Main Issue

Ballast water is fresh or saltwater carried by ships to keep them stable and manoeuvrable in rough seas. It can also help ships to sink low enough to pass under bridges and other structures. Globally, ships transfer an incredible 3-5 billion tonnes of ballast water each year.

But ballast water can carry thousands of different species of marine plants, microbes and animals at any given time. When these species are discharged into new environments, some of them adapt to their new homes and multiply. Read more+ 

What We Do

Since 2000, the GEF, UNDP, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have been working together to foster unprecedented international and public-private cooperation in the arena of ballast water management. A pilot project built a strong foundation for regional cooperation in six countries: Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ukraine and South Africa.

These pilot countries played an instrumental role in accelerating the development of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. They have also transformed themselves into centres of excellence; their expertise and capacity were subsequently drawn on for global scale-up efforts. Read more+


The partnerships formed through the various GloBallast initiatives have generated both environmental and economic impacts. The Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, adopted in 2004, offers a protocol for controlling and managing the transfer of IAS. As of July 2015, 44 member states had ratified the convention — nearly enough for its entry into force. The collective efforts have also spurred the creation of a ballast water treatment industry expected to grow into a US$35 billion.

The threat of invasive species will continue to pose a global environmental challenge; however, there are many positive signs that the occurrence of invasive alien species transfers will start to dramatically decrease in the coming years. Read more+