At the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, States agreed to “establish by 2004 a regular process under the United Nations for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio- economic aspects, both current and foreseeable, building on existing regional assessments” (the “Regular Process”). For a more detailed description of the background of the regular process
In March 2011, the Secretariat of the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific (CPPS) received a request from its countries (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) to coordinate the participation of the Southeast Pacific region in the Regular Process. The first activity will be held in the framework of this process, the workshop will be held at Santiago de Chile, in the month of September 2012.
Preparatory phase (2002-2005)
1. In paragraph 45 of its resolution 57/141 of 12 December 2002, the General Assembly endorsed paragraph 36 (b) of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. It requested the Secretary-General, in close collaboration with Member States, relevant organizations and agencies and programmes of the United Nations system, to prepare proposals on modalities for a regular process for the global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, drawing, inter alia, upon the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and taking into account the recently completed review by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), and to submit these proposals to the General Assembly at its fifty-eighth session for its consideration and decision, including on the convening of a possible intergovernmental meeting.
2. In 2003, the Secretariat prepared a report on proposals for modalities for the
Regular Process focusing on steps to be taken for the establishment of this Process (A/58/423). In paragraph 64 (a) of its resolution 58/240 of 23 December 2003, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to convene a group of experts of no more than 24 participants, comprising representatives of States, including all regional groups, and representatives from intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, including both scientists and policy makers, to produce a draft document with details on the scope, general framework and outline of the regular process, peer review, secretariat, capacity-building and funding. The Group of Experts was convened in New York from 23 to 26 March 2004. It recommended, inter alia, that an “Assessment of Assessments” be undertaken as part of the start-up phase of the Regular Process. The outcome of its discussions was submitted to an International Workshop held in New York from 7 to 11 June 2004. A second International Workshop, held in New York from 13 to 15 June 2005, considered a number of conclusions about the nature, aims and output of the “Assessment of Assessments”, and recommended an organizational structure.
Start-up phase: the assessment of assessments (2005-2009)
3. Pursuant to resolution 60/30 of 29 November 2005, the General Assembly
launched the start-up phase to the Regular Process, called the “assessment of assessments”. The Assembly also established organizational arrangements, which included an Ad Hoc Steering Group to oversee the execution of the “assessment of assessments”; two United Nations agencies to co-lead the process, UNEP and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO); and a Group of Experts to undertake the actual work of assessing the various assessments.
4. Letters from the heads of IOC/UNESCO and UNEP transmitting a report on the results of the assessment of assessments to the Secretary-General were issued as document A/64/88.
Operationalization of the Regular Process (2009 onwards)
5. The General Assembly, in paragraph 157 of resolution 63/111 of 5 December
2008, established an ad hoc working group of the whole to recommend a course of action to the General Assembly at its 64th session based on the outcomes of the fourth meeting of the Ad Hoc Steering Group which reviewed the completed assessment of assessments report, and requested the Secretary-General to convene its informal meeting for one week not later than September 2009. The meeting took place from 31 August to 4 September 2009. Its report is available as document A/64/347.
6. The General Assembly, in resolution 64/71 of 4 December 2009, endorsed the recommendations adopted by the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole that propose a framework for the Regular Process, describe its first cycle and a way forward and stress the need for further progress to be made on the modalities for the implementation of the Regular Process prior to the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly. It also requested the Secretary-General to convene an informal meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole from 30 August to 3 September 2010 to further consider and make recommendations to the General Assembly at its sixty-fifth session on the modalities for the implementation of the Regular Process, including the key features, institutional arrangements and financing, and to specify the objective and scope of its first cycle, key questions to be answered and primary target audiences, in order to ensure that assessments are relevant for decision makers, as well as on the terms of reference for the voluntary trust fund and the scholarship fund established pursuant to paragraph 183 of the resolution. The report of the meeting is available as document A/65/358.
7. In addition, the General Assembly invited States, as a means to facilitate decisions
on the first cycle of the Regular Process, to submit their views to the Secretary-General on the fundamental building blocks of the Regular Process, and requested the Secretary- General to present these views to the Assembly at its sixty-fifth session in the context of his annual report on oceans and the law of the sea (see document A/65/69/Add.1).
8. The Secretary-General was requested to invite the regional groups to constitute a group of experts, ensuring adequate expertise and geographical distribution, comprised of a maximum of 25 experts and no more than 5 experts per regional group, for a period up to and including the informal meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole in 2010. The group of experts was requested to respond and make suggestions on the issues listed in paragraph 60 of the report on the results of the “assessment of assessments” (document A/64/88).
9. The material prepared by the Group of Experts is available on the website of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs (DOALOS) at http://www.un.org/Depts/los/global_reporting/global_reporting.htm.
10. In 2010, following the meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole, the General Assembly, in resolution 65/37 of 7 December 2010, endorsed the recommendations adopted by the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole that proposed modalities for the implementation of the Regular Process, including the key features, institutional arrangements, capacity-building and financing.
11. The General Assembly decided that the Regular Process, as established under the United Nations, was accountable to the General Assembly and should be an intergovernmental process guided by international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other applicable international instruments, and take into account relevant General Assembly resolutions.
12. The General Assembly also decided that the Regular Process would be overseen
and guided by an Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole of the General Assembly composed of Member States, and requested the Secretary-General to convene the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole from 14 to 18 February 2011. The meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole shall be open to Member States and Observers of the United Nations. In accordance with past practice of the United Nations, relevant intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council will be invited to participate in the meetings of the Working Group, and relevant scientific institutions and major groups identified in Agenda 21 may request an invitation to participate in the meetings of the Working Group. The meetings of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole shall be coordinated by two co-chairs representing developing and developed countries, who will be appointed by the President of the General Assembly in consultation with regional groups.
13. The General Assembly recommended that the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole establish, with agreement on terms of reference and other relevant elements, a management and review mechanism composed of States from among its members, on the basis of equitable geographic representation.
14. The General Assembly also established a group of experts to be an integral part of the Regular Process and requested the members of the Group of Experts, who had been appointed by Member States pursuant to paragraph 180 of General Assembly resolution 64/71, to continue serving on the Group of Experts for the duration of the first phase of the first assessment cycle.
15. The Secretary-General was requested to designate DOALOS to provide
secretariat support to the Regular Process, including its established institutions. It was also requested to invite the IOC/UNESCO, UNEP, IMO, and the FAO, and other competent United Nations specialized agencies, as appropriate, to provide technical and scientific support to the Regular Process.
16. The General Assembly also urged Member States, international financial institutions, donor agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and natural and juridical persons to make financial contributions to the voluntary trust funds established pursuant to paragraph 183 of General Assembly resolution 64/71 and to make other contributions to the Regular Process.