Marine Newsletter #11 2012 – December

Highlights from the Marine Division at GRID-Arendal for December 2012

Featured Project

Caspian Environmental Information Centre
In response and at the request of the Interim Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (Tehran Convention), GRID-Arendal – in close cooperation and consultation with the designated Environmental Information Officers (EIOs) of the five Caspian littoral states – has established the Caspian Environmental Information Centre (CEIC).

The objective of the CEIC, which was launched at the fourth Conference of the Parties of the Tehran Convention, is to make reliable and high-quality data available to decision-makers and, as appropriate, to the public at large. It provides a platform for information networking and collaboration between the Caspian littoral states, and also NGOs operating within the region.

The information provided by the Centre is organised along the structure and information provided by the Unified Reporting Format (URF) for the Tehran Convention and its protocols, and the Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) for the Caspian Sea. It also serves as the basis for the State of the Environment reporting under the Convention.

Visit the CEIC here.

For more information, please contact Valentin Yemelin.

Data and Products

SIDS-FOCUSED Green Economy: An Analysis of Challenges and Opportunities
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have placed sustainable development prominently on their agenda for twenty years, since the 1992 Earth Summit recognised the special case of SIDS. In 1994, the first Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS was held in Barbados, under the auspices of the United Nations. It resulted in the adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA), which recognised the unique and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS and identified the sustainable development challenges SIDS face.

This report, launched by the Minister of Environment of the Comoros Islands, seeks to highlight important issues in selected sectors of particular relevance to SIDS with respect to the Green Economy, and provides a number of SIDS-focused policy recommendations in the respective sectors: Small-Scale Fisheries and Aquaculture, Tourism, Water, Energy, and Waste.

The report is available here.

For more information, please contact Christian Neumann.

Map of the Month

Migratory routes for selected marine animals
Acknowledging ecological networks and how their disruption may have an impact on populations of migratory species is essential for the survival of these species and for fostering international collaboration. This is an overview of migratory routes for selected marine animals.

The map, made by Riccardo Pravettoni, is taken from the GRID-Arendal Rapid Response Assessment Living Planet: Connected Planet, which is available online at:

Click on the image to view or download the full map.

For more information, please contact Tiina Kurvits.


Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences related to the marine environment where representatives from GRID-Arendal have participated:

  • 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Doha, Qatar, 26 November - 7 December.
  • 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea (Tehran Convention), Moscow, Russian Federation, 10-12 December – presenting the new Caspian Environmental Information Centre.
  • 7th Conference of Parties Meeting for the Nairobi Convention, Maputo, Mozambique, 10-14 December –  discussing how Sustainable Seas could be applied to the Nairobi convention.
  • Meetings with members of the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO), San Francisco, USA, 10-14 December – discussing the use of social media, knowledge management and resource mobilisation for the GPO.
  • Meetings with the World Bank, Washington D.C., USA, 16-18 December – discussing GRID-Arendal's role in the Knowledge Management component of the GPO.
  • Meeting with a representative from consultancy company TGS, Arendal, Norway, 8 January – discussing the determination of outer limit lines of the continental shelf of Benin.

Upcoming events

11-31 January
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: GRID-Arendal will take part in the first field campaign of the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon project's carbon assessment – conducting interviews, taking photos and videos, and carrying out research.
For more information, please contact Christian Neumann.

14-18 January
Nairobi, Kenya: Project Preparation Grant Validation Workshop for the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded  project on "Standardise methodologies for carbon accounting and ecosystem services valuation of Blue Forests" that is being implemented by UNEP and executed by GRID-Arendal.
For more information, please contact Yannick Beaudoin.

21 January-1 February
Arendal, Norway: 3rd Technical Training Workshop under the West Africa Training and Capacity Building Programme for the Establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles. This workshop will focus on the preparation of a Submission with particular emphasis on the required technical documentation needed to substantiate the location of the Base of the Slope region and the Foot of Slope points. Delegates from Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone will be participating in the workshop. The delegates from Cape Verde will start the discussions with GRID-Arendal experts already on 16 January in order to advance in the interpretation of the Cape Verde Rise.
For more information, please contact Joan Fabres.


Special feature: Achim Steiner on Blue Carbon
UNEP's Executive Director, Achim Steiner, visits the Blue Carbon Portal to speak on Blue Carbon! Come have a listen at

Did you know that...

...the isolation of the Caspian Basin together with its climatic and salinity gradients has created a unique ecological system with some 400 species endemic to the Caspian waters?
Source: Caspian Sea - State of Environment 2011
...the Volga, the main river flowing into the Caspian Sea, brings polluted water from locations as far as 3 500 kilometres away? Any waste that does not silt up behind a dam or soak into the Volga estuary ends up in the Caspian.
Source: Vital Caspian Graphics 2

Picture of the monthA "gateway to the sea" in Sumgait, Azerbaijan. This city on the shores of the Caspian Sea about 30 kilometres from the capital, Baku, was one of the important locations for industry during the Soviet period and highly polluted, but has been cleaned up and improved the last few years.
Photo: Ieva Rucevska, GRID-Arendal (2004).

Our favorite website of the month

Plastic Soup Foundation

Disclaimer: GRID-Arendal does not necessarily endorse the content of external websites, and provides them for information purposes only. If you would like your website to be featured here, please contact Rannveig Nilsen.

EarthWire Marine

EarthWire Marine is a free online news service provided by GRID-Arendal. You can get marine environment news e-mailed to you every day or sign up to an RSS feed. Registering is simple. We pledge to protect your privacy, and users can at any time unsubscribe from the service. To subscribe, visit the EarthWire Marine website.

For previous editions of this Marine Newsletter, please visit our Marine Division website.

GRID-Arendal's Marine Division wishes you a Happy New Year!

Wednesday 09 Jan 2013