Marine and Coastal Biodiversity

Programme of Work

The programme of work on marine and coastal biodiversity was adopted in 1998 (COP IV) and updated in 2004 (COP VII). Outlined in the annex to decision VII/5, it focuses on the key actions needed by Parties and relevant organizations to implement the Convention and conserve and sustainably use marine and coastal biodiversity and focuses on five programme elements and associated enabling activities:

• Programme element 1: Implementation of integrated marine and coastal area management (IMCAM)
• Programme element 2: Marine and coastal living resources
• Programme element 3: Marine and coastal protected areas
• Programme element 4: Mariculture
• Programme element 5: Invasive alien species

The programme of work was reviewed in depth in 2010 (SBSTTA XIV and COP X). Decision 10/29, in para 13 and all its sub-paras, reaffirmed that the POW still corresponded to global priorities, but was not fully implemented, therefore it encouraged Parties to continue to implement the programme elements and endorsed further guidance for enhanced implementation. Decision X/29 also introduced the following additional elements to the programme of work:

• Identification of ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) and scientific and technical aspects relevant to environmental impact assessment in marine areas;
• Impacts of unsustainable fishing such as destructive fishing practices, overfishing, and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing on marine and coastal biodiversity;
• Impacts of ocean fertilization on marine and coastal biodiversity;
• Impacts of ocean acidification on marine and coastal biodiversity;
• Impacts of human activities on marine and coastal biodiversity;

The ecosystem approach, precautionary principle, the importance of science, the involvement of local and indigenous communities and three levels of programme implementation (national, regional and global) were identified by the Parties as the basic principles for the implementation of the programme of work. The primary basis for this programme of work is action at national and local levels. The Parties should, in accordance with Article 6 of the Convention, develop national strategies, plans or programmes (see NBSAPs) in order to promote the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biological diversity.

At the regional level, organizations, arrangements and bodies play an important role in coordinating activities relevant to the programme of work and in supporting governments in their efforts to achieve goals under the CBD.

At the global level, various entities, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC/UNESCO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations and other relevant bodies also play a key role in implement the programme of work.

To facilitate the implementation of the programme of work, the CBD Secretariat coordinates a range of activities in the following key thematic areas:

  • Tools and guidelines for applying the ecosystem approach for conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biodiversity, including guidance on biodiversity-inclusive environmental impact assessments (EIAs), marine and coastal protected areas and marine spatial planning