three decades the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
has fostered regional cooperation on behalf of the marine and
coastal environment. It has accomplished this by stimulating
the creation of 'Action Plans' prescriptions for sound
environmental management for each region. These include
a series of regional Conventions unique legal instruments
designed to protect shared environmental interests.
perhaps UNEP's most long-lasting accomplishments in the Regional
Seas is the creation of regional mechanisms for cooperation
between governments and commitment to shared goals.
are now more than 140 coastal States and Territories participating
in 13 active regional programmes, with another in development.
There are also three partner programmes (Arctic, OSPAR for the
North-East Atlantic, and HELCOM for the Baltic).
all these regional programmes reflect a similar approach, each
has been tailored by its own governments and institutions to
suit their particular environmental challenges.
the 14 Regional Seas programmes remain the central UNEP
initiative providing the legal, administrative, substantive
and financial framework for the implementation of Agenda 21,
and its chapter 17 on oceans in particular.
1 January 2000, there were 17 regional programmes, 14 of which
were initiated by UNEP. Of these, 13 have formally adopted their
own regional Action Plans.
order of adoption, the Action Plans are:
Action Plan adopted in 1975
Sea and Gulf of Aden Action Plan adopted in 1976, revised
Action Plan Action Plan adopted in 1978
and Central African Action Plan adopted in 1981
Action Plan adopted in 1981
Asian Seas Action Plan adopted in 1981
Pacific Action Plan adopted in 1981
Pacific Action Plan adopted in 1982
Africa Action Plan adopted in 1985
Sea Action Plan (interim) adopted in 1993, Strategic
Action Plan adopted in 1993
Pacific Action Plan adopted in 1994
Asian Seas Action Plan adopted in 1995
Pacific Action Plan adopted in 2001
For a further introduction:
See 'A World of Neighbours: UNEP's Regional
Seas Programme' by Ellik Adler (Tropical Coasts,
July 2003) (844K)
Read about "A Regional Seas renaissance"
in an article by Jorge Illueca, former Director, UNEP/Division
of Environmental Conventions
hands around the seas", a 1990 interview with Stjepan
Keckes from the Siren Archives.
See the 1991 overview of the Regional Seas, Regional
Seas Reports and Studies No. 135.
Get a historial perspective from the 1983 booklet A
Strategy for the Seas.
Read the Earthwatch
summaries of the Regional Seas programmes.