In 1996, states and competent international organizations started implementing the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA), as adopted in Washington, D.C., in 1995.
On December 16, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution 51/189 on Institutional Arrangements for the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities. The Resolution was recommended in Resolution 1996/1 of the UN Economic and Social Council and prepared by the fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development ( New York, 18 April through 3 May) within the context of its review of Ch. 17 (Oceans and Seas) of Agenda 21. The Resolution endorses the GPA and the Washington Declaration; stresses the need to take action at national, regional, and international levels to implement the GPA as well as the need for international cooperation in capacity building, technology transfer and cooperation, and the mobilization of financial support.
The Resolution requests the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to prepare proposals on, inter alia, the role of UNEP in the implementation of the GPA and modalities for periodic intergovernmental review of progress in implementing the GPA. The Resolution attaches particular importance to the development of clearinghouse mechanisms referred to in the GPA. It calls upon UNEP to take action to provide for the establishment and development of the clearinghouse and calls upon states to take action in the competent international organizations to ensure that these take the lead in coordinating the development of the clearinghouse with respect to particular source categories. The clearinghouse mechanism will be a referral system through which decisionmakers at the national and regional level are provided with access to current sources of information, practical experience, and scientific and technical expertise relevant to developing and implementing strategies to deal with the impacts of land-based activities. A series of meetings was convened by UNEP to prepare the specifications of the clearing-house mechanism. (see, in particular, UNEP (WATER)/LBA/CH.1). A useful result of these initiatives was a home page of good quality on the Internet on the implementation of the GPA (http://unep.no/unep/gpa).
In 1996, UNEP also convened a series of meetings related to other issues concerning the implementation of the GPA, including a consultation with