Global Environment Facility highlights its longstanding commitment to oceans as contributor to environmental, economic health
The health of the world’s oceans directly supports economic as well as environmental well-being and depends upon the active support of nations and international institutions to thrive. That was the message of an exhibition formally unveiled today by The Global Environment Facility on the opening day of Korea’s EXPO 2012 World’s Fair.
The exposition, expected to attract some 10 million visitors, opened under the banner, “The Living Ocean and Coast.” While many participating organizations are presenting exhibitions on ocean themes, the GEF, as the world’s largest public funder of projects to benefit the global environment, plays a unique role in organizing, coordinating and funding projects to improve the world’s oceans.
The GEF launched its regional oceans program in Asia in 1994 as part of its international waters focal area. The effort has been being implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and is now transitioning into a program run by an East Asian regional organization under an international legal structure. The program is the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA), adopted by fourteen countries from Northeast and Southeast Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
"Since its inception twenty years ago, the Global Environment Facility has made the health of the world's oceans one of its critical environmental focal areas. The environmental community fully understands the vital role that oceans play not only in sustaining the planet but also their critical contribution to economies around the world," said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility. "I would like to congratulate the Republic of Korea for organizing and hosting this crucial EXPO 2012 in Yeosu, Korea. At the GEF exhibit, visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about our contribution to oceans, including projects such as PEMSEA, of which Korea is both a contributor and a beneficiary, Projects on port safety, health and environmental management systems, on oil spill contingency plans have received critical cofinancing from the Republic of Korea. The GEF is proud to be working with its country partners, UNDP and PEMSEA to foster the implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia."
The GEF’s EXPO 2012 exhibition has been jointly organized by the GEF and PEMSEA, the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia, a GEF-funded regional program to foster ocean and coastal governance in the East Asian region. The joint GEF/PEMSEA Pavilion theme of “Our Ocean, Our Life, Our Future,” encompasses a broad range of GEF activities including international waters, fisheries, coastal areas, marine biodiversity, climate change, and the interconnections between land degradation, the coast and oceans.
In addition, the pavilion also features GloBallast, a joint project of the GEF, UNDP and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). GloBallast is one of the most effective initiatives to fight one of the most significant threats to the world's oceans: Invasive aquatic species carried in the ballast tanks of ships that can invade new waters and cause extremely severe environmental, economic and public health impacts. The GEF/UNDP/IMO Global Ballast Water Management Programme (GloBallast) is assisting developing countries to reduce the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ship ballast water, implement the IMO Ballast Water Guidelines and prepare for the new IMO Ballast Water Convention.