Marine Newsletter #1 - November 2009

The first edition of the Marine Newsletter

1. Featured Projects

UNGA Regular Process – collaboration between GRID-Arendal and UNEP-WCMC: GRID-Arendal and UNEP-WCMC are working together on a UNEP-funded, collaborative project to continue to support the Lead Agencies (UNEP and UNESCO-IOC) work towards a Regular Process for global assessment and reporting on the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic factors. The project aims to develop a prototype knowledge management centre to support the functioning of a future Regular Process and present its public face. It is anticipated this phase will be completed by the end of 2009 and presented for consideration to the Lead Agencies and Group of Experts.

UNEP Shelf Programme: After the busy period leading to the deadline in May 2009 the UNEP Shelf Programme is now engaged in supporting further work on the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf in two of the main regions in which the work could not be completed prior to the deadline. A focused effort is underway in order to compile as much data as possible offshore NW Africa that will allow for an assessment of the need for acquisition of new data in that region in order to complete the delineation process. Also, continued support will be given to SIDS (Small Island Developing States) in the South Pacific in the form of workshops/working sessions which will take place next year and for which the preparations are ongoing. Additionally targeted support in the form of data provision, work sessions and training courses is being given to countries like Seychelles, Maldives, Vanuatu, United States, Costa Rica, Tanzania and Bangladesh (see upcoming and past events for more information).

2. Data and Products

EarthWire Marine
Have you checked out our online service for ocean-related news? Provided by GRID-Arendal, EarthWire Marine collects news from a wide range of media sources on the Internet, press releases and news from research organisations, environmental organizations and the public sector, and across a series of topics, all related to the marine environment. On the site you can sign up for a daily e-mail update or get an RSS newsfeed.

If you like this service, please help us spread the word to your contacts and networks. Perhaps your organisation/institute could help us market it further by placing a link on its website. If you are interested in this, please contact Rannveig Nilsen. We would also like you to tell us if you know of any good websites that regularly provide marine news stories, so we can add them to the service.
Visit web site:

Blue Carbon: The Role of Healthy Oceans in Binding Carbon
A Rapid Response Assessment (RRA) report launched 14 October, 2009, Cape Town, South Africa.

Compiled by experts at GRID-Arendal and UNEP in collaboration with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the UNESCO International Oceanographic Commissions and other institutions, the report highlights the critical role of the oceans and ocean ecosystems as another piece of the jigsaw contributing to maintaining our climate and in assisting policy makers to mainstream an oceans agenda into national and international climate change initiatives. The report is available for download here.

Continental Shelf: The Last Maritime Boundary
A comprehensive overview report on the status of the process of establishing the limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 M.

Written and illustrated by the UNEP Shelf Programme and communications/cartography experts of GRID/Arendal this report will be released before the end of this year. Available as hard copies and on our website soon!

3. Events

Recent events

Seminars/meetings/conferences where representatives from the Marine Programme have participated:

  • Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operator's Annual Seminar, Oslo, Norway, 19 October – presentation given on “Linking tourism and conservation: How Arctic cruise tourism can support marine protected areas”.
  • STAR (Science, Technology and Resources Network) meeting, hosted by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), Port Vila, Vanuatu, 19-25 October – framework presented for a possible Pacific Marine Minerals and Deep Sea Mining Assessment.
  • Ocean Management Research Network Conference 2009, Ottawa, Canada, 22-23 October – objective: to learn about research and policy affecting our oceans, with focus on Oceans Governance, Canada's Arctic, and Oceans' Accountability.
  • PIANC (International Navigation Association) Environmental Commission meeting, New Orleans, USA, 28-30 October – presenting the results of EnviCom Working Group 15 activities on dredging and port construction around coral reefs.
  • Second Meeting of the Scientific Assessment Capacity Development Advisory Group, Geneva, Switzerland, 29-30 October – taking stock of the capacity development activities related to scientific assessment incorporated in the programme frameworks defining the 2010-11 POW; examining the role of partnerships with the scientific community to deliver the capacity building activities; and, presenting the MENTOR platform and examining its functionality to support access to capacity development resources within UNEP and externally.
  • Working session of the Tanzanian Continental Shelf Delineation Project, Houston, USA, 16-20 November – focusing on the integration of all available data sets and the identification of data to be included in the final submission of Tanzania.

Upcoming events

30 November – 11 December

Arendal, Norway: A Bangladeshi delegation constituted by officers working in the Continental Shelf project will visit our offices to participate in a working session with the UNEP Shelf Programme. Mr. Harald Brekke, member of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will also join the working session during the first week. The work session will focus on the review of the work done so far by the continental shelf team on the bathymetric and seismic data analysis.

4. Other

GRID-Arendal and InterRidge to sign Letter of Collaboration

GRID-Arendal and InterRidge are pleased to announce a Letter of Agreement (LoA) to be signed, to the establishment of a framework for cooperation on a number of marine environmental, scientific and resource issues. This will be the first LoA in which InterRidge is a signatory. LoA's are routinely used at GRID-Arendal for non-binding expressions of cooperation.

Read more on our website:

Learn more about InterRidge here:

Did you know that…

…the first hydrothermal sulphide systems were discovered in the Pacific in 1977?

…seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposits can contain localized concentrations of copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver?

Our favorite website of the month

Blue Climate Solutions:

Friday 27 Nov 2009