The 45th Annual Session of GESAMP Wrapped Up


#ocean #GESAMP #IMO #pollution #sustainable development #plastic #climate change #geoengineering

GESAMP (Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection) hosted its 45th annual session of meeting in FAO (Food and Agriculture Organizaiton) headquarter in Rome, September 17-20, 2018. It was participated by GESAMP working group members, delegates from UN Specialized Agencies, and observers.

Among all agenda items, Association 3 Herissons has the most interest on the work of WG 40 Plastics and Microplastics in The Ocean, of WG 41 Marine Geoengineering, and that of WG 42 Impacts of Mining Wastes.

- WG 40 Plastics and Microplastics in The Ocean: the 2017/18 period is dedicated to completing TOR 1: to produce guidelines for the monitoring and assessment of marine plastic litter to encourage a more harmonized approach. It has been reminded by the Greenpeace observer that this piece of work is highly relevant to the discussion under the Ad Hoc Open Ended Expert Group (AHOEEG) meeting on Marine Litter and Microplastics mandated by UNEA 3. It's unfortunate that the full Guideline will not be available in time. But GESAMP agreed that a separate information document would be prepared for the UN Environment second AHOEEG meeting. And a Scientific Summary for Policymakers will be developed with the full report being published in early 2019. Association 2 Herissons hopes that the publication could be in time for UNEA 4.

- WG 41 Marine Geoengineering: The co-chairs were currently revising the draft final report on marine geoengine ering based on the internal & external review comments received. Two key points that Association 3 Herissons noted in the draft report are: 1) a cordinated framework for proposing marine geoengineering activities, submitting supporting evidence, and integrating independent expert assessment should be developed; 2) there should be legislation to prioritize the gradulist approach, i.e. from small (e.g. lab) to medium (e.g. constrained field studies) to large scale trial (e.g. unconstrained trials on the high seas), over the tendency to plan large scale studies directly at the very start of any new technology.

- WG 42 Impacts of Mining Wastes: The draft report will be ready for initial review in December 2018. From the draft report structure, it would cover both sea bed mining and tailing placement. Other than the classical analysis on physical, chemical, ecotox and ecology/biological effects, the cumulative impacts will also been explored, challenging but very meaningful in science and in policy decision making. Association 3 Herissons look forward to the publication of this report.

There were also interesting discussion on the famous Ocean Clean-up project which has attracted much attention (particular on media) but not so much challenges on its implications yet. Association 3 Herissons look forward to the publication of the final meeting report and GESAMP position and/or plan on it.

It will the 50th Anniversary of GESAMP next year. We look forward to celebrate with GESAMP in New York in 2019!

For more details please refer to the GESAMP 45 session website.