Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans

The eighteen Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAPs) play a fundamental role in the implementation of the GPA. The respective governments of some of the Regional Seas have negotiated legally-binding conventions/protocols that contribute to achieving the objectives of the GPA, while others have negotiated Action Plans that also contribute to the GPA. In some regions, projects funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have resulted in Strategic Action Plans for specific ecosystems. These contribute positively to the GPA and are examples of the regional collaboration envisaged by the drafters of the GPA.

Implementation of the gpa at regional level

Financing the implementation of regional seas conventions and action plans


Several regions have LBS/A (land-based activities and sources of pollution) protocols, others are in the process of developing this protocol, and some do not have such a protocol but address the issue of wastewater and implementation of GPA through different mechanisms within their programmes. Currently there are 7 LBS/A protocols (Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, ROPME Sea Area, South-East Pacific, Wider Caribbean, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, East and South Africa), and an additional two are under development in the Caspian, and West & Central Africa regions. To date, three of the UNEP administered regional seas have an LBS/A protocol and implement a number of activities addressing the GPA source category pollutants.


Regional Seas 40yr Anniversary


UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme – launched in 1974 in the wake of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment – is one of UNEP’s most significant achievements in the past 40 years.  It aims to address the accelerating degradation of the world’s oceans and coastal areas through the sustainable management and use of the marine and coastal environment, by engaging neighbouring countries in comprehensive and specific actions to protect their shared marine environment.