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Fish and Marine Resources

Global monitoring of fish stocks is carried out by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which estimates that 70 per cent of commercial fishing grounds are depleted or recovering from overfishing.

A UN legal agreement to regulate fishing on the high seas, negotiated as an outgrowth of the Earth Summit, was adopted in December 1995. Nearly 60 countries have signed the agreement, which aims to prevent overfishing and ease international tensions over competition for dwindling fish stocks.
International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling 1946.In 1982 moratorium on Whaling.
Barcelona Convention for the Mediterranean. Cartagena Convention for the Wider Caribbean 1988 Law of the Sea Convention 1982Helsinki Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area 1992.

Marine Pollution
Oil pollution from ships has been cut by 60 per cent since 1981, after the adoption of a legal Convention negotiated by the International Maritime Organization, a UN agency.

The treaty, which now applies to more than 85 per cent of the world's merchant fleet, also sets strict controls for disposal of garbage by ships.

In 1995, Governments adopted an action plan on land-based sources of marine pollution

Convention on the Control of transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, Basle 1989London Dumping Convention 1991 Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic 1992.Oslo Convention on Reduction and Dumping of Wastes in the North Sea

Global Freshwater

There is no Global UN Convention dealing with maintaining fresh or drinking water.

At the Earth Summit+5 session, Governments called for talks to consider a strategic approach.

Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of transboundary Watercourses and Lakes 1992

More information contact Water Forum

A 1997 UN-organized assessment of freshwater resources found that one-third of the world's population lives in countries facing moderate to severe shortages of usable water; by 2025. That figure may reach two-thirds unless action is taken.

Small Islands Freshwater The following could serve as one of the important bases for small island developing States in implementing relevant portions of programme area D of Chapter 18 of Agenda 21.

The International Ministerial Conference on Drinking Water and Environmental Sanitation , Netherlands in 1994, adopted the Political Statement and Action Programme.

A. National action, policies and measures

  1. Develop, maintain and protect watershed areas, irrigation systems, distribution networks and appropriate catchment systems and promote effective programmes for water conservation and prevention of water contamination through, inter alia, the development of integrated national water plans, the use of appropriate incentives and regulatory measures, community involvement in management and conservation, forest management and reforestation and investment strategies.

  2. Adopt appropriate standards for the management of freshwater resources, and develop and strengthen low-cost monitoring and assessment capabilities, linked to water resource databases, for relevant decision- making tools including forecasting models for water management, planning and utilization.

  3. Strengthen procedures to monitor and respond to the impacts of natural and environmental hazards, in particular the impacts of climate change and climate variability, including drought and sea-level rise, on water resources.

  4. Encourage the development and acquisition of appropriate technology and training for cost-effective sewage disposal, desalination and rainwater collection to provide sufficiently high quality potable freshwater, including opportunities for technology interchange between small island developing States.

  5. Strengthen national capacities to make decisions between competing demands over the allocation of limited water resources.

B. Regional action

  1. Develop and strengthen initiatives for regional co-operation in training and research to assist Governments in the development and implementation of integrated water resource plans, including conservation and rehabilitation of watersheds, protection of groundwater, setting standards for the management of these resources, fostering public awareness and water quality monitoring.

  2. Provide technical assistance for the assessment and/or development and transfer of appropriate technology for water collection, distribution and protection, in particular, sewage disposal technology.

International action

  1. Improve access to environmentally sound and energy efficient technologies for the catchment, production, conservation and delivery of freshwater, including rainwater catchment, water treatment systems and desalination, and foster the exchange of information on water treatment methods.

  2. Enhance small island developing States' capacity to develop and implement integrated water resource plans, including water resource allocation and management, conservation and rehabilitation of watersheds, protection of groundwater, fostering public awareness and water quality monitoring.

  3. Assist training and public awareness campaigns to build up an endogenous capacity relating to water management and conservation and appropriate rainwater catchment systems.

  4. Support the establishment of methodologies aimed at assessing the adverse impact of climate change on freshwater resources and develop appropriate response and mitigation measures.

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2002 Edition