- When: 25 – 27 May 2022
- Where: Seychelles
- For more details, please visit the UNEP Website.
The Regional Seas Programme (RSP) was launched in 1974 in the wake of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm. It remains one of UNEP’s most significant achievements and operates in 18 regions, with most regions adopting a regional action plan underpinned by a legal framework in the form of a regional convention with associated protocols on specific issues. Commonly, they are referred to as Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAPs). UNEP provides overall coordination and facilitation and in so doing connects the programme to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).
The annual Global Meetings of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans organized by UNEP is a coordination mechanism of the eighteen (18) regional seas conventions and action plans. This meeting provides a platform for adoption of Global strategies for cooperation, channeling UNEP programmatic support to the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, particularly in areas complementary to the UNEP Programme of Work and strengthening linkages between the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans and other relevant global conventions and agreements.
The 22nd Annual Meeting of the Regional Seas Programme takes place after a two-year hiatus following the global pandemic Covid 19. This meeting builds on the outcomes of the 21st annual meeting held from 3 – 5 October 2019 in Berlin, Germany hosted by the Secretariat of the Helsinki Convention and back-to-back with the Marine Regions Forum which was hosted by the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG) from 30 September to 2 October 2019 in Berlin, Germany. At the 21st Meeting of the Regional Seas Programme, the meeting discussed progress on Regional Seas Strategic Directions 2017-2020 and focus after 2020; implementation of voluntary commitments from the 2017 UN Ocean Conference and preparation towards the 2020 UN Ocean Conference; reviewed progress on implementation of SDG 14; the new Marine and Coastal Strategy for UNEP 2020-2030 ; new emerging issues.
The 22nd meeting also comes at a time when the member states at the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) endorsed a historic resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024. The fourth session of the intergovernmental conference on an internationally binding instrument under the Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) also progressed its negotiations for an internationally binding instrument with follow-up sessions planned for later in the year. The Twenty-fourth Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 24) and the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI 3) on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework also progressed their negotiations with a follow-up meeting planned for June 2022 and adoption later in the year. The Regional Seas Programme annual meeting will build on the momentum of these meetings and more to discuss Regional Seas Programme’s strategic involvement and contribution.
The objectives of the 22nd annual meeting is to launch the new Regional Seas Strategic Directions 2022 – 2025 and kickstart its implementation. The meeting will also deliberate on:
- Marine litter and plastics pollution in light of Resolution to End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument (UNEP/EA5/L23/REV.1) and the
- Role of the Regional Seas Programme; Ocean Governance; Regional Seas Programme input to the June 2022 UN Ocean Conference; Western Indian Ocean Marine Regions Forum in 2023; among others.
All 18 Regional Seas Conventions and Action plans (RSCAPs) and Representatives of the global MEAs, partners and UNEP staff.