|Ocean governance: Sustainable development of the Seas (UNU, 1994, 369 pages)|
United Nations organizations with reports on ocean governance
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
International Maritime Organization (IMO)
International Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
Food and Agriculture Organization
The FAO report consisted of a paper entitled Environment and Sustainability in Fisheries (Doe. COFI/91/3, February 1991) and a portion of the Report of the Nineteenth Session of the Committee on Fisheries (April 1991) discussing this paper. Among the conclusions reached in the paper, which was endorsed by the Committee in the Report, are the following items on "integration and coordination" and "legal frameworks:"
At national level, inter-ministerial coordination
should be established to deal with conflicts for the uses of the aquatic
resources, taking due account of the need to ensure global sustainability and
alleviate environmental constraints. Policies and mechanisms are needed to
integrate fisheries protection into the pattern of resource use at the river
basin and coastal areas level, encouraging an integrated management and
development approach. Field activities should be developed as far as possible in
support of national efforts toward integrated coastal areas management.
Aquaculture should be included in rural planning.
At regional level, the work of regional fishery bodies in handling environmental matters of importance to fisheries should be reinforced. In particular, issues related to selective fishing, appropriate technology and critical habitat conservation from land-based sources of pollution should receive more attention.
At international level, collaboration between international specialized organizations is needed to develop a holistic understanding of the oceans and their resources. Experience has shown however, that a regional approach and sectoral specialization is [sic] required in order to be able to act efficiently. Collaboration on matters relating to data collection, research and training programmes for integrated development and management should be sought with other organizations working in these fields.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides a framework for the conservation and management of living resources and for the protection and preservation of the marine environment. It is dear that further progress could still be made for the full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Convention, especially with regard to high seas fisheries. Further work is needed in order to maintain or restore populations of harvested species at levels which can produce a sustainable yield as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors, and taking into account international standards. FAO has an important role to play in assisting member countries and international organizations in such a process.
International Maritime Organization
The IMO report begins with a description of the global and comprehensive strategy developed by the IMO for the protection and preservation of the marine environment. Implementation of this strategy, which takes into account the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the concept of sustainable development, relies not only on the support of Member States but also on cooperation and coordination with international organizations - within and without the United Nations.
The response of the IMO to the concept of "sustainable development" is outlined next. "All of IMO's work," according to the report, "implicitly contributes to the objectives of sustainable and environmentally sound development." A recent initiative in this direction is the Global Programme for the Protection of the Marine Environment, which is part of the strategy and which commenced operations in 1990. Also, the report notes some current changes in the IMO's operational structure "in the framework of an evaluation of the problems faced by developing countries in the prevention, control and combating of marine pollution from ships and related matters."
On the question of the IMO's relationship with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the matter has been clarified in a study undertaken by the IMO Secretariat completed in 1987. Accordingly, and similar to its attitude on sustainable development, "IMO has experienced no need to modify its internal structure in order to cooperate with the United Nations in respect of, or respond directly to, the provisions of the [Convention.]"
Thus, the IMO "has adhered strictly and without reservations to the coordination requirements envisaged in the United Nations Charter." However, it believes that:
concrete suggestions for adjustments or improvement
in the coordination mechanism of the United Nations system can only be discussed
in the light of the conclusions and recommendation of the [UNCED]
International Oceanographic Commission
The report of the IOC/UNESCO was prepared by its Secretary, Gunnar Kullenberg. The profound challenges of sustainable development in the field of ocean science, the report states, takes place in the current context where:
[t]he majority of intergovernmental programmes
related to the development and coordination of marine science generally fall
within the activities of the UN Agencies which have agreed to coordinate their
work through the Inter-Secretariat Committee on Scientific Programmes Relating
to Oceanography, the ICSPRO Agreement. There are other important programmes,
both within the UN system (e.g., UNEP, IAEA) and outside (e.g., ICES and IHO)
but the main thrust of the intergovernmental research activities will continue
to be discharged by the ICSPRO Agencies, using, as appropriate, the IOC as the
joint specialized mechanism for promotion, coordination and implementation of
the relevant activities in marine science, ocean services related training,
education and partnership development.
Given the principal goals and themes of the IOC, it has therefore articulated a "strategy for the future," with a special emphasis on the development of national capabilities for marine sciences and services. But constraints on resources demand the setting of priorities and finding new ways to fund research, concerning which a taxation system would not seem to be an appropriate solution. The report concludes:
The number of national and international agencies
involved in marine research and provision for services, either directly or
indirectly is constantly growing. While such growth is to be encouraged it has
already outstripped the capability of existing coordinating mechanisms to
provide adequate support both technical and financial. Effective regional
cooperation is a vital prerequisite to identifying needs in different countries
and to ensuring a coordinated approach to potential donor agencies. It is
important that agencies such as IOC and UNESCO, through their regional networks
and bodies, continue and strengthen their role in coordinating and facilitating
the transfer of resources from donor agencies and countries to recipients.
This does not imply that donor countries or agencies should be limited in their support to working solely via the regional networks of international agencies but rather that international agencies should take into consideration existing bilateral and multilateral relationships in the design and execution of regional programmes of support to marine science and services and where possible integrate such relationships into wider regional programmes and activities.
United Nations Environment Programme
UNEP's contribution is entitled "Towards Sustainable Governance of the Oceans." It poses two questions for consideration by PIM XIX: (1) Is UNEP effective? and (2) is the Regional Seas Programme effective?
The catalytic and coordinating role of UNEP in sustainable development has been realized in indirect and subtle ways. This is seen in the manner by which UNEP has drawn the attention of the world community to environmental conditions, impacts, and norms. As for the Regional Seas Programme, which is UNEP's most effective and advanced tool for carrying out its mandate, there is a continuing necessity for political will among governments for the success of regional seas action plans.
The report, finally, offers advice on inter-agency coordination in the United Nations:
There are various mechanisms to achieve
inter-agency coordination ranging from the Advisory Committee on Coordination
(ACC) at the level of heads of agencies to the Interagency Consultations on
Oceans and Coastal Areas Programmes organized each year by UNEP, and other more
specialized or ad hoc bodies. It would clearly be beneficial to rationalize in
some way the United Nations approach to ocean governance.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
The report of the UNCTAD Secretariat focuses on "inter-agency coordination for the formulation of an integrated ocean policy and a strategy for sustainable development." It decries the lack of improved coordination and harmonization of activities among UN institutions, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations involved in ocean affairs. A way out of this predicament, UNCTAD suggests, is not to create a new super or central authority in or outside of the UN but to improve existing mechanisms.
A pragmatic, less costly and less bureaucratic
solution, is to strengthen the existing mechanisms by ensuring the availability
of complete information in all the agencies concerned through full exploitation
of modern communication technology. One such method is to create a central
computerized database with a data transfer facility accessible to all agencies.
It may, however, prove necessary for one of the agencies to supervise the system
or to play a focal role.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNIDO submitted a report on its programme in a relatively new field called "marine industrial technology." The components of marine industrial technology, duly addressed by this programme, are (1) marine systems design, (2) marine transportation and communication, (3) exploitation of living resources, (4) exploitation of nonliving resources, (5) land expansion, (6) environmental protection, and (7) scientific research. The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, according to the report, provides a vast challenge for marine industrial technology, and to which UNIDO is now responding.
The mechanisms by which UNIDO implements its programme are varied. For instance, through centres of excellence which UNIDO helps in promoting, technology transfer and co-development will be facilitated. Centres of excellence in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean have been studied for this purpose. Other vehicles to realize the aims of the programme include information dissemination, technical assistance for, and training of personnel from developing countries, expert group meetings, and establishing industrial and academic contacts.
World Meteorological Organization
The report from the WMO initially describes the tasks of the WMO and the large number of projects it carries out in cooperation with other UN agencies or international organizations. The various, seemingly complicated, coordinating mechanisms in operation to support WMO's undertakings, the report observes, have proven effective in facilitating an efficient approach to marine data collection and the provision for marine services.
The WMO welcomes its enlarged role in sustainable development strategy. However, the report expresses some concern about national capacities for coordination, which are decisive in enhancing global coordination:
There is one specific area in the field of ocean
management which WMO sees as in need of enhanced integration and coordination.
Bearing in mind the formally recognized status of routine ocean observations in
support of operational meteorology and oceanography, .. . there remains a
potential problem in the application of the provisions of the UN Convention on
the Law of the Sea to the conduct of marine scientific research within the EEZs,
specifically in the context of approved international research projects and
related global monitoring programmes. While it is true that Article 247 is
clearly intended to facilitate such activities, it is also usually the case that
national agencies or authorities which agree to and participate in those
activities are not the same as those which regulate the passage of ships and the
conduct of research and monitoring within the national EEZs. Worse, these
agencies or authorities often do not coordinate their policies at all at the
national level, which can and has given rise to specific and anomalous
difficulties in certain instances.
Meteorological and oceanographic research, including especially global climate studies, require ocean data on a global basis, including from EEZs of all coastal nations. Such observational data are always required in the context of approved international programmes, and freely and openly exchanged on a global basis. It is therefore essential that some appropriate mechanism be established to ensure that coordinated global monitoring and research can proceed without impediments caused by lack of proper coordination at the national level.
Economic Commission for Africa
The ECA reports that its marine affairs programme is handled by a unit called Natural Resources Division. Recent marine-related activities of the ECA include organizing intergovernmental meetings on the Law of the Sea and Seabed Mining, publishing technical materials, and providing advisory services on a host of subjects. It had successfully coordinated projects with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), IOC, FAO and the IOMAC.
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
The report of the ECLAC puts forward the conviction that "ECLACs analysis of ocean affairs must be conditioned by two factors: i) the current process of realignment of the social and economic sectors of the United Nations; ii) the principles contained in the International Development Strategy for the Fourth [UN] Development Decade, and consequently in the New International Economic Order and in the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States." More particularly, ECLAC's regional priorities on ocean affairs are found in the Tlatelolco Platform on Environment and Development, adopted by ECLAC state representatives in March 1991. The Natural Resources and Energy Division of ECLAC, through its Marine Resources Unit, has expanded its oceans-related activities since it was established in 1985.
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
The ESCAP, according to its report, adopted a marine resources programme in 1984, whose focus as it developed was "on strengthening member countries' capabilities in planning, assessing, developing and managing non-living resources under national jurisdiction." ESCAP also collaborates with a range of regional and subregional organizations like the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), South-East Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAF-DEC), South-East Asian Project on Ocean Law (SEAPOL), Committee for Coordination of Off-shore Prospecting in Asian Off-shore Areas (CCOP), South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission (SOPAC), and the Indian Ocean Marine Affairs Cooperation (IOMAC). Within the UN system, ESCAP is represented in the Ad hoc Inter-agency Meeting on Ocean Affairs which meets annually.