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GPA based in the Netherlands

Geneva/Nairobi, March 1997 - Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, on Friday announced that the UNEP Coordination Office for the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) will be based in The Netherlands.

Ms. Dowdeswell welcomed the arrangement as a major step forward in the global fight against the rapid degradation of coastal areas which form a life support system to more than 60 per cent of the world population. She stressed that "since 80 per cent of all marine pollution is caused by human activities on land the need to undertake these activities in a manner which is environmentally sound and sustainable in the long run is an urgent one."

The Global Programme of Action (GPA) calls for the identification and assessment of the nature and severity of the pollution of coastal zones; the impacts of contaminants; and the measure of destruction of nature and natural habitats. Action to address the problems must include awareness building and the mobilization of financial resources. UNEP's Governing Council has been asked to review the implementation of the programme which is a common endeavour of more than 100 governments and numerous agencies and reorganizations within and outside the United Nations system.

Throughout its history, the Netherlands has struggled with the interface between land and water. Generations of Dutch people have been born and educated with the "fight against the sea." Managing and protecting marine resources form an important pillar of economic activity. Tourism also provides a major incentive for protecting and managing natural coastlines sustainably. Coastal zone management in The Netherlands is a matter of public action and concern. The country forms a natural home for the GPA Co-ordination Office and has offered an enabling environment and major support for its work.

Environment Minister Margeretha de Boer of the Netherlands said, "My Government with its century long history of water management policy appreciated the selection of The Netherlands to be the host country of the GPA Coordinating Office as an acknowledgement of the ongoing Dutch efforts to protect the marine environment."

For more information:
Tore J. Brevik
Chief, Information and Public Affairs
UNEP Headquarters
P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254-2-62-3292,
Fax: 254-2-62-3927

Patricia L.Jacobs
Information Officer
UNEP Headquarters
P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254-2-62-3088,
Fax 254-2-62-3692

UNEP News Release 1997/13

Wednesday 02 Apr 1997
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