GloBallast Concludes as GEF, UNDP and IMO Continue Tackling IAS
Photo by IISD/Lynn Wagner
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The GloBallast Partnerships programme has concluded after ten years of assisting developing countries to reduce the transfer of aquatic invasive alien species (IAS) in ships’ ballast waters.

The partnership released a publication reflecting on its achievements.

A follow-up project will continue to minimize the transfer and impacts of aquatic IAS.

August 2017: Upon its conclusion, the decade-long Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) GloBallast Partnerships progamme released a publication reflecting on how the partnership catalyzed innovations in marine biosafety. A follow-up GEF-UNDP-IMO project aims to minimize the transfer and impact of aquatic invasive alien species (IAS), including through implementing International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines on the control and management of ships’ biofouling.

Marine bio-invasions negatively impact fisheries, mariculture and coastal infrastructure, resulting in significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts that can threaten the livelihoods of coastal communities, according to the IMO. The IMO’s International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) aims to address aquatic IAS by requiring all ships to implement a ballast water management plan, among other actions.

The GloBallast project closed in June 2017. Among its accomplishments, the project: formed regional task forces in 12 developing sub-regions and developed regional strategies and action plans on ballast water management involving more than 100 countries; assisted 80% of its lead partnering countries in drafting and adopting national legislation; and prepared countries and the shipping industry to implement the BWM Convention. GloBallast also pioneered a public-private sector partnership through its inclusion of shipping companies alongside IMO, GEF, UNDP and national governments.

GloBallast mobilized more than 50 countries, shipping lines, port authorities and other stakeholders to eliminate ballast water as a conduit for invasive alien species.

The GloBallast publication, titled ‘The GloBallast Story: Reflections from a Global Family,’ describes how GloBallast mobilized more than 50 countries, shipping lines, port authorities and other stakeholders to eliminate ballast water as a conduit for invasive alien species and a driver of biodiversity loss. The publication highlights how tackling invasive alien species contributes to reducing poverty and supporting coastal livelihoods and how GloBallast’s partnerships approach has encouraged technology development and transfer to identify innovation solutions to protect the marine environment, in line with SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). The publication further highlights GloBallast’s contributions to SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).

The follow-up project, the ‘GloFouling Partnerships project,’ will continue to provide guidance on how to control and manage biofouling to minimize the transfer of aquatic IAS and to build developing country capacity to reduce their introduction. The GEF Council approved the GloFouling Partnerships project in May 2017, with US$6.9 million in earmarked funding, and is expected to endorse the project’s implementation plan once its detailed preparation phase is submitted.

Andrew Hudson, Head, UNDP Water & Ocean Governance Programme, said the partnership will be an “excellent opportunity to help tackle one of the key remaining vectors for the transfer of invasive aquatic species,” noting their sizeable impacts on economies and livelihoods. Chris Severin, the GEF, said the implementation of the GloFouling Partnerships will be “instrumental in battling aquatic invasive species” and will lead to healthier more robust marine ecosystems while also “positively impact economic opportunities and the livelihoods of millions of people across the globe.”

Also on invasive alien species (IAS), the GEF has showcased its efforts to safeguard Sri Lanka’s biodiversity by strengthening the country’s capacity to prevent and control the introduction and spread of IAS. Through a project financed by the GEF and supported by UNDP in partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka, the project is working to reduce risks to endemic species, protected areas and other ecosystems. [IMO Press Release on GloBallast Closure] [IMO Press Release on GloFouling Partnerships] [GEF Feature Story on Sri Lanka Project] [The GloBallast Story]

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