Roughly 80 percent of marine pollution originates on land. To address this challenge, strong and coordinated action is needed. UN Environment Programme contributes to tackling land-based pollution by hosting the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA). Initially, the GPA tackled nine source categories of pollution . However, after the Manila Declaration of 2012, the GPA focused its resources on addressing three priority source categories, namely marine litter, nutrient management, and wastewater through global voluntary multi-stakeholder partnerships of governments, intergovernmental agencies, academia, the private sector, and civil society.
Governing the Global Programme of Action
The Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) was created as a unique intergovernmental mechanism to counter the issue of land-based pollution. The GPA was adopted by 108 Governments, and the European Commission at an intergovernmental conference convened in Washington, D.C., in 1995.
The parties set as their common goal sustained and effective action to deal with all land-based impacts upon the marine environment, specifically those resulting from sewage, persistent organic pollutants, radioactive substances, heavy metals, oils (hydrocarbons), nutrients, sediment mobilization, litter, and physical alteration and destruction of habitat. Since 2012, marine litter, nutrient management, and wastewater have been highlighted as priority source categories to be addressed.
The Fifth Intergovernmental Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) will take place virtually on 15 February 2022 in the lead up to the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly.