018 in Dalian, P.R. China. More than 45 representatives from the Chinese government, Korean government, UNDP, UNOPS, NOWPAP, and NGOs attended the meetings.

Dr. Liu Ning introduced NOWPAP Mid-term strategy for 2018-2023 and programme of work for 2018-2019. He proposed to explore cooperation with YSLME project in the areas of regional governance, biodiversity and marine litter. The project will send a programme officer to attend NOWPAP CEARAC Focal Point Meeting (FPM) to discuss cooperation on the development of the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Biodiversity.

The meeting approved the establishment of the Yellow Small Grant Program. Participants agreed to extend the project from July 2018 to December 2019. Also a decision was made to establish the YSLME Commission as a non-legally binding entity.

YSLME Project Phase II Project Second Meeting of Management and Technical Panel (MSTP-2)
and the Second Meeting of the Interim Commission Council (ICC-2)
Northwest Pacific nations act to protect their rich marine and coastal fauna and flora
 Toyama, Japan, 11 May 2018 – Four Northwest Pacific nations are stepping up cooperation to protect the wealth of fauna and flora found in their seas and shores which are under growing threat from human activities and climate change.

Representatives of Japan, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation met here with biodiversity conservation experts at a United Nations forum and discussed the preparation of a Regional Action Plan on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Conservation scheduled to be launched in 2023.

The 10-11 May ‘Sixteenth NOWPAP CEARAC Focal Points Meeting’ brought together the four member countries of the United Nations-sponsored Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP) for their annual review of activities of the NOWPAP Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC) based in Toyama.

One of the most biologically diverse regions in the world, the northwest Pacific is home to tens of thousands of marine, land-based and avian species, over a hundred of which are classified as endangered in degree, ranging from vulnerable to critical. The NOWPAP region also accounts for a significant share of the global fisheries catch. Loss of marine biodiversity affects the capacity of seas to provide food and livelihoods.

Climate change, habitat destruction, aquaculture, nutrient overloading of seas, overfishing and non-indigenous and invasive species are posing an increasing threat to NOWPAP marine and coastal biodiversity. Excessive nutrient inflow is resulting in eutrophication of coastal waters and harmful algal blooms. The rate of increase of protected coastal and marine areas in the region is among the lowest in the world, well below globally agreed conservation targets.

A regional action plan for marine and coastal biodiversity conservation will harness the expertise of the four NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres which work on monitoring marine and coastal environmental health along with pollution prevention and reduction. It will also provide a framework for intraregional cooperation on biodiversity conservation, a key component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Some NOWPAP member countries share borders and have similar biological species facing common threats,

The Regional Action Plan will focus on IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List species, invasive alien species and sensitive habitat mapping.
NOWPAP contributes to the development of "Seoul Outcome Plus 2" at the Convention of Biological Diversity meeting in Seoul, R. Korea
 13 April, 2018, Seoul, R. Korea: NOWPAP representatives participated in the second meeting of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations (RSOs) and Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) on Accelerating Progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals, convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity in collaboration with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea and the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Environment Programme, from 10 to 13 April 2018 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. At the meeting NOWPAP presented at the plenary session, facilitated working group discussion, and provided inputs for the "Seoul Outcome Plus 2" – final document of the meeting. The meeting made several important recommendations, including for further development of NOWPAP marine biodiversity activities, including: (i) continuing inter-regional cross-fertilization and knowledge transfer while accepting the regional diversity; (ii) identifying existing complementary capacities, resources and activities within regional organizations to enhance regional cooperation and coordination and support national-level implementation; (iii) encouraging Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Seas Fisheries Bodies to consider creating or further developing regional cross-sectoral dialogues to identify areas and modalities of cooperation and collaboration; (iv) identifying regional priorities and availability of resources; and (v) taking 'Seoul Outcome Plus 2' into practice through various inter-sessional activities. The details of the meeting discussion were reported to the global audience and available at:
Participants of the 2nd SOI meeting promising with a heart symbol and NOWPAP facilitated session
participants prepare inputs for the Outcome Document
Dr. Liu Ning (NOWPAP)
NOWPAP addresses regional workshop on inter-Korean cooperation in Seoul, R. Korea
 May 11th, 2018, Seoul, R. Korea: Together with other regional partners (Yellow Sea LME Phase II project, PEMSEA, and East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership) and national stakeholders in R. Korea, NOWPAP (also on behalf of UNEP) delivered a keynote presentation and contributed to the identification of priorities for maritime cooperation between two Koreas at the Regional Workshop on Putting Sustainable Marine and Coastal Ecosystems into Inter-Korean Cooperation. The Workshop organized by the R. Korea National Assembly and Korea Maritime Institute was attended by over 150 participants from public and private sector. It provided ample opportunities to discuss past, ongoing and potential future initiatives to support sustainable development of the coastal and marine environment in seas surrounding two Koreas (also falling into the geographic coverage of NOWPAP). The main sentiment among participants who spoke at the meeting was the importance of integrating marine environmental protection and sustainable maritime development into future inter-Korean development cooperation framework. Learning from lessons of the past, high risks to the environment and society from intensive development pressures should be recognized and internalized through the promotion of environmentally sustainable practices and technologies. The important role of international organizations in the future, including UNEP and NOWPAP, as impartial brokers and knowledge partners was mentioned by some participants. In his address, NOWPAP Coordinator argued for including the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 14 focused on oceans, as a crucial element of potential bilateral and international cooperation framework with North Korea. Some of his proposals included focusing on the joint development of DPRK’s Blue Growth Coastal Strategy/Master Plan that should consider, inter alia, blue growth strategic investment projects targeting as a first priority transboundary issues (migratory species, sustainable fisheries, and pollution reduction).
Participants at the meeting
NOWPAP Coordinator, Lev Neretin, speaks at the session on the role of international organizations
NOWPAP discusses potential cooperation with the Secretariat of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat
May 11, 2018, Seoul, R. Korea: NOWPAP Coordinator attended the 2018 International Forum for the Trilateral Cooperation (IFTC) “The Opening of a New Chapter for Trilateral Cooperation – The Past 10 years, the Coming 10 Years” held in Tokyo on April 18th, 2018. The forum brought together around 30 high-profile government officials and prominent scholars to share their insights along with the forum theme and attracted more than 300 participants from three governments, academia, media, business sectors and diplomatic community. As a follow up to the meeting, NOWPAP Coordinator had a working lunch with Ms. JANG EunYoung, the Director of Economic Affairs of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat and her colleagues on May 11th, 2018 in Seoul, R. Korea.
The Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) is an international organization established with a vision to promote peace, stability and common prosperity of the East Asian Region. Pursuant to
the Agreement on the Establishment of the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat (TCS) signed and ratified by the three governments of the People’s Republic of China (China), the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, the TCS was officially inaugurated in Seoul in September 2011. Among main function of the TCS is (i) providing support for trilateral consultative mechanisms; (ii) exploring and facilitating cooperative projects; (iii) communicating and coordinating with other international organizations and stakeholders, and (iv) generating databases, research and publications. Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting (TEMM) is one of the longest-living and well-established mechanisms among all the current 21 ministerial-level consultative mechanisms. TEMM is one of the most important mechanisms that the TCS supports. By providing administrative and technical support to the meetings, following up to conduct projects assigned at TEMM, and exploring and implementing cooperative projects under the 9 priorities, the TCS is paving its way to make meaningful and substantial contribution to the TEMM mechanism. NOWPAP is cooperating with TEMM Group on marine litter.
During the lunch, two sides exchanged the information about the ongoing activities of the two organizations and explored potential areas for cooperation. NOWPAP RCU will continue exploring how two institutions could support each other mandates, particularly those related to marine environmental protection and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Senior representatives from the three countries at the 2018 International Forum for the Trilateral Cooperation (IFTC) held in Tokyo, Japan
“My intern experience at UNEP NOWPAP RCU Toyama office” by Ms. Kotoe KURODA, for her internship program from August 2017 to February 2018
NOWPAP RCU Toyama office's former intern, Ms. Kotoe KURODA, has posted an article about her experience as NOWPAP intern onto some of the news sites of the international recruitment information center run by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Here is the summary of the article;

* Application for the NOWPAP internship
I have found the NOWPAP internship program in my university's news bulletin in December 2016, when I had been wondering how I should spend 6 months after my scheduled graduation in September 2017 before joining a company in April 2018.
As this program looked perfect for me, who had majored in environment and was always interested in international organizations and marine environment, I decided to apply.
Vacancy announcement was posted on the UN's specific website, where I downloaded application forms, and submitted with cover letter online.
Then I received an invitation for the telephone interview.
Since this was my first time to have created a cover letter, and to have a telephone interview for UN internship program, I had collected relevant information through internet to prepare for the interview.
I was nervous at the interview, especially because I couldn't see the facial expressions of the selection panel members, but I tried to speak cheerfully.
I know I couldn’t answer to some questions, I received an acceptance letter in a few days afterward.

* During the internship
I had commuted to NOWPAP office for 6 months; walked in sweat in summer, rode a bicycle in autumn, and took a street car in snowy winter.
My main assignments were; assisting preparation/logistic arrangement of international conferences and workshops, drafting newsletter designs, drafting website articles, etc., all of these were discussed and determined with the Coordinator.
I didn't think these jobs were too difficult, however, my drafts received a lot of corrections/revisions, which made me realize that I should improve my English especially writing skills.
Japanese language was necessary to communicate with Japanese people outside of the office, and to do research, the rest was all in English.
In addition to the NOWPAP's 4 staff members (Toyama, Japan and Busan, Korea), I had opportunities to communicate with people from 4 Regional Activity Centers, member states governments, UNEP headquarters, and Toyama prefecture/city government offices from time to time.
I was glad when I saw some people at international conferences with whom I had communicated with, and when they recognized me saying "you are the intern who gave me the e-mails, thank you!".

* Looking back at the internship life in Toyama
Living in Toyama for 6 months seemed to have passed relatively slowly, but I was able to;
see how international organizations function, gain knowledge on marine environment, know how international organizations' goals affect decisions at local levels, etc.
I could see how NOWPAP functions, as it is a small organization, and witnessed how member states discuss and reach agreements at the annual intergovernmental meeting.
I also realized how different the life in rural areas is from big cities, while I was able to learn about Toyama City's environmental future city development plans, and of course, I have visited various spots in this region.
NOWPAP was at full force at the joint Toyama Prefecture-Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center symposium focused on environmental problems in the Northwest Pacific marine environment
December 21st, 2017: Toyama Prefecture of Japan jointly with the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center organized an international environment symposium entitled "Productive sea and marine environmental conservation" on 21 December 2017 in Toyama, Japan. Toyama Prefecture Governor Mr. Takakazu Ishii made an opening remarks followed by the Director of the Asia and the Pacific Office of the UN Environment, Dr. Dechen Tsering. Various presenters, including all four Directors of the NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers and NOWPAP Senior Coordinator as well as well-known Japanese researchers talk about environmental issues and solutions for the protection of the marine and coastal environment of the Northwest Pacific region at the symposium. Students of Takaoka High School made an engaging presentation about the use of digital media in schools to mobilize students in action combating marine litter. The meeting was well attended with more than 60 people present; many were high school students from Toyama Prefecture. NOWPAP presentations delivered at the symposium are available to upload here.
Northwest Pacific nations approve marine, coastal environment protection principles
 Toyama, Japan, 2 January 2017 – Four northwest Pacific nations meeting here for a yearly review of over two-decade-old joint efforts tackling environmental threats to their seas and shores, have agreed on the principles of an updated marine and coastal conservation strategy for one of the world’s most populous regions.

Representatives of Japan, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation attending the Twenty-second Intergovernmental Meeting of the Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP) held from 19 to 21 December, endorsed the vision of a new six-year strategy to align the 23-year-old Action Plan with the global sustainable development agenda adopted by world leaders in September 2015 .

The proposed NOWPAP Medium Term Strategy (MTS) 2018-2023 envisions "a resilient Northwest Pacific marine and coastal environment, supporting sustainable development for the long-term benefit of present and future generations". This is to be promoted by leveraging the best scientific knowledge to inform policy- and decision-making and promoting intraregional cooperation and synergy among project activities. Member countries will integrate the MTS vision in national marine coastal and marine conservation strategies.

The Meeting approved a significant step up in funding to US$1,300,000 for NOWPAP activities for the 2018-2019 period, to be implemented by four Regional Activity Centres that focus on assessing the state of the coastal environment, monitoring pollution levels and developing marine disaster preparedness and response capacities of member states.

Acknowledging the importance of ensuring that NOWPAP activities support national and regional progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Meeting called on member states to finalize MTS 2018-2023, drawing on lessons learned during implementation of the MTS 2012-2017.

Addressing the opening session, H.E. Mr. Tamaki TSUKADA, Deputy Assistant Minister International Cooperation Bureau, Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan, said NOWPAP provides an effective regional cooperation platform for addressing emerging shared marine environmental issues. “There is no better time than now for NOWPAP member states to assess developments in ocean protection, review their strategy and adopt policy guidelines,” he said.

Taking note of the growing threat to the Northwest Pacific coastal and marine environment from marine litter, in particular microplastics, the Meeting called on NOWPAP member states to step up Action Plan activities to prevent, monitor and remove marine litter at national and local level, working through the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter adopted in 2008.

It endorsed a proposed special project to monitor and assess the impact of the growing microplastics pollution in the region, which will be led by the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences.

Located between approximately 121 degree E and 143 degree E longitude, and approximately 33 degree N and 52 degree N latitude, the Northwest Pacific Region includes coastal areas and islands in both sub-polar and temperate zones and is home to about 300 million people, most of them living in coastal areas in China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russia.

The spectacular marine life and commercially important fishing resources in the NOWPAP region are increasingly threatened by coastal development, land-based activities, oil spills and marine litter. The region is particularly vulnerable to marine pollution incidents due to its high shipping density. Over-fishing, nutrient overloading, introduction of non-indigenous and invasive species, aquaculture, destruction and modification of habitats, and climate change impact are major threats to the coastal and marine ecosystems.

Launched in 1994, the Action Plan is one of 18 Regional Seas Programme of UN Environment which aims to protect and ensure sustainable use of the world’s coastal and marine environment.
Protecting Northwest Pacific seas and coasts from marine environmental disasters
A decade after the Hebei Spill
The clear blue seawater and white sand make Mallipo Beach in the Republic of Korea’s western coastal Taean County along the Yellow Sea, one of the country’s most popular seaside resorts.

Nobody will notice if watching the seashore at present that over 3 km-long Mallipo seashore was covered by a black sludge after the crude oil carrier Hebei Spirit anchored off nearby Daesan Port was accidentally hit by an industrial barge on the morning of 7 December 2007 and leaked over 12,000 kilolitres of its cargo.
  (Mallipo Beach after Hebei spill )
  (Mallipo Beach after clean-up)
Described as the country’s worst oil spill, the spill affected over 70 km of coast in Taen County, 34,700 ha of marine farms and one of Asia’s largest wetland areas, causing an estimated US$3.8 billion worth of economic damage. It took over 10 months to remove the oil and sticky tar from the water and shores and a total of four years for affected coastal ecosystems to show signs of recovery. More than 2 million people, over half of them citizen volunteers worked with personnel from the Korean Coast Guard, Navy and other government agencies to clean up the affected coasts and inland waters.

The Hebei Spirit oil spill incident showed the importance of being prepared to respond swiftly to such disasters in a region with heavy maritime traffic and at high risk of spill incident of oil and other hazardous and noxious substances (HNS). Stretching from the People’s Republic of China’s coast along the Yellow Sea to the eastern shores of Japan and the Russian mainland coast in the north, the Northwest Pacific region saw 26 oil and HNS spill incidents of over 1,000 tons from 1990 to 2016, and more than 200 oil and HNS spill incidents ranging from 50 and 1,000 tons.

Aware of the importance of working together to be better able to prevent and cope with such mishaps, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation have come together since 1994 on a United Nations platform to strengthen marine environmental emergency preparedness and response capacities.

A Northwest Pacific Regional Contingency Plan (RCP) to deal with oil and HNS spills adopted in 2003 was activated following the Hebei Spirit oil spill incident with China and Japan shipping and airlifting 66 tons of sorbents to clean up the spilled oil. United Nations experts helping the four countries to implement the Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP), were dispatched to provide technical support to Korean authorities dealing with the spill.

To mark the 10th year of the Hebei Spirit oil spill incident, the NOWPAP Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre (MERRAC) brought together some 240 experts from NOWPAP member countries as well leading relevant international and domestic organizations to share worldwide experiences and expertise related to maritime disaster response, review the lessons learned from major oil and HNS spill incidents at sea, marine environmental disaster response policies and the latest information in coping with such marine disasters.

This ‘2017 International Maritime Disaster Response Conference’ held in Busan, Republic of Korea (6-7 December 2017) was organized by the Korea Coast Guard (KCG), under the support of Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO), Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) and other national institutions.

Experts participated in the Conference emphasized the importance of international cooperation in dealing with maritime disaster preparedness and that would require better response capacities. During the conference, there was R&D exhibition outside of the conference room so that all the participants could be introduced with the cutting-edge developments. After the conference, participants had special time watching the oil spill response exercises conducted by Busan Coast Guard Korea and KOEM.

Based in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, MERRAC is responsible for regional co-operation in the field of marine pollution prevention and response of the NOWPAP region and since established in March 2000 at KRISO, MERRAC has been helping strengthen the region’s marine pollution response capabilities using scientific knowledge and operational exercises at sea.

NOWPAP member countries are also streamlining national capabilities. For example, China is finalizing a national contingency plan for marine oil spill incidents and has boosted spill prevention and clean-up capacity. Japan has set up a National Strike Team specialized in dealing with oil and HNS spills. Korea empowered the field of Research and Development after going through the hardship of major oil spill incident to develop cutting-edge marine pollution response equipment and resources. In Russia, Federal Agency for maritime and River Transport is authorized to implement Maritime Rescue Service carrying out of permanent oil spill response preparedness.

For further information please refer to NOWPAP MERRAC website at:
International experts explore innovated approaches to respond maritime emergencies
 6 December 2017, Busan. More than 250 experts from P.R. China, Japan, Russian Federation, USA, Canada, and R. Korea have gathered at the 2017 International Maritime Disaster Response Conference in Busan, Korea to explore new measures on addressing maritime emergencies caused by pollution incidents.

The 7th of December 2017 marked the 10th year of Hebei Spirit oil spill incident that occurred near the port of Daesan on the Yellow Sea coast of Taean County, R. Korea. Some 10,900 t of crude oil was spilled in the incident and polluted about 70 km of the western coast of Korea in 2007. Damage claim requisition reached US$3.8 billion. The NOWPAP Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Center (MERRAC), Korea Coast Guard, Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering, Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM), and Korea Environment Institute have co-organized this international conference to commemorate the Hebei Spirit incident, to review lessons learnt of major pollution incidents at sea, policies and the latest technologies on maritime disasters management, and to develop a future work plan for the increased capacity to address maritime disasters.

At the conference, Korea Coast Guard elaborated its new paradigm shift to maritime disaster response and enhancement of national response capacity. U.S. Coast Guard shared their experience in addressing Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig Oil Spill incident. The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) provided information about major oil spill accidents in Europe. KOEM presented lessons and challenges from large-scale oil spill incidents in the R. Korea. Moreover, representatives from R. Korea, P.R. China, Japan and the Russian Federation updated participants about their national policies and approaches to tackle maritime disasters. The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds introduced how the international system could address incidents like Hebei Spirit oil spill. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported about organization’s activities supporting exchange of technical knowledge, polices and infrastructure related to marine oil spill prevention, preparedness and response. IMO representative emphasized that these activities are relatively well understood and capacities developed, while new risks and challenges of oil spills associated with offshore drilling incidents and exploration in the deeper waters are emerging and would require better understanding and improved response capacity. Experts have also discussed the 4th industrial revolution and the future of maritime disaster response, surveillance modeling and visualization. NOWPAP MERRAC introduced the NOWPAP Regional Oil and Harmful and Noxious Contingency Plan and its implementation at the conference.

In the afternoon of 7 December 2017, the maritime disaster response exercise was held in the port of Busan by the Coast Guard of R. Korea. Conference participants acknowledged with satisfaction and with the appreciation to organizers the importance of this meeting as a platform to share new ideas and demonstrate new response technologies to maritime emergencies associated with pollution incidents at sea.
The 3rd session of the UN Environment Assembly Commits to a Pollution-Free Planet and Awards Environmental Champions from China
4-6 December 2017, Nairobi, Kenya. Attended by over 4000 personnel working on environmental issues, the 3rd session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) focused on the theme “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” and successfully became the first UNEA to issue a Declaration by environmental ministers. The Declaration stated that nations would honor efforts to prevent, mitigate and manage all forms of pollution.

“Today we have put the fight against pollution high on the global political agenda,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment in the official press-release after the Assembly. “We have a long struggle ahead of us, but the summit showed there is a real appetite for significant positive change. It isn’t just about the UN and governments, though. The massive support we have seen from civil society, businesses and individuals – with millions of pledges to end pollution – show that this is a global challenge with a global desire to win this battle together.”

Out of the 13 Resolutions passed to address various types of pollution, one was on marine litter and microplastics. Of relevance to the NOWPAP, the resolution encouraged Member states to establish harmonized standards and methodologies for measuring marine litter and microplastics and to implement action plans for preventing marine litter and microplastics, encouraging resource efficiency, including prevention and increasing collection and recycling rates of plastic waste and re-design and re-use of products, materials and avoiding the unnecessary use of plastic and plastic containing chemicals of particular concern where appropriate.

Also at UNEA-3 was the presentation of the UN’s highest environmental award, the Champions of the Earth Award. Three out of the six award winners are from P.R. China.

Mobike, the world’s largest smart bike-sharing company, was awarded for expanding bike sharing as an alternative to motorized transport and avoiding CO2 emissions equivalent to 1.24 million cars off the road per year.

Saihanba Afforestation Community has increased forest cover in Saihanba at the southern edge of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region from 11.4% to 80% since they started their afforestation in 1962. The planted forests now supply clean water to the Chinese capital and Tianjin areas.

Wang Wenbiao, Chairman of Elion Resources Group received the award for taking leadership in combating desertification in Inner Mongolia. The project is a prime example of how private companies can generate profits while making important contribution to sustainable development.
UN Internship Vacancy Announcement
Environmental Affairs and Communication Intern (Toyama, Japan or Busan, R. Korea)
 Regional Coordinating Unit of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) is seeking applications from qualified candidates for two internship positions in NOWPAP offices in Toyama, Japan and Busan, R. The NOWPAP internship is on a non-reimbursable basis and provides selected candidates with a first-hand experience working for the United Nations in the field of environmental affairs and public communication. Applications is open until the post is filled. For further information about the internship and the application process follow the link.
Joint PEMSEA-NOWPAP Integrated Coastal Management Training of Trainers
(ICM ToT) Course Starts
 20-24 November 2017, the Philippines. PEMSEA Resource Facility and NOWPAP are co-organizers of the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) training course in Manila and Batangas, Philippines, aimed at mid-career professionals working in the field. 15 participants from PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers and 4 participants from NOWPAP POMRAC will learn how to deliver effective ICM training courses on the ground in their countries. The course covers the basic principles of ICM development and implementation, includes case studies and fieldwork culminating in formulation of ICM action plans. On November 23rd, NOWPAP is organizing a session on marine litter management for course participants followed by a special joint NOWPAP-PEMSEA session on further development of ICM related activities as a part of the NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2018-2023. Leading experts from NOWPAP member states will attend the session. The training and dialogue among participants from NOWPAP Member States are important steps in further strengthening ICM in the region.
NOWPAP attends Global Dialogue on Technology for Resilient Cities
On October 17th and 18th 2017, NOWPAP attended the Global Dialogue on Technology for Resilient Cities organized by the UN Environment International Environment Technology Centre in Osaka, Japan. Over 100 participants including city/state/ministerial officials from Asia, international organizations, NGOs, and universities attended the dialogue to explore how technologies can contribute to urban resilience against environmental impacts, especially on waste issues.

Some of the themes covered in the presentations were global mechanisms, national to city scale management strategies, project finance, and education. One distinctive case study that made participants grin was the North-South city exchange between Sao Paolo, Brazil and Copenhagen, Denmark where Sao Paolo, inspired by Copenhagen’s “Recycling is gold” campaign, successfully raised waste issue awareness by painting their waste collection trucks into gold.

Many participants emphasized that technological solutions are available for many environmental problems, but that the lack of conducive to technology adoption including effective laws, policies and human capacities is hindering its application. Furthermore, it was noted that technology must be used strategically and needs to be evaluated according to specific project areas. The learnings about waste management, technology and beyond will help NOWPAP to further enhance outreach and tackling marine litter issues.

Strengthening co-operation between NOWPAP and North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES)
From 22 September to 1 October 2017, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) held an 2017 Annual Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia. More than 300 scientists and specialists from PICES member states and elsewhere attended the meeting entitled: “Environmental Changes in the North Pacific and Impacts on Biological Resources and Ecosystem Services.” Scientific sessions / workshops, poster sessions and plenaries were held to exchange knowledge and findings related to this theme.

NOWPAP was co-convenor for the session, “Microplastics in marine environments: Fate and effects”, and supporter of the “Long-term changes in Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) occurrences in PICES nations; the Eastern vs. Western Pacific” workshop. Both sessions covered research from regional to global scales. The microplastics session covered different parts of the microplastic pollution chain, from the sources of microplastics to its effects on organisms. The HAB workshop included research investigating the effects of environmental factors on HABs, to research looking at species composition in blooms. PICES Board and Council meetings were also held during the Annual Meeting.

NOWPAP Senior Coordinator, Lev Neretin, addressed members of PICES Science Board and presented several priorities for institutional cooperation to advance the implementation of the NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2018-2023. NOWPAP also submitted a statement to the PICES Governing Board. As a result of discussions with PICES five areas of future co-operation were identified: 1. NOWPAP will continue working on the two existing priority of the PICES-NOWPAP Framework for Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific Ocean by a joint PICES-NOWPAP Study Group on Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific Ocean (SG-SCOOP) in 2015: HAB and marine litter, including microplastics: It is important to continue practice organizing joint meetings and workshops during PICES annual meetings and at other occasions where appropriate. 2. Collaboration of Ecosystem Status Reporting; 3. Marine and coastal biodiversity with a focus on invasive species: NOWPAP and PICES aim at enhance cooperation in this area through PICES AP-NIS platform; and 4. Joint regular publication on Emerging Issues: Considering unparalleled access of PICES to the best scientific knowledge and expertise on marine issues in the region and NOWPAP’s access to policy and decision-makers, one potential area of interest to NOWPAP is partnering with PICES in producing concise and focused annual briefs about emerging marine environmental issues in the region. Proposed Emerging Issues Briefs would aim to provide early warning information to policy makers to allow them to make preventive measures; 5. Collaborative work on climate change adaptation/resilience of socio-ecological systems: This is one area where NOWPAP lacks expertise and will explore partnering with PICES through co-sponsoring relevant events and meetings and bringing the knowledge back to NOWPAP; one of the earliest opportunities would be the ICES/PICES Marine Socio-Ecological Systems Symposium (MSEAS II) to be held in Yokohama in 2020.

(Dr. Peter Kershaw (GESAMP Chairman) speaking at the PICES-2017 session on microplastics")
NOWPAP Trust Fund reaches Full Replenishment in 2017
With the confirmed 100% contribution from the P.R. China, NOWPAP Trust Fund reaches one hundred percent replenishment level in 2017. NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit and its Regional Activity Centers express their gratitude to the participating member states and various NOWPAP global and regional partners for their continued support of the NOWPAP mission and its operations. NOWPAP family continues its over 20 years journey providing platform for successful cooperation and dialogue aimed at the protection of the marine and coastal environment in the Northwest Pacific region. Regular and stable contributions from member states assure the continuity and impact of the NOWPAP activities. 2017 marks an important stage in the NOWPAP evolution with a number of important decisions expected at the forthcoming 22nd NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting in December 2017 that will be held in Toyama, Japan. The meeting will discuss the NOWPAP Mid-term Strategy for 2018-2023 that should define major thematic priorities and operational principles as well as approve work plan for the next two years 2018-2019.
POMRAC Publications Recognized as the Best Scientific Books
September 27, 2017 Russian Federation
 Three publications by POMRAC, hosted by the Pacific Geographical Institute - Far Eastern Branch, received the 2017 award for the best scientific books under the category of scientific publications on environmental issues in the Northwest Pacific. The first publication is “Regional Overview of PTS and POPs issues of ecological concern in the NOWPAP region”, which contains information on PTS sources, temporal trends, Eco toxicological effects and the status of regulatory frameworks. The second publication is “Integrated Coastal Planning and Ecosystem-based Management in the Northwest Pacific Region”, which shows case studies from bays of NOWPAP member states. The third publication is “State of the Marine Environment Report for the NOWPAP Region”, which is a useful overview on major environmental issues in the region. Two of these publications can be viewed online through below links;

Integrated Coastal Planning and Ecosystem-based Management in the Northwest Pacific Region

State of the Marine Environment Report for the NOWPAP Region
(certificate received)
NOWPAP states gather to share marine litter knowledge
September 19-20 2017, Toyama, Japan
On September 19-20 2017, The 2017 Joint NOWPAP-TEMM Workshop on Marine Litter Management and the 2017 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Campaign was held in Toyama, Japan. At the workshop, presentations on the progress of marine litter management and research on microplastics from each of the four NOWPAP member states were given. Furthermore, global to local actions on marine litter were introduced by a Japanese NGO and regional partners including UNEP IETC, FAO, and YSLME, who gave their presentations over the web.

A particularly interesting policy for marine litter was displayed by the Republic of Korea. Given that over 20% of marine litter in Korea was from sea-based sources and that the top contributor to marine litter volume was expanded polystyrene (EPS), the Korean government focused on EPS buoys as a core subject in their 2nd National Marine Debris Management Plan. The management structure of regulating EPS buoys is consisted of a gradual implementation plan starting from education and dissemination of alternative buoys to a complete ban of EPS buoys.

(FYI, presentations can be viewed at below page:

On the second day of the event, the workshop participants, together with local citizens and university students collected over 50 bags of marine litter on the Rokudoji Coast in Imizu City, Toyama. The beach became much cleaner in just one hour, proving that little local actions sum up to make a difference.

Over the two days, delegates were inspired from each other’s work and hoped to strengthen collaborative efforts and partnerships for the cleaner ocean.

For more information, please visit:

All generations joining forces for Marine Litter Survey
September 11 2017, Toyama, Japan
NOWPAP joined Marine Litter Survey conducted by NPEC (Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center)) together with a class of fourth graders, their teachers, members of the senior people’s club, and Toyama prefectural government staff to spend the cloudy morning of September 11th on Matsudaehama Beach, Toyama, Japan. We did not play at the beach, but conducted the Marine Litter Survey. Each group collected artificial objects from their designated survey blocks (square patches of 10m by 10m), then sorted the trash into categories. The trash was then counted, weighed and noted down. Among roughly 5 kilograms of marine litter collected, 49% of marine litter (number of items) were polystyrene and 97% were plastic related. Several garbage from Korea and China were also found, reminding us that we share the same ocean. The children were engaged in the presentation about impacts of marine litter on aquatic organisms and learnt the importance of always putting trash in garbage cans and picking up trash on the streets or beach. Several more surveys at different beaches in Toyama city are being scheduled later this month.
 Strengthening regional ocean governance and partnership towards clean seas event
at the 1st Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment
September 5-8 2017, Bangkok, Thailand
 On 5-8 September 2017, the 1st Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment organized jointly by UN Environment and ESCAP, was held in Bangkok, Thailand on the theme, ‘Towards a Resource-efficient and Pollution-free Asia-Pacific.’ During the special event, “Strengthening regional ocean governance and partnership towards clean seas” that was held at the Summit, Lev NERETIN, senior coordinator of NOWPAP, introduced how the Regional Seas Programme contribute to SDG 14 (regarding oceans).

Amongst the presenters of the special event were the founders of Bye Bye Plastic Bags who were two teenage sisters. They explained their campaign to rid Bali, Indonesia from plastic bags and described their work in raising community awareness and rewarding local businesses that have created plastic bag-free zones. Other presentations included the Pacific Island Forum’s Pacific Oceanscape Framework, shipping regulations in Singapore, national campaigns for plastic litter in the Maldives and recycling in IKEA. The observation that eight out of the top ten countries contributing to marine litter pollution are in Asia, addressed by the Minister of the Environment and Water Resources of Singapore, was a reminder of the importance of tackling marine environment issues in the NOWPAP region.

During the Summit, Ministers emphasized the need for concerted action on a variety of environmental issues and adopted The Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Development for Asia and the Pacific. The Declaration requested for the prioritization of regional and subregional cooperation regarding the management of natural resources, to facilitate knowledge exchange, supporting evidence-based policies amongst others and will be brought forward to the third meeting of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) in December 2017.

Furthermore, a Chair’s Summary containing Member States’ comments on draft resolutions that have been submitted to the Secretariat of Governing Bodies in Nairobi, Kenya was adopted. One of the five resolutions submitted to date was marine litter and microplastics which NOWPAP is also tackling.
CEARAC Prepares for the Next Biennium
- 15th NOWPAP CEARAC Focal Points Meeting-
At the 15th NOWPAP CEARAC Focal Points Meeting (FPM) held on 29-30 August 2017 in Toyama, Japan, over 20 delegates from NOWPAP member states (China, Japan, Korea and Russia) including experts and focal points from each regional activity center (RAC) reviewed the progress of CEARAC activities in the 2016-2017 biennium. Then, they discussed the workplan and budget for the 2018-2019 biennium.

The report on the assessment of major pressures on marine biodiversity in the NOWPAP region was adopted, and the meeting agreed to invite relevant partners to review the first draft of this report at a workshop planned in Tokyo during Oct. /Nov. 2017. The report on the feasibility study towards assessment of seagrass distribution in the NOWPAP region was also adopted.

After some discussion, the meeting agreed to provide potential topics to be included in the CEARAC Medium-term Strategy on marine biodiversity that is being developed for submission to the 22nd intergovernmental meeting (IGM) in Dec. 2017. Next, a workplan and budget on the development of a tool for mapping seagrass distribution in the NOWPAP region was proposed including explanations on the potential use of remote sensing. After clarifying the criteria of potential seagrass habitats, the proposal will be submitted to the 22nd IGM.

After reviewing the workplan and budget of all CEARAC activities in the 2018-2019 biennium, there were discussions regarding the necessity of experts to attend training courses for capacity building and the possibility to organize joint workshops with other organizations.

Lastly, this was the last NOWPAP meeting to be attended by Dr. Yasuwo Fukuyo before his retirement. Dr. Fukuyo has been working with NOWPAP for many years and there was a round of applause for his appreciation as he closed this meeting.

The 16th NOWPAP CEARAC FPM will be held in spring 2017 in Toyama, Japan.
NOWPAP Participates in Opening Ceremony of World Fisheries University Pilot Programme
On 7 September 2017, NOWPAP participated in the Opening Ceremony of World Fisheries University (WFU) Pilot Programme held in Pukyong National University in Busan, Korea. Dr. LIU Ning from NOWPAP has met with Mr. Joonsuk Kang, Vice Minister of Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Korea, Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary General of International Maritime Organization (IMO), and Mr. Young-Seup Kim, President of Pukyong National University.
WFU will be established as a post graduate institution to foster human resources whose nationalities are mainly from relatively developing countries and small islands to maintain and promote sustainable development in fisheries. WFU Polit programme will furnish Master’s degree programme for 3 semesters. 30 students joined this programme. The acceptability of the establishment of WFU will be determined by the FAO General Assembly in 219.
NOWPAP at the Caspian Sea Day 2017
 August 10-11 2017, Astrakhan, Russian Federation. At the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), NOWPAP participated in the international forum “The role of the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (Tehran Convention) in achievement of the environmentally sustainable development of the Caspian Sea region and interaction on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. The international meeting was timed with the celebrations of the “2017 Caspian Sea Day” and is one of the most significant events in the calendar of the international environmental cooperation in the region. Sponsors of the event, Administration of the Astrakhan Oblast, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, PJSC “LUKOIL”, and the Interim Tehran Convention Secretariat, brought together representatives of the Caspian littoral countries, representatives from other Regional Seas, executive authorities of different levels, experts, as well as business sector and academic community to share experiences of regional cooperation and discuss the implementation of the provisions of the Tehran Convention in the context of sustainable development. NOWPAP representatives, Lev Neretin (Senior Coordinator) and Anatoly Kachur (Director of the NOWPAP POMRAC) delivered presentations and participated in discussions addressing progress at the global and regional level in the implementation of SDG 14 as well as shared NOWPAP experience. One of the leading oil and gas companies in Russia in the area of environment compliance and reporting, PJSC “LUKOIL”, organized various activities highlighting its environmental disclosure process and training activities to reduce and mitigate risks of offshore oil and gas development. NOWPAP participants also met with representatives from the MNRE of the Russian Federation for the discussion of future activities and priorities for the NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2018-2023.
NOWPAP Participates in Inception Ceremony of Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem Phase II Project 
 NOWPAP participated in the 1st Meeting of the Management, Science and Technical Panel of the UNDP/GEF Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (YSLME) Phase II Project, the Inception Ceremony of the Project, and the 1st Meeting of the Interim Commission Council in Seoul, Korea on 11-13 July 2017. The meetings were hosted by the Government of the Republic of Korea, and attended by the representatives from national and local governments of RO Korea and PR China, UNDP, UNOPS, NOWPAP and etc.. The meetings agreed to work closely with NOWPAP on marine litter and harmful algal blooms related activities.
The 1st Meeting of the Interim Commission Council (ICC-1) approved the revised TORs of the Interim Commission Council and its Subsidiary Bodies, Rules of Procedure for the ICC, and the TORs of Secretariat staff.
 Taken by Mr. Sanghyeon PARK. The Secretariat of the Interim YSLME Commission and members of Yellow Sea Partnership
 NOWPAP joins University Students Campaign to Clean Beach in Busan
 On 9 August 2017, NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU)was invited by the UNEP National Committee for the Republic of Korea to the Korea Maritime and Ocean University in Busan to give a lecture on marine litter to some 100 students from 7 universities across Korea. Dr. LIU Ning and Ms. Jihee Yi introduced the scale and negative impacts of marine litter, and NOWPAP’s activities to address marine litter. They encouraged the students to participate in the world’s first student competition, the Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge, which was organized by UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic, to find the next generation of solutions to the global problem of marine litter. The students inquired how NOWPAP member states cooperated with each on environmental protection, and how to improve solid waste management.
On 10 August 2017, NOWPAP staff joined the students to clean Songdo beach in Busan. The students weighted the garbage they collected and recorded their categories. They have also set up exhibition booths to educate the tourists on marine litter.
NOWPAP RCU invited to introduce its work to headmasters
On 11 August 2017, Korea’s Oceans and Fisheries Human Resources Development Institute invited NOWPAP RCU to introduce NOWPAP’s activities to 23 headmasters from schools across Korea. Dr. LIU Ning and Ms. Jihee Yi briefed the achievements of NOWPAP in the past two decades. The headmasters invited NOWPAP to their schools to give lectures to their students.
Call for action to refuse or reduce use of plastic bags
The 3rd July is International Plastic Bag Free Day. Each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 per cent of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic, and more than 1 trillion plastic bags have been thrown away. NOWPAP has taken this issue seriously, and made various actions such as; the booklet “Recycling Plastic Marine Litter” published in 2007, the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) adopted in 2008, the International Coastal Cleanup Campaigns organized annually since 2006. In NOWPAP region, some countries have banned free distribution of plastic bag, or developed a strategy to charge the plastic bags at a local and national level, and such activities have been implemented since 10 years ago.
According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
Some videos like “A Plastic Whale” have documented the worrisome facts that the negative impact brought by plastic to the environment. As NOWPAP called for participation in the global action #CleanSeas campaign in February 2017, we need your actions to refuse or reduce use of plastic bags, all citizens to be aware, engaged and active in addressing the problem in their own lives and beyond.
NOWPAP attends APEC workshop on marine litter
 18 June 2017, Busan. NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) and NOWPAP Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Center (POMRAC) presented NOWPAP’s work on marine litter during the capacity building workshop for marine debris prevention and management in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region. The workshop was organized by APEC, Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) and Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fishers in Yeosu, Korea on 12th -18th June 2017. It was attended by the officials from Chile, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Speakers were invited from the UN Environment, China, Republic of Korea, the USA, and NOWPAP.

Dr. LIU Ning presented the achievements of NOWPAP and the progress of the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter. Mr. Nikolai KOZLOVSKII from POMRAC introduced marine litter management system in Russia, and POMRAC-led research on micro-plastics. The participants inquired the cooperation between NOWPAP and other regional organizations in marine environmental protection. As a part of the programme, in the afternoon of 16 June, participants visited KOEM’s floating receptacles in the sea and waste oil collection facilities. The next APEC workshop on marine litter will be organized in Busan in 2018.
 NOWPAP participation in Eco Life Act event in Toyama
Toyama, 18 June 2017. Annual event organized by the Toyama Prefectural Government focused on a theme on local actions for environment conservation "Eco Life Act" was held in the center of Toyama City, Japan.
NOWPAP Senior Coordinator was invited as a guest speaker and talked about the importance of sustainable development goals and local action along with the Governor of Toyama Prefecture, Mr. Ishii. Coordinator highlighted the importance of regional cooperation on marine litter in the framework of NOWPAP, including the work of the NOWPAP Special Monitoring and Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Center (CEARAC). The exhibition panels at the venue introduced various activities of NOWPAP and its Regional Activity Centers. Outstanding achievements by Toyama individuals on various environment conservation activities were highlighted during the event as well as the awards ceremony was held to recognize environmental leaders and school kids who won the drawing competition. The month of June is designated as a month for the environment in Toyama Prefecture.
Global Ocean Conference ends with about 1400 voluntary and action-oriented commitments
putting oceans in the center of sustainable development agenda
Global Ocean Conference ends with about 1400 voluntary and action-oriented commitments putting oceans in the center of sustainable development agenda
June 10th, 2017, New York. The 193 Member States of the United Nations unanimously agreed to accelerate action to stop and reverse environmental degradation of oceans at the largest ever gathering of states under the UN umbrella – the UN Ocean Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, convened in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017.

Approximately 4,000 delegates attended the conference, including 16 Heads of State or Government, two deputy Prime Ministers, 86 Ministers, 16 Vice Ministers, and other government representatives; and participants from the UN system, other intergovernmental organizations, international and regional financial institutions, civil society, academic and research institutions, indigenous peoples and local communities, and the private sector.

The Ocean Conference, the first UN conference of its kind on the issue has raised global consciousness of ocean problems ranging from marine pollution to illegal and over fishing, from ocean acidification to lack of high seas governance. Among major conference outcomes are
• Formally adopted Our oceans, our future: Call for Action “to act decisively and urgently, convinced that our collective action will make a meaningful difference to our people, to our planet and to our prosperity”. In the Call for Action, countries agree to implement long-term strategies to reduce the use of plastics and microplastics, such as plastic bags and single use plastics. Countries also agreed to develop and implement effective adaptation and mitigation measures that address ocean and coastal acidification, sea-level rise and increase in ocean temperatures, and to target to the other harmful impacts of climate change on the ocean. The Call recognizes the importance of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Call for Action also includes measures to protect coastal and blue carbon ecosystems, such as mangroves, tidal marshes, seagrass and coral reefs, and wider interconnected ecosystems, as well as enhancing sustainable fisheries management, including to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield. Countries are called upon to decisively prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing;
Report from the seven partnership dialogues that have focused on scaling up solutions, and the voluntary commitments to action;
About 1400 voluntary and action-oriented commitments, addressing all the issues needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14—Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. If fully implemented, these commitments add 4.4 per cent of marine areas to the existing number; many countries announced steps to reduce or eliminate various single use plastics, such as plastic shopping bags, many commitments focused on expanding scientific knowledge about the ocean and developing and sharing innovative technologies to address ocean challenges; some countries announced “no-take zones” for certain fishing and agreed establish systems that allow consumers to source sustainable fish; new commitments were also made to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and to curtail fishing subsidies that are working to deplete fish stocks.

The Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) contributed to the preparatory process by providing regional inputs reflected in the Partnership Dialogues Concept Papers. It also participated in the conference side events, and in consultation with its member states ensured that the NOWPAP successful lessons and examples were featured in the discussions. NOWPAP contributed or its activities were highlighted or mentioned at the several side events held during the conference:
• 3 R as the Basis for Moving Towards Zero Plastic Waste in Coastal and Marine Environment organized by the UNRCD/ UN DESA Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan, UNEP-IETC (TBC); VITO, Belgium and Office of Green Industries South Australia;
• Oceans in the 2030 Agenda: The role of regional governance organized by the governments of Germany and Sweden, together with the United Nations Environment Programme and in cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), and TMG – Think Tank for Sustainability;
• Can we achieve SDG 14 without looking upstream? Starting at the source to save the sea by the Government of Sweden, co-presidents of The Ocean Conference, and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM).

The following NOWPAP initiatives contributing to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 were registered as “Voluntary Commitments”:
• Strengthening regional cooperation for the protection of the marine and coastal environment in the Northwest Pacific #OceanAction17490 and
• Marine environment protection through CEARAC (Special Monitoring & Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre) of NOWPAP(North-west Pacific Action Plan) #OceanAction17558
Additional three Voluntary Commitments where submitted by member states or partners that include co-operation or joint activities with NOWPAP:
• Regional Seas Programme for ocean-related SDGs #OceanAction19228
• Marine litter management through TEMM (the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan and Korea) #OceanAction17562, and
• Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (YSLME) #OceanAction19068.

June 5th, 2017. PRESS-RELEASE:
Major Commitments of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan Announced Ahead of the UN Ocean Conference
 June 5th, 2017. Toyama, Japan/Busan, Republic of Korea: Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) of the United Nations Environment Programme puts forward voluntary commitment of the UN Ocean Conference to strengthen regional cooperation to achieve ocean-related Sustainable Development Goals.

The region covered by the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) is one of the most densely populated world’s areas with a total population of about 300 million people, most of them living in the coastal areas. High rates of economic growth, increasing population and the growing demand for food and energy put a lot of pressure on coastal and marine ecosystems. Among major environmental pressures as identified by the NOWPAP specialists are fragmentation and loss of habitats caused by urban and tourism development, pollution, high risk of oil and hazardous and noxious substances spill incidents, eutrophication and loss of biodiversity and overfishing. Negative impacts of warming climate represent a significant compounding factor for various socio-ecological systems in the region.

The next phase of the NOWPAP evolution focuses on the achievement of ocean-related Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030 in an integrated way by assessing status of the marine and coastal environment (SDGs 13 to 15, and 17), preventing and reducing land- and sea-based sources of pollution (SDGs 12 and 14), and supporting integrated coastal and river basin planning and management based on the ecosystem-based approach (SDGs 11, 13 to 15). Among few important expected deliverables during the next years are the adoption of the Northwest Pacific Ecological Quality Objectives and associated targets towards good environmental status, effective preparedness to oil and hazardous and noxious substances spills, the integrated assessment of the state of the marine environment and thematic regional studies on eutrophic and hypoxic areas and harmful algal blooms.

The “Strengthening regional cooperation for the protection of the marine and coastal environment in the Northwest Pacific” has been put forth as a voluntary commitment of the NOWPAP four member states at the United Nations Ocean Conference taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York from June 5th to 9th 2017.

NOWPAP related activities are also featured in the two other voluntary commitments submitted by the Government of Japan at the Ocean Conference: Marine litter management through TEMM (the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan and Korea) and Marine environment protection through CEARAC (Special Monitoring & Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre) of NOWPAP (Northwest Pacific Action Plan).

They are featured in the The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments together commitments undertaken by Governments, UN and intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the private sector, academia and other stakeholders toward the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.


The Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP) is the regional intergovernmental mechanism established in 1994 by the governments of Japan, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation. NOWPAP’s main goal is to protect and sustainably manage the coastal and marine environment in the Northwest Pacific. NOWPAP is one of the eighteen Regional Seas Programmes of the United Nations Environment Programme. NOWPAP activities are implemented by the four Regional Activity Centers hosted by the four member states - Special Monitoring and Coastal Environment Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC); Data and Information Network Regional Activity Centre (DINRAC); Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre (MERRAC), and Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Centre (POMRAC) – and coordinated through the Regional Coordinating Unit with two offices in Japan and Republic of Korea.

Among some of the notable NOWPAP achievements over the past twenty years of cooperation to address the above challenges were adoption and implementation of the two Regional Action Plans: NOWPAP Regional Oil and Hazardous and Noxious Substances Spill Contingency Plan (2005) and NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (2008), establishment of the NOWPAP database and regional information management system, publication of scientific and policy-relevant regional reports on the state of the marine and coastal environment and emerging issues such as marine litter, eutrophication and harmful algal blooms, integrated coastal zone management, and persistent organic pollutants, strengthened capacities of technical experts and policy specialists, and the increased awareness about the state of the marine and coastal environment among different stakeholders in the Northwest Pacific region.

For more information, please contact:
NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (Lev Neretin: or Ning Liu:

Here are links to the Press Release in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian languages:
NOWPAP Press Release SDG 14_ENG.pdf
NOWPAP Press Release SDG 14_CH.pdf
NOWPAP Press Release SDG 14_JP.pdf
NOWPAP Press Release SDG 14_KR.pdf
NOWPAP Press Release SDG 14_RU.pdf
Partnering for a Sustainable Ocean: The Role of Regional Ocean Governance in Implementing
Sustainable Development Goal 14 to be launched in New York
The Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG) will launch its new report: Partnering for a Sustainable Ocean: The Role of Regional Ocean Governance in Implementing Sustainable Development Goal 14, on the occasion of the UN Ocean Conference on 5-9 June 2017 in New York. The report has analyzed different regional cooperation mechanisms, and discussed regional institutions and initiatives’ contributions to the implementation of SDG 14. The report concluded that regional initiatives are a driver for the development of integrated approaches to achieve SDG 14 targets. It highlighted the importance of regional cooperation for ocean sustainability and the requirements of greater support to overcome gaps and institutional weaknesses.

The full report can be downloaded at Partnering for a Sustainable Ocean – Report

The Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG) was initiated in 2015, and is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies e.V. (IASS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), and TMG-Think Tank for Sustainability.
NOWPAP participated in Tree Planting Festival in Toyama, Japan
 On May 28, 2017, Tree Planting Festival was held in Uozu City, Toyama, Japan, where Emperor and Empress of Japan attended the ceremony.
More than 7,500 people attended this event, and NOWPAP held a booth to represent NOWPAP and its projects were introduced to the visitors. Activities on NOWPAP RAP MALI (The NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter) were especially highlighted, as the public awareness on marine litter issues has been growing recently. Some people showed strong interest in participation in local and regional beach cleanup, which will be scheduled for later this year at beaches in throughout Toyama.
NOWPAP at the Busan International Organizations Academy
 May 24, 2017: Ms. Jihee Yi, NOWPAP Programme Management Assistant, following the invitation of the Busan Metropolitan City and Busan Foundation of International Cooperation, delivered lecture to students and recent graduates taking part in the Busan International Organizations Academy. Ms. Yi informed students about various activities of the United Nations Environment Programme and NOWPAP. During the interactive discussion that followed, Ms. Yi answered many questions from students, including about the UN core values, professional competencies being sought and various career tracks in the organization. NOWPAP is in the process of establishing continuing internship program in the Regional Coordinating Units in Toyama and Busan and this lecture was an important step to raise awareness and stimulate interest among recent graduates in Busan area in the NOWPAP internships.
Jihee Yi, NOWPAP Programme Assistant, delivers lecture to students at the Busan International Organizations Academy 
The 18th meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea highlights the importance of UNEP's Regional Seas Programme promoting cooperation, sharing best practices and lessons learned, and building capacity in marine research and observation on the impacts of climate change at the regional level
 19 May 2017: Participants at the eighteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-18) focused on two main segments: ‘The effects of climate change on oceans, including environmental, social and economic implications;’ and ‘Cooperation and coordination in addressing the effects of climate change on oceans – current actions and opportunities for further enhancement.’

ICP-18 brought together representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions to examine this year’s topic, ‘The effects of climate change on oceans.’ The meeting convened from 15-19 May 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York, the US, and resulted in a Co-Chairs’ Summary of Discussions.

On the effects of climate change, Ko Barrett, Vice-Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presented on findings from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and preparation for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Key points from AR5 included: human influence on the climate system is clear; the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts; and we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous sustainable future. Presentations further addressed, inter alia: ecosystem services and the work of the World Ocean Assessment; climate modeling and observation; and national responses to the effects of climate change on the ocean. During discussions, delegates raised issues relating to improving and strengthening climate and ocean research, knowledge sharing and transfer, climate modeling, scientific data and collaboration.

Panelists highlighted that data are a public good and called for a planet-wide collaboration to openly share and integrate available data.

On cooperation and coordination in addressing climate change’s effects on oceans, panelists highlighted that data are a public good and called for a planet-wide collaboration to openly share and integrate available data into global databases for analysis and modeling to create on-demand information for decision makers. Others supported a shift from curiosity or meteorologically-oriented systems to a focus on societal needs, such as fisheries, regional priorities, real-time events and ecosystem assessment.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) indicated that it is proposing a decade of ocean science for sustainable development from 2021-2030 to support ‘The Future We Want.’ During discussions, panelists and delegates highlighted, inter alia: the issue of cooperation among international agencies such as the IOC, the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and UN Environment’s (UNEP) Regional Seas programme; the potential for sharing best practices and lessons learned under the Regional Seas programme; and the importance of building capacity in marine research and observation at the regional level.

The Co-Chairs’ Summary provides an overview of ICP-18 discussions for each of the agenda items and highlights the general exchange of views and panel discussions, including text on the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and meeting the commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to address ocean issues. The Summary underlines the importance of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) with an emphasis placed on implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and entry into force of the Doha Amendment. The summary also includes text on addressing climate change and oceans under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, the SAMOA Pathway, the Aichi Targets and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), among other areas.

On issues that could benefit from attention in the future work of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on oceans and the law of the sea, the text reflects discussions on ways to address the links between climate change and oceans, including through the High-Level Political Forum and the SDGs. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [IISD RS Meeting Summary]

 Source: IISD Reporting Services at
NOWPAP and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) discussed future steps and priorities to strengthen co-operation
May 10th 2017, Toyama: Toyama NOWPAP-PICES Science Dialogue was held on May 10th 2017 following the invitation of the Advisory Panel for a Circulation Research in East Asian Marginal Seas (AP-CREAMS) of PICES. The dialogue was attended by the PICES Science Board Chair, Prof. Hiroaki Saito, NOWPAP Senior Coordinator, Lev Neretin, Drs. Takafumi Yoshida and Genki Terauchi from the NOWPAP CEARAC and members of the PICES AP-CREAMS (Photo below). The Dialogue is expected to become a regular consultation meeting between the two organizations addressing current and future priorities for the institutional collaboration. The discussions were based on the “PICES-NOWPAP Framework for Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific Ocean” (2015) proposed by a specially established joint PICES-NOWPAP Study Group on Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific Ocean. Participants re-affirmed the importance of seven priorities identified in the Framework document in light of the approved PICES Strategic Plan (2016) and draft NOWPAP Medium-term strategy 2018-2023 and emphasized significant complementarity between the goals of the two institutions.

Dr. Takafumi Yoshida of CEARAC attended the meeting of the AP-CREAMS on May 11 and 12, 2017 as an observer. With regards to joint activities with the NOWPAP, AP-CREAMS considered favorably having the ex-officio NOWPAP membership and agreed on developing proposal for a joint training course for young scientists in 2018 following in the successful example of the 26th Training Course of the International Hydrological Programme “Coastal vulnerability and freshwater discharge” organized with the NOWPAP co-sponsorship by Nagoya University in December 2016.

Among specific projects of joint interest between the two institutions for the NOWPAP are State of the Marine Environment Report for the NOWPAP region (SOMER-3, 2018-2020), assessments of emerging issues (e.g., microplastics), and how to address climate change impacts and build resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems (the issues being addressed by the PICES Human Dimension Committee). In order to have a continuous dialogue and impact, NOWPAP is encouraged to seek ex-officio membership status in relevant PICES groups, committees and advisory panels (at present Dr. Takafumi Yoshida of NOWPAP CEARAC is ex-officio member of the Section on Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms of PICES and Dr. Vladimir Shulkin of NOWPAP POMRAC represents NOWPAP at the PICES Working Group 31: Emerging Topics in Marine Pollution). In turn, NOWPAP would welcome regular participation of PICES representatives in the meetings of NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers and Intergovernmental Meetings as Observers. NOWPAP will continue exploring further opportunities to participate with PICES in joint publications, workshops, and training activities for young scientists. The important area of mutual interest is enhanced collaboration on public outreach and awareness about the regional and global environment and development issues and progress achieved by the two institutions. The next round of consultations between NOWPAP and PICES is expected during the PICES 2017 Annual Meeting in September 2017 where NOWPAP plans to support two thematic sessions followed by the 22nd NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting in December 2017.

 NOWPAP-Science Dialogue in Toyama, Japan on May 10, 2017. Meeting participants in the front row (from left to right): Vyacheslav Lobanov (AP-CREAMS and NEAR-GOOS), Hiroaki Saito (PICES), and Lev Neretin (NOWPAP); in the second row (from left to right): Genki Terauchi (NOWPAP CEARAC), Takafumi Yoshida (NOWPAP CEARAC), Jiang Zhang (AP-CREAMS), and Pavel Tishchenko (AP-CREAMS).
NOWPAP joins the brainstorming on assessing strategies and approaches to address marine litter and micro-plastics in Nairobi, Kenya
On 27-31 March 2017, Dr. LIU Ning presented NOWPAP’s work on marine litter at the Workshop on Marine Litter and Microplastics: Measuring Effectiveness and Identifying Gaps within International and Regional Policy Frameworks organized by the UN Environment in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Liu introduced the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter, and the progress achieved by the NOWPAP member states and Regional Activity Centers addressing the issue of marine litter. He also briefed meeting participants about the approaches of waste management in the NOWPAP region, and how Regional Seas Program could cooperate with chemicals and waste related Conventions to address plastic waste issue.
The workshop was organized by the Ecosystems Division of the UN Environment, and attended by Secretariats of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, International Maritime Organization, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, University of Wollongong, Istanbul Bilgi University, and the UN Environment. Participants discussed the effectiveness, gaps and opportunities of relevant international, regional, sub-regional and national frameworks addressing marine litter, and explored emerging governance and strategy options. Participants also discussed sources/sectors and geographical areas that are not covered or included in any existing instruments and that are essential to consider in the future governance frameworks.
The workshop was part of the assessment of the effectiveness of governance strategies and approaches to combat marine plastic litter and microplastics. The recommendations will be presented to the Third United Nations Environment Assembly in December 2017.

Exhibition made of plastics bottles at the UN Campus in Nairobi.
The 20th NOWPAP MERRAC Focal Points Meeting & the 12th Competent National Authorities Meeting held in Seoul, R. Korea
The 20th NOWPAP MERRAC Focal Points Meeting and12th Competent National Authorities Meeting was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 10-13 April 2017. The meeting reviewed the progress of MERRAC activities made during the intersessional period and discussed various technical issues including MERRAC future activities regarding oil and NHS marine pollution preparedness and response, implementation of the NOWPAP Regional Oil and HNS Spill Contingency Plan, and MERRAC workplan and budget for 2018/2019 biennium under the NOWPAP MTS for 2018-2023.
On behalf of the NOWPAP RCU, Dr. LIU Ning reported the progress of the entire NOWPAP activities and its outputs made during the intersessional period. In the session of future MERRAC activities under the NOWPAP MTS 2018-2023, Dr. Lev NERETIN presented the draft NOWPAP MTS 2018-2023 and indicative activities for the next biennium 2018-2019.
MERRAC updated the changes of focal points, and oil and HNS spill incidents, the progress of the development of MERRAC information system based on the Web GIS, the development of information sharing platform on oil and HNS spills, the development of a technical report on oiled wildlife (mainly birds and marine mammals) response, as well as sea-based marine litter activities.
Moreover, MERRAC presented the “Establishment of a Procedure for Exchange of Oil Sample for Transboundary Marine Pollution Incidents”. Participants discussed associated technical, administrative, financial and legal issues.
In the Twelfth Competent National Authorities Meeting for NOWPAP Regional Oil and HNS Spill Contingency Plan, MERRAC updated the activities related to the NOWPAP trainings and exercises during intersessional periods. The meeting invited Japan and China to introduce the results of the 18th BRAVO exercise and 6th DELATA exercise, respectively. Member states have shared the latest information on marine pollution preparedness and response.
The meeting also reviewed the work plan and budget for the 2018/2019 biennium and other future activities including Guidelines on the assessment of oil spill response capability for the NOWPAP region (proposed by China), the use of Unmanned Aircraft in Marine Pollution Response in the NOWPAP region (proposed by China), Minimum response requirements for oil and HNS spills, which may arise from the offshore units at the NOWPAP region (proposed by Russia).
In the end of the meeting, IPIECA (the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues) introduced the Global Initiative for Southeast Asia (GISEA) and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Plan, and other activities that support the objectives of the Strategic Framework for 2015-2017; ITOPF (The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation) presented the recent trends in oil spill response and preparedness across the world. Participants committed to continuing strong partnerships and continuing focus of MERRAC activities of oil and NHS pollution preparedness and response.
(Credit: MERRAC)
 NOWPAP explores cooperation with the IOC-WESTPAC in Qingdao, China
 On 21-23 April 2017, Dr. LIU Ning introduced the progress of NOWPAP and explored the possibility of cooperation with countries in the Western Pacific region at the 11th Intergovernmental Session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC-XI) in Qingdao, China. The meeting brought together governmental officials and academia from the East, South and Southeast Asia, the USA, and the Russian Federation to discuss how to improve science-policy interface, enhance international cooperation on marine science, observations and service, and to improve capacities to address challenges to sustainable development in the Western Pacific and its adjacent regions.
The meeting reviewed IOC-WESTPAC strategic directions, the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at national level and contribution of the IOC and WESTPAC. The meeting has also evaluated related regional programmes, projects and working groups for the period of May 2015 to April 2017. IOC-WESTPAC activities address ocean processes and climate in the Indo-Pacific, marine biodiversity conservation, healthy ecosystems, seafood security and safety, enhanced knowledge of emerging ocean science issue, capacity development for marine science, and observations and services.
In the session on research on micro-plastics, Dr. LIU briefed participants about the UNEP’s #CleanSeas campaign, the UN Environment study on marine litter responding to recommendations of the Second United Nations Environment Assembly, and the progress of research on micro-plastics made by the NOWPAP’s Pollution Monitoring Activity Center. Meeting participants invited NOWPAP to share UN Environment’s documents on marine litter and cooperate with IOC-WESTPAC on the research of micro-plastics that is expected to be considered under the upcoming NOWPAP Mid-Term Strategy for 2018-2023.
(Credit: IOC- WESTPAC)
NOWPAP Introduces its activities to Korean governmental officials
On 26 April 2017, Dr. LIU Ning, Programme Officer of NOWPAP, with the assistance of Ms. Jihee Yi, presented NOWPAP’ achievements and work on marine litter to 23 officials from Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Republic of Korea. Dr. Liu highlighted NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter and the challenges on microplastics. The training was organized by the Oceans and Fisheries Human Resources Development Institute of Korean in Busan. The participants inquired the operating mechanisms of NOWPAP and current research and approaches to address plastics. 
 Dr. LIU Ning appointed as member of the “Busan International Organizations Advisory Committee”
On 26 April 2017, Dr. LIU Ning, Program Officer of NOWPAP met with Busan Mayor Suh Byung-Soo in the City Hall of Busan. He was appointed as a member of the “Busan International Organizations Advisory Committee”. In the ceremony on the appointment, Dr. LIU stressed that NOWPAP is a part of UN Environment Regional Sea Program, and is keen to work with Busan Metropolitan City Government to organize international conferences, raise awareness, and cooperate with academic institutes and universities on environmental protection. The Mayor welcomed the suggestions and expressed his wishes to work with international organizations closely to promote international cooperation and communications. ASEAN Korean Centre, International Organization for Migration, Global Green Growth Institute, APEC Climate Change Center, World Food Prgogramme, UNICEF, and some other international organizations have also attended the appointment ceremony.
The relevance of the regional dimension in the implementation of the G7 Action Plan on Marine Litter
April 21st, 2017: Following the invitation of the G7 Presidency of Italy and the United Nations Environment Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan, Mr. Lev Neretin, NOWPAP Senior Coordinator, attended the G7 Workshop on Marine Litter “Mainstreaming the work of the Regional Sea Programmes towards the better implementation of the G7 Action Plan and the achievement of the global commitments on marine litter” held on April 20-21st 2017 in Rome, Italy. Participants at the workshop representing G7 countries, Regional Seas Programmes, international organizations and representatives from business and NGO communities, discussed the ways how to enhance contributions from Regional Seas programmes towards the implementation of the G7 Action Plan to combat marine litter. NOWPAP contributed to the discussion and presented achievements, best practices and lessons learned in the implementation of the NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter.
Participants emphasized the importance of using existing platforms and tools for cooperation that would reduce duplication and take advantage of progress made (e.g. the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) and the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans. Due to regional differences, the Regional Seas programmes present various institutional, regulatory and operational mechanisms to combat marine litter issues, however, they all have to effectively interact with the processes, initiatives and actors at the global (e. g. GPA and its partnerships and campaigns), regional and national levels to ensure coherence, complementarities and measurable impact. The important role of aligning specific regional and national priorities on marine litter with global strategic goals (e. g., the relevant Sustainable Development Goals) was emphasized. Delegates agreed on the workshop document “The Way Forward” listing various priorities for action that would inform deliberations by the G7 Environment Ministers meeting in June 2017 on the next steps in the implementation of the G-7 Action Plan on Marine Litter.

Photo credits:
1. Participants at the G-7 Marine Litter Workshop.
2. Ms. Sayo Morita (Japan’s Ministry of the Environment) (c.), Mr. Kazuhiro Yoshida (IDEA Consultants, Inc.) (r.) and Mr. Lev Neretin (l.) at the meeting.

Massive Open Online Course on Marine Litter
Marine litter is a global problem that affects every ocean of the world. Litter is an environmental, human health and socio-economic problem that is a symptom of a highly disposable society. With worldwide growth in the amount of solid litter thrown away every day and slow rates of degradation, the amount of litter present in the marine environment is increasing. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) seeks to inspire students to take action and leadership in the arena of marine litter through stimulating interaction with all stakeholder groups. The MOOC has been built on the highly successful first marine litter MOOC that was organized in 2015 and consisted of two week leadership track and eight week expert track. The Marine Litter MOOC 2.0 will start on May 22, 2017 and you can enroll here.

NOWPAP shared experience with the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem Project (YSLME)
on means of addressing marine litter
January 24th, 2017: Dr. LIU Ning, Programme Officer of the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit attended the Preparation Meeting for the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (YSLME) Project Phase II in Incheon, Republic of Korea on 24 January 2017. The project entitled ”Implementing the Strategic Action Programme for the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem: Restoring Ecosystem Goods and Services and Consolidation of a Long-Term Regional Environmental Governance Framework” builds upon four years of regional cooperation for the sustainable use of the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem put in place by China and the Republic of Korea, supported by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Yellow Sea Partnership and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The initial project completed a regional Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and finalized a regional Strategic Action Programme (SAP).

The project’s objective is to foster a long-term sustainable institutional, policy, and financial arrangements for effective ecosystem-based management of the Yellow Sea. To achieve this objective, the project will support the formation of an YSLME Commission that will oversee the implementation of the SAP; and will support the states' efforts to reduce the decline in biological resources and to restore depleted fish stocks in the Yellow Sea.

Dr. LIU briefed meeting participants about the NOWPAP Regional Marine Litter Action Plan and what NOWPAP member states have done in prevention, monitoring and reduction of marine litter in the region. The participants at the meeting agreed to work collaboratively with NOWPAP on marine litter issues, including those addressing micro-plastics.

The next phase of the dialogue and discussion of further priorities for cooperation will happen during the upcoming YSLME Project Inception Meeting that will establish the institutional structure of YSLME Interim Commission Council, approve activities and the workplan for 2017, and a roadmap towards a sustainable regional framework.

YSLME Project’s geographic area and mandate overlap and complement the NOWPAP’s activities. NOWPAP experts were involved in the formulation of the YSLME TDA and SAP. We are looking very much forward to continue the good legacy and enhance this very important for NOWPAP co-operation with the YSLME Project in the future.

World Ocean Summit explore ways on how to bring the blue economy into being
How to finance a sustainable ocean economy was shed light on by the fourth World Ocean Summit which was held in Bali, Indonesia, on February 22nd-24th 2017.
The summit was organized by the Economist and convened businesses, industry groups, scientists, governments and ocean advocates. The meeting discussed the blue economy approach and how to align economic activity with sustainable management of the oceans. The participants put their minds to the topics including the ocean economy; the ocean business; financing the sustainable ocean economy; the Ocean Conference and sustainable development goal (SDG) 14; climate change and the ocean; tech revolution; and China’s ocean policy.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched the Clean Seas Campaign in the summit advocating to eliminate use of micro-plastics in cosmetics and production of single-sue plastic by 2022.
UN Environment Launched a Global Campaign on Marine Litter
On 23rd February 2017 during the Economist Oceans Summit in Bali, the UN Environment launched a global #CleanSeas campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022. UN Environment calls for robust enforcement of legislation and relevant policies as well as for the enhanced efforts from private, civil society and public at large to combat marine litter problem.

Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, said, "It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop."

More than 8 million tonnes of plastics get into the oceans annually, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic every minute. At least US$8 billion in damage each year is caused by marine debris to marine ecosystems. More than 600 species of marine animals are impacted by ingesting or becoming entangled in plastics floating in the ocean.

The UN campaign will be implemented in three phases: building an awareness, engage public from 2017 to 2018, scaling up and replicating action around the world from 2018 to 2020, especially working with industries to reduce the use of single-use plastics and microbeads, and working towards to a closed loop economy - one in which plastics never become waste, but re-enter the economy as technical or biological capital from 2021 to 2022.

NOWPAP was among the first Regional Seas programmes that initiated marine litter activities in 2005. A NOWPAP marine litter database was established in 2006. NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter was adopted in 2007 provides strategic directions for NOWPAP member states to improve the quality of the marine and coastal environment of the Northwest Pacific region by addressing the marine litter problems through cooperation and partnerships. Northwest Pacific Regional Node was the first regional node of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter established with support by Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) by the Northwest Pacific Environmental Cooperation Center (NPEC) and Regional Coordinating Unit of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP).

NOWPAP has organized a series of international marine litter workshops and ocean cleanup campaigns since 2005, published a number of reports on monitoring and assessing on marine litter in the region.

Throughout the year, the #CleanSeas campaign will be announcing ambitious measures by countries and businesses to eliminate microplastics from personal care products, ban or tax single-use bags, and dramatically reduce other disposable plastic items.

People around the world are taking action to turn the tide on plastic in our oceans.
Join NOWPAP and the global movement to end plastics pollution in the ocean. Act Now!
About #CleanSeas:
The #CleanSeas campaign is a global movement targeting governments, industry and consumers to urgently reduce the production and excessive use of plastic that is polluting the earth’s oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health. UN Environment aims to transform all spheres of change - habits, practices, standards and policies around the globe to dramatically reduce marine litter and the harm it causes. Ten countries have already joined the campaign. They are: Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Grenada, Indonesia, Norway, Panama, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone and Uruguay.

NOWPAP is discussing how to strengthen co-operation with local authorities in Japan
NOWPAP Senior Coordinator, Lev Neretin, met with local authorities in the hosting NOWPAP RCU Toyama Prefecture and Toyama City. He acknowledged and expressed his strong appreciation to Toyama Prefecture Governor, Mr. Takakazu ISHII, for the continuing support to NOWPAP and interest to strengthen links between NOWPAP and Prefecture to support environmental co-operation in the region. Among the issues discussed were reduction of marine litter and stronger engagement of public and private sector in environmental activities. The visit was followed couple weeks later by the meeting with the Mayor of Toyama City, Mr. Mashashi MORI, and his staff in the Environmental Policy and Strategic Planning and Resilience Divisions. In 2008 Toyama City was selected by the national government of Japan as the first "eco-model" city in the country for its pioneering efforts in promoting low-carbon economies and society. The city is also part of several global initiatives such as Sustainable Energy for All and the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities. Municipal officials introduced various environmental programs and activities supported by the city government. In discussions NOWPAP Coordinator emphasized common goals and interests to undertake joint activities. In this critical for NOWPAP year focusing on the development of the next medium-term strategy for 2018-2023, NOWPAP RCU will continue playing coordinating role and discussing with various stakeholders the ways to strengthen regional environmental co-operation for the protection of marine environment through stronger engagement of local authorities and public in NOWPAP activities.

Mr. Nishinaka, Director General; Lev Neretin, Senior Coordinator of NOWPAP RCU;
Mr. Ito, Deputy Director General; Mr. Sekino, Manager
Environmental Policy Division, City of Toyama
UN Internship Vacancy Announcement
Environmental Affairs and Communication Intern (Toyama, Japan or Busan, R. Korea)
Regional Coordinating Unit of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) is seeking applications from qualified candidates for two internship positions in NOWPAP offices in Toyama, Japan and Busan, R. Korea. Preferred candidates should be enrolled in the final year of graduate studies or be within one year after graduation. The NOWPAP internship is on a non-reimbursable basis and provides selected candidates with a first-hand experience working for the United Nations in the field of environmental affairs and public communication. Applications is open until the post is filled. For further information about the internship and the application process follow the link.
Press release: Twenty-first Intergovernmental Meeting of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) renews commitment of member states for strengthening regional cooperation on environmentally sustainable development
 24th November 2016, Seoul, Republic of Korea: More than 40 stakeholders, including officials from the NOWPAP states - P.R. China, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation - met in Seoul to find solutions addressing pollution and declining ecosystem health and biodiversity of marine and coastal ecosystems in Northwest Pacific region.
Mr. Hyung-jong Lee, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea opens the 21st NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting (Photo credit: Ning Liu).

In his opening remarks, Mr. Hyung-jong Lee, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea emphasized that “it is our common duty and responsibility to protect shared marine environment in the North Pacific. Our cooperation continues for more than 20 years. This is the first inter-governmental meeting after NOWPAP restructuring and it provides a window of opportunity for the new future of the Action Plan”.
The rapid economic development of Northwest Pacific region, one of the most densely populated parts of the world, has brought enormous pressures on the environment. The 21st NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting comes also at a defining time for change in the global environmental governance. “The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development identified conservation and sustainable use of oceans as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and as part of holistic and integrated development agenda for the planet. The level of ambition expressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets necessitates transformative action at multiple scales. Regional Seas will continue playing an important role in this process” said Ms. Lisa Emilia Svensson, Oceans Coordinator at the UN Environment.
The three-day meeting reviewed progress of implementation of the Action Plan and focused on discussing future priorities set by the draft NOWPAP Mid-term Strategy 2018-2023 (MTS 2018-2023). Participants at the meeting discussed how to strengthen NOWPAP mandate and actions addressing challenges affecting the marine and coastal environment in a holistic and integrated manner while at the same time contributing to sustainable development in the region.
Participants considered favorably a number of strategic priorities for environmental protection and development in the region, including pollution reduction and control, biodiversity conservation, application of integrated coastal zone management and others and expressed its strong support for the revitalized partnership with regional stakeholders and enhanced outreach efforts by the restructured Regional Coordinating Unit and the NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres. Member states agreed to undertake extensive consultations within countries and relevant stakeholders to develop further the MTS 2018-2023 that will be aligned closely with national and regional environmental priorities and Sustainable Development Goals. The next intergovernmental meeting to keep the positive momentum of the Seoul meeting and take this vision forward will be held in Toyama, Japan in 2017.
Participants of the Twenty-first NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting held in Seoul, R. Korea on November 23-24th, 2016
(Photo credit: Ning Liu).
NOWPAP joins local associations and civil society groups for 2016 Toyama International
Exchange Festival and 10th Russian Language speech contest
On 13 November 2016, NOWPAP highlighted its activities at the 2016 Toyama International Exchange Festival held at Toyama Central Station and CiC building along with over 30 groups of local and international NGOs and communities. NOWPAP booth was located side by side with the NPEC (Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center), where posters and brochures were displayed and environmental issues discussed with the visitors.

Chika Kimura, Programme Assistant, at the NOWPAP booth

As a part of the program, 10th Russian Language Contest was organized by the Toyama Prefecture and NOWPAP Senior Coordinator, Lev Neretin, served on the contest jury.

NOWPAP recent developments

Senior NOWPAP Coordinator, Dr. Lev Neretin, attended Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fisheries Bodies on Accelerating Progress Towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets co-organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Environment. The meeting was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 26 - 29 September 2016. The Dialogue brought together regional bodies to share lessons learned on regional-scale cooperation and scientific mechanisms to implement and make progress towards achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in marine and coastal areas. NOWPAP Senior Coordinator contributed to discussions addressing implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and opportunities for global processes and initiatives to better support regional-level collaboration and implementation of the Strategic Plan, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the SDGs.

Following the SOI Dialogue, NOWPAP Senior Coordinator and NOWPAP Programme Officer, Dr. Liu Ning, had bilateral meetings with the NOWPAP Focal Points in the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, and the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation. The agenda included discussion of further development of NOWPAP activities and preparation for the 21st NOWPAP Intergovernmental Meeting. They also had a day-long meeting with the MERRAC Secretariat and were introduced to activities of its hosting institution, Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO). The meetings ended with a visit to Korea Maritime Institute.

Drs. Lev Neretin and Dr. Liu Ning together with the MERRAC Director, Dr. Kang Seong-Gil and the Senior Researcher of CEARAC, Dr. Yoshida Takafumi, represented NOWPAP at the 18th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans held in Incheon, Korea on 30 September to 1 October 2016. The meeting addressed implementation of Regional Seas activities in the context of delivering on Sustainable Development Goals and Regional Seas Strategic Directions 2017-2020. Final report of the meeting will be available on the UN Environment website during the next couple weeks. NOWPAP held a range of bilateral meetings during this event, including with the East and North-east Asia Office of ESCAP on joint activities addressing development of marine protected area network in the NOWPAP region.

Senior Researchers of NOWPAP CEARAC, Dr. Genki Terauchi and Dr. Yoshida Takafumi, will represent NOWPAP at the 2016 Annual Meeting of PICES that marks 25th anniversary of the organization. Dr. Terauchi will address Science Board of PICES and discuss priorities for joint NOWPAP and PICES activities in line with the proposed in 2015 by a working group PICES-NOWPAP Framework for Scientific Cooperation in the North Pacific Ocean.


NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit office has a new home in Busan, Republic of Korea

The NOWPAP RCU Busan Office has moved in new offices offered generously by the Training Center for Aquatic Disease Control at the National Institute of Fisheries Science (NIFS) []. NIFS provides facilities and equipment for the NOWPAP Busan office. Mr. Kang Joon-Suk, NIFS President and Mr. Liu Ning, Programme Officer of NOWPAP together with several senior officials from the Korean government agencies attended the opening ceremony in Busan on 3 November 2016. They have unveiled the nameplate of the training center, and planted a tree comemorating the opening of a new building and NOWPAP RCU office in Busan. During the opening ceremony Mr. Liu Ning expressed NOWPAP appreciation for the support provided by NIFS and discussed with Mr. Kang further opportunities for cooperation between NIFS and NOWPAP. The meeting follows consultations held earlier in October 2016 between Mr. Kang and Mr. Lev Neretin, NOWPAP Senior Coordinator, about the need to strengthen ties and joint activities between the two institutions.
The address of the new NOWPAP RCU office is:
216 Gijanghaean-ro, Gijang-eup, Gijang-gun, Busan 619-705, Republic of Korea



Celebrating 12 years of service for NOWPAP

As an expression of his appreciation for the tireless work, effort and contribution of all UN staff members around the globe, the UN Secretary-General has dedicated 25 October 2016 as UN Staff Day. On 25 October 2016, the United Nations family will gather at all duty stations and field missions in celebration of the courage, commitment and sacrifice of the men and women who have answered the noble call to become international civil servants.  

 Dr. Alex TKALIN speaks to university students from Toyama on 25 February 2016

On this occasion NOWPAP family recognizes Dr. Alexander TKALIN, who has retired in August this year after serving for more than a decade as a NOWPAP Coordinator in Toyama, Japan and Busan, Republic of Korea. As the first staff member of the inaugurated in 2004 NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU), he steered the program through challenging and opportune times. Under his leadership NOWPAP evolved into one of the flagship intergovernmental initiatives under the umbrella of the UN Environment Regional Seas Programme. Alex worked tirelessly developing cooperative relationships with the NOWPAP four member states – China, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Russia, helped to establish and make operational NOWPAP Regional Activity Centres (RACs). In his term, NOWPAP regional and global network of partners grew exponentially and now includes some of the major regional environmental institutions such as the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA), North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC), North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) and others. As a national expert and consultant for UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Dr. Tkalin was among the first who started preparing and later negotiated the Action Plan under the auspices of UN Environment. His career in the UN started in 2000 when he was appointed a Programme Officer for the UN Development Programme project co-funded by the Global Environment Facility to develop Strategic Action Programme for Tumen River shared between Russia, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, and China. His former colleagues in Busan and Toyama remember Alex as a kind gentlemen always willing to give his support and being open-minded. They say with a sense of humor that “while Alex could not master Japanese beyond the essential polite phrases necessary for daily conversation, he is regarded highly among his peers as one who could distinguish all brands of sake in Toyama”. In Japanese Shinto-style wedding ceremonies the bride and groom take turns sipping sake from three different bowls, each one larger than the one before. Sharing from the bowls is meant to represent sharing joys and sorrows. NOWPAP family will miss one of its members. While we wish Alex the best for new life in the well deserved retirement, we are also saying またお会いしましょう、お元気で! [Many happy returns, let’s meet again], Alex!

2016 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup and NOWPAP-TEMM Joint Workshop on Marine Litter Management held in Slavyanka, Russia

The 2016 NOWPAP International Coastal Cleanup and NOWPAP-TEMM (Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among China, Japan and Korea) Joint Workshop on Marine Litter Management was held in Slavyanka, Primorsky Kray on 23-24 September 2016.
Some 40 participants from governmental agencies, universities, research institutes and NGOs from China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russia have attended the events. The participants shared their experience on marine litter research, monitoring and campaigns, and discussed how to promote the International Coastal Cleanup campaign, and how to strengthen cooperation in the NOWPAP region on dealing with marine litter.
The NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (RAP MALI) Working Meeting was held on 24 September 2016. The NOWPAP Marine Litter Focal Points and regional activity centers reviewed the progress on the implementation of the plan on marine litter.
On the afternoon of the 24 September 2016, the participants have been to Baclan Bay to clean a 120 meter- long beach.
The events were organized by NOWPAP Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Centre (POMRAC), NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU), Sea Protection and Shelf Development Institute, and TEMM Marine Litter Focal Points.


NOWPAP RCU staff joined local beach clean-up in Toyama

Staff members of NOWPAP RCU in Toyama participated in the local beach clean-up held by the Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Centre (NPEC) on 9 September 2016. About 50 people in total participated in this event, including school children, NGO officers, local government officers, and local citizens. This was one of the series of beach clean-up campaigns organized by NPEC as a part of its marine litter monitoring programme, which has been conducted for many years in Japan, China, Korea, and Russia. After the collection of marine litter, it was sorted into different categories, weighed, and recorded. Data is consolidated and submitted to Japan Environmental Action Network (JEAN).


NOWPAP recent developments

On 13-15 July 2016, NOWPAP representative participated in the 8th East Asian Seas Partnership Council meeting held in Tagbilaran, Philippines.  NOWPAP has well established partnership relations with PEMSEA and is participating in the Council meetings as a non-country member.  Joint PEMSEA-NOWPAP training course on Integrated Coastal Management was suggested to be held in 2016-2017, to be co-funded by NOWPAP POMRAC.

On 19 July, new Programme Management Assistant, Ms. Chika KIMURA, has joined NOWPAP RCU Toyama office.  New Programme Management Officer, Mr. Ning LIU, will join NOWPAP RCU Busan office on 17 August.  With their experience working in the UN system and knowledge of UN rules and regulations, support to NOWPAP project implementation will be enhanced.

On 23 July, NOWPAP Coordinator delivered a lecture to students from Japan, China, Russia, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Brazil.  Lecture was organized by the Toyama International Center Foundation and was focused on marine environmental issues in the NE Asia and NOWPAP activities addressing these issues.


New DINRAC and MERRAC projects for 2016-2017

Both DINRAC and MERRAC had their Focal Points Meetings during the last two weeks.  Details of implementation plans of their 2016-2017 activities were discussed.  The main projects for DINRAC will be as follows:

·      Development of DINRAC website (maintenance and updating of existing databases, data visualization via web-based GIS, etc.).

·      Annual summary of major environmental data (continued from 2014-2015).

·      Collection of information on endangered/threatened species in the NOWPAP region (with expanded geographical coverage).

·      Compilation of marine environmental standards used in NOWPAP member states.


MERRAC will focus on the following activities in 2016-2017:

·      Organization of an expert meeting as well as BRAVO and DELTA exercises.

·      Development of MERRAC information system through web-based GIS.

·      Development of information sharing platform on oil and HNS spills.

·      Preparation of a regional report on response to oiled wildlife.


Ecological Quality Objectives for the NOWPAP region

On 18 May 2016, the regional workshop organized by NOWPAP POMRAC was held in Vladivostok, Russia.  Experts from NOWPAP member states and representatives from NOWPAP partners in the region (PICES and IOC WESTPAC) discussed targets and indicators for the Ecological Quality Objectives (EcoQOs) formulated earlier, in 2014, related to five major issues: biodiversity and habitats, alien species, eutrophication, contaminants and marine litter.  Experts found with satisfaction that at least several targets related to biodiversity, eutrophication and contaminants might be common for all four NOWPAP member states.  Following preparation of national inputs and submissions from all NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers, the regional overview on EcoQO targets and indicators for the NOWPAP region will be prepared at the end of 2017.


NOWPAP at G7 Environment Ministers Meeting

On 15-16 May 2016, G7 Environment Ministers have met in Toyama, Japan, where one of two offices of NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit is located.  Several sessions were organized focusing on the following issues: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Chemicals Management, Resource Efficiency, Biodiversity, Marine Litter, Climate Change and Related Measures.  UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, participated in the first session on 2030 Agenda.  NOWPAP Coordinator, Alexander Tkalin, had a chance to make a brief introduction of UNEP and NOWPAP efforts to deal with marine litter at the morning session on 16 May.  NOWPAP Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter and some other NOWPAP publications were available for participants of the meeting.  The G7 summit will be held in Mie Prefecture (Japan) on 26-27 May 2016.


New staff, new e-mail addresses in NOWPAP

In May, NOWPAP RCU Busan office Programme Assistant, Ms. Gyoung Hee KIM, has moved to another UN office in Seoul.  New Team Assistant, Ms. Jihee YI, has started working in Busan office since 2 May.  Her e-mail address is  Other RCU staff members will use *.* e-mail addresses from 1 June 2016.


NOWPAP CEARAC projects for new biennium

On 7-8 April 2016, the 14th CEARAC Focal Points Meeting has been held in Toyama, Japan.  CEARAC Focal Points and experts have agreed on the detailed implementation plans of the two projects for the 2016-2017 biennium.  First project will be focused on a feasibility study towards assessment of seagrass distribution in the NOWPAP region.  Second project will aim to assess three major pressures on marine biodiversity in the NOWPAP region: non-indigenous species, habitat alteration and eutrophication.  Meeting participants also agreed that in the long-term assessment of eutrophication status should be repeated.  Cooperation with several NOWPAP partners in the regions (PICES, IOC WESTPAC and NEASPEC) was strongly encouraged.


Recent NOWPAP developments

On 25 February, 10 university students visited Toyama office of the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU).  Students were briefed on NOWPAP structure and major activities being implemented by the NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers.  They also asked NOWPAP Coordinator several personal questions about working in the United Nations.  Before visiting Toyama RCU office, students were given a lecture at the host organization of NOWPAP CEARAC, Northwest Pacific Region Environmental Cooperation Center (NPEC).


On 15 March, NOWPAP Coordinator participated in the online meeting of Regional Seas Working Group on indicators.  During the meeting, recently adopted indicators for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were discussed as well as two more specific indicators used by several individual Regional Seas programmes: one on marine litter and another one on chlorophyll.  In total, more than 20 indicators were suggested for possible use by Regional Seas programmes.  Next online meeting of Working Group will be held tentatively in summer.

(18 March 2016) 
Farewell to Mr. Zhong

Mr. Xiaodong Zhong, NOWPAP Deputy Coordinator, has left NOWPAP on 29 February 2016, after 11 years of serving at that position in Busan, then in Toyama, and in Busan again.  Xiaodong was responsible for many issues in NOWPAP: legal aspects, partnership building, raising public awareness, and, of course, managing one of two offices of the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU).  A lot of his work was dedicated to dealing with NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers (RACs): attending their meetings, guiding preparation of their biennium work plans, commenting on their meeting documents and reports, helping them to find proper experts to implement RAC projects, etc.  With smooth and calm personality, good diplomatic skills and client orientation, Xiaodong has also managed to establish and maintain close relations with NOWPAP partners in the region, with member states and host institutions of NOWPAP RCU and RACs.  We will miss him and unfortunately there would be no replacement as member states decided not to have Deputy Coordinator post in NOWPAP anymore.

(29 February 2016)

NOWPAP marine litter updates

Representatives from NOWPAP RCU and CEARAC joined other members of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) around the world in an online meeting held on 18 February 2016.  While being updated of the latest developments of GPML around the world, the NOWPAP representatives presented NOWPAP activities on marine litter (ML) including the Northwest Pacific Regional Node of GMPL hosted by CEARAC.  In addition, CEARAC has collected and compiled data on marine litter monitoring (including ICC data) covering the period of 2010-2015 from China, Korea, Japan and Russia, which will be updated in the DINRAC website ML database.


(22 February 2016)
Introducing NOWPAP activities

The NOWPAP Coordinator delivered a lecture on 12 February 2016 in Toyama introducing NOWPAP and its activities to the audience attending “Fostering Academy of Global Environmental Leaders”.  In the meantime, from 10 February till 3 March, panels promoting NOWPAP, among other environmental initiatives, are being displayed at a serial exhibition in three cities in Toyama Prefecture (which is hosting the G7 environmental ministers meeting in May 2016).  Both events were organized by Toyama Prefectural Government.

(12 February 2016)

NOWPAP at Senior Officials Meeting of NEASPEC

The NOWPAP Coordinator and an expert of NOWPAP CEARAC participated in the 20th Senior Officials Meeting of the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation (NEASPEC) held on 1-2 February 2016 in Tokyo. The NOWPAP representative contributed to the panel discussion on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) presenting five major themes of NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2012-2017 and their relevance to SDGs as well as a workshop to be held in May 2016 in Vladivostok, Russia, focusing on targets and indicators for the assessment of the state of the marine environment.  Serving as a member of the Advisory Committee of the NEASPEC project on North-East Asia Marine Protected Areas Network, the NOWPAP representative reiterated the need of frequent communications with relevant organizations or projects in the region in order to avoid duplication of efforts and achieve practical cooperation between NEASPEC and NOWPAP.

(3 February 2016)

NOWPAP at a symposium on marine litter

Joining about 200 participants from academia, industry, government agencies and NGOs, the NOWPAP Coordinator delivered a presentation about UNEP and NOWPAP efforts in dealing with marine litter at the “2016 New Year Symposium on Marine Litter” organized by the Ministry of Environment of Japan on 23 January 2016 in Tokyo.  Focusing on the current status and countermeasure against marine litter, including micro-plastics, presenters from the region (four NOWPAP member states) and beyond (Australia, Canada, USA and UK) shared relevant information and experiences.  On the next day (24 January), symposium was continued for a domestic audience with more focus on marine litter issues in Japan.

(25 January 2016)

NOWPAP developments

Gearing up for the implementation of the 2016-2017 NOWPAP Programme of Work, all four Regional Activity Centers are preparing small scale funding agreement (SSFAs) with UNEP with the help from the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit.  Once the SSFAs are finalized, funding will be provided for the RACs to implement their projects and activities. In April-June all RACs will have meetings of their Focal Points where implementation of those projects and activities will be discussed in detail.

(25 January 2016)