The South-East Pacific region spans the entire length of the Pacific coast of South America from Panama to Cape Horn, encompassing tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and subantarctic systems.
In spite of this astounding diversity, the region's five countries (Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama) find themselves united by two overwhelming natural phenomena known as Large Marine Ecosystems: that dominated by the cold, nutrient-rich Humboldt Current-with the largest upwelling system in the world supporting on e of the world's most productive fishing grounds-and that of the Eastern Equatorial Pacific.
However, the region is under threat from coastal and marine degradation by land-based and marine-based sources of pollution and other forms of environmental degradation.
In addition, the region is regularly disrupted by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, which originates in the equatorial Pacific, producing dramatic upheavals in local, and ultimately global, climatic conditions.
El Niño influences everything from the weather to marine ecosystems to human livelihoods, and its enormous social and economic impacts are felt around the world.
The South-East Pacific Action Plan was adopted in 1981 together with the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and Coastal Zones of the South-East Pacific (Lima Convention) and its associated protocols.
Associated protocols concern: Agreement on Regional Cooperation in Combating Pollution in the South East Pacific by Hydrocarbons and other Harmful Substances in cases of Emergency; Protocol for the Protection of the South East Pacific Against Pollution from Land- Based Sources; Protocol for the Conservation and Management of Protected Marine and Coastal Areas of the South East Pacific; and Protocol for the Protection of the South East Pacific from Radioactive Pollution .
The Action Plan is implemented within the framework of inter-agency cooperation between the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS), UNEP and some two dozen agencies, programmes and Convention Secretariats
The future priorities for the region will focus on: the full implementation of existing legal instruments, developing transboundary pollution monitoring and control programmes; the protection of threatened species, including marine mammals and turtles; the prevention of the introduction of alien invasive species; and to pursue a strong programme of public education and awareness.
A few years ago, the region signed a historic agreement with the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP), to cooperate in the protection of a more extensive area of the Pacific.
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