A policy brief titled, ‘The "Crown Jewels" of Environmental Diplomacy: Assessing the UNEP Regional Seas Programme,’ notes that the conventions and action plans aimed at protecting regional seas have yielded historic achievements.
However, to address uneven implementation, the brief identifies a need for greater cooperation both between regions and with other multilateral agreements, local governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders.
The conventions and action plans aimed at protecting regional seas have yielded historic achievements in preventing pollution and managing coastal zones, showing that segmenting environmental governance by region can be an effective approach. But a drawback to a segmented approach is that implementation can vary from region to region.
A policy brief by Leila Mead titled, ‘The “Crown Jewels” of Environmental Diplomacy: Assessing the UNEP Regional Seas Programme,’ identifies a need for greater cooperation both between regions and with other multilateral agreements, local governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders.
The brief notes that, while Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans have earned widespread acceptance and participation, in some regions the implementation is inadequate due to lack of political will, political instability, lack of funding, or weak enforcement mechanisms. To address these challenges, Mead suggests:
- Greater inter-regional cooperation, such as through the annual global meetings of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans;
- Greater cooperation with other international organizations, such as regional fisheries management organizations to address overfishing, the London Convention, MARPOL Convention, and Basel Convention to help combat marine pollution, and a range of biodiversity conventions to improve marine and coastal habitat conservation;
- Greater stakeholder ownership and involvement of local governments and communities in regional seas protection, to improve resource management and pollution prevention; and
- Additional financing from: national sources such as fees for water pollution, watershed protection, and coastal zone construction, and user fees; international sources such as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and partnerships with other international organizations; and private sources through the creation of public-private partnerships.
The ‘Still Only One Earth’ series is being published by IISD in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The briefs assess successes and shortcomings of five decades of global environmental policy, focusing on biodiversity, wildlife trade, sustainable energy, finance and technology, climate change, plastic pollution, poverty eradication, measurement approaches, private sector action, public health, blue economy, gender equality, and extended producer responsibility, among other issues. [Still Only One Earth policy brief series] [Publication: The “Crown Jewels” of Environmental Diplomacy: Assessing the UNEP Regional Seas Programme]