The 24th Intergovernmental Meeting of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan (NOWPAP) was postponed in early February due to the outbreak of COVID-19. However, to ensure the implementation of planned activities, the NOWPAP Member States, coordinated by the NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit, started an online discussion on the Programme of Work 2020-2021. After three rounds of consultations, the NOWPAP Member States approved the biennial Work Plan and Budget to strengthen marine and coastal environmental protection in the region.
In line with the NOWPAP Mid-term Strategy 2018-2023, in the two upcoming years, NOWPAP will focus on the following four areas:
First: Support Ecosystem-Based Integrated Coastal and River Basin Management (ICARM)
The NOWPAP’s Pollution Monitoring Regional Activity Center will continue developing the NOWPAP Ecological Quality Objective (EcoOQ) targets aligned with SDG indicators. The NOWPAP Member States will test the agreed EcoQO targets within the designated areas and finetune the proposed EcoQO indicators and targets.
Second: Assess the status of the marine and coastal environment.
NOWPAP will prepare the third version of the State of Marine Environment in the NOWPAP region. The report will provide an integrated assessment of environmental problems, status, and trends related to existing and changing natural and socio-economic conditions in the NOWPAP region. The report is expected to be published in 2023. Besides, NOWPAP will develop a Regional Overview “Microplastics abundance in river runoff of the NOWPAP region” and continue to compile major marine environmental data. A special 5th training course on remote sensing data analysis will also be organised.
Third: Prevent and Reduce Land- and Sea-Based Pollution
In this field, NOWPAP will update and maintain the NOWPAP Regional Contingency Plan on Oil and NHS spills. Several drills and oil and NHS spill exercises are planned. The NOWPAP Eutrophication Assessment Tool (NEAT) for assessing and monitoring eutrophication using satellite chlorophyll-a will be further advanced. Marine litter management workshops and International Coastal Cleanup campaigns will be held in 2020 and 2021. And finally, the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter will be revised to reflect the present tendencies and situation.
Fourth: Conserve Marine and Coastal Biodiversity
NOWPAP is in the process of developing a Regional Action Plan for Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Conservation. Other activities on biodiversity conservation include evaluating the distribution of tidal flats and salt marshes in the NOWPAP region, training on Environmental DNA Analysis, further updates of the databases on HAB, and data collection and information on species filed in the Red Lists of the NOWPAP Member States.