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Strengthening regional cooperation for the protection of the marine and coastal environment in the Northwest Pacific
by Northwest Pacific Action Plan / United Nations Environment Programme (United Nations entity)
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, Peoples Republic of China, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation. Having the overarching goal of supporting "the wise use, development and management of the coastal and marine environment so as to obtain the utmost long-term benefits for the human populations of the region, while protecting human health, ecological integrity and the regions sustainability for future generations", NOWPAP activities contribute to quality of life of societies and support long-term environmental sustainability of the environment within the region and beyond. The geographical scope of NOWPAP covers the marine environment and coastal zones from about 121 degree E to 143 degree E longitude, and from approximately 33 degree N to 52 degree N latitude. 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.

NOWPAP has been addressing major five elements of the Action Plan: to assess regional environmental conditions, to collate and record environmental data and information, to develop and adopt a harmonious approach towards coastal and marine environmental planning on an integrated basis, to develop and adopt effective measures for mutual support in emergencies as well as prevent coastal and marine pollution. Among some of the notable achievements over the past twenty years of cooperation under the NOWPAP framework, were adoption and implementation of the two Regional Action Plans: NOWPAP Regional Oil and NHS (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 North Pacific region.

NOWPAP members renew their commitment to strengthen efforts addressing regional challenges of marine environmental protection and sustainable development of the Northwest Pacific. The implementation of the NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2018-2023 will contribute to the achievement of ocean-related SDGs in an integrated way, inter alia:
1. Preventing and reducing land- and sea-based sources of pollution (SDGs 12 and 14);
2. Supporting integrated coastal and river basin planning and management based on the ecosystem-based approach (SDGs 11, 13 to 15), and
3. Assessing status of the marine and coastal environment (SDGs 13 to 15, and 17).
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Microplastics assessments
  • Coastal clean-ups:
  • Plastics recovery/recycling/reuse:
  • Other (please specify): Oil and NHS spill preparedness and response, marine invasive species assessment
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Integrated Coastal Management
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • MPA management and/or enforcement
  • Other (please specify): Marine biodiversity assessments
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Activities to raise awareness of the comprehensive legal and policy framework for the sustainable development of oceans and seas, in particular UNCLOS, its Implementing Agreements and other relevant ocean-related instruments and promote their effective im
  • Activities to develop the capacity of States towards broader participation in and effective implementation of UNCLOS and its implementing Agreements
  • Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
  • Development of necessary infrastructure and/or enforcement capabilities to comply with international law, as reflected in UNCLOS and as complemented by other ocean-related instruments
The Third State of the Marine Environment Report for the Northwest Pacific
Adoption of the Northwest Pacific Ecological Quality Objectives and associated targets towards good environmental status
Effective implementation of the NOWPAP Regional Oil and Hazardous and Noxious Substances Spill Contingency Plan supported by regular preparedness and response exercises
NOWPAP Medium-term Strategy 2018-2023
Other, please specify
Financial resourses of NOWPAP member states and NOWPAP Trust Fund resources, no estimate available yet
In-kind contribution
Provided by the NOWPAP Member States and partners in the implementation of the NOWPAP Programme of Work
Staff / Technical expertise
Support as needed/feasible to identify, design, and implement assessments, capacity building mobilized within the NOWPAP structure, involving NOWPAP RCU and national expertise and management support from all NOWPAP Member States
Basic information
Time-frame: January 2018 - December 2023
Relevant ministries, agencies and institutions of NOWPAP member states: Japan, Peoples Republic of China, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, Special Monitoring and Coastal Environment Assessment Regional Activity Centre (CEARAC, non-governmental organization); Data and Information Network Regional Activity Centre (DINRAC, government); Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre (MERRAC, academic institution), and Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Centre (POMRAC, academic institution), United Nations Environment Programme (UN entity), International Maritime Organization (UN entity)
Ocean Basins
  • North Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Republic of Korea
Russian Federation
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Lev Neretin, Senior Coordinator of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan, lev.neretin@un.org, +81.76.444.16.11
Toyama, Japan
Other SDGs
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