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Present Trends - Future Challenges

George Pararas-Carayannis

Plenary Lecture - 30th Pacem in Maribus (PEACE IN THE OCEANS).
A Year after Johannesburg. Ocean Governance and Sustainable Development:
Ocean and Coasts - a Glimpse into the Future

Kiev, Ukraine, October 26-30, 2003

(©) Copyright 2003 George Pararas-Carayannis


The world oceans, seas and coastal areas are in a state of crisis, facing a greater array of problems and dangers than ever before in history. With over half of the world's population living along coastal areas, there has been unprecedented commercial and residential overdevelopment. Toxic pollution from cities and fields, anthropogenic waste disposal, excessive nutrients and oil spills, increasingly threaten living and nonliving resources in the coastal and ocean environments - adversely impacting and fundamentally changing natural ecosystems, and even threatening human health. Marine life and vital coastal habitats are straining under the increasing pressure of deteriorating sea water quality and the cumulative effects of excessive human use. Eutrofication has resulted in harmful algae blooms. The ability of marine ecosystems to produce the economic and ecological goods and services that are desired and needed, have been substantially reduced. In some instances there has been a significant decline of ocean wildlife and even collapses of ocean ecosystems. It is clearly evident that what we once considered to be inexhaustible and resilient is, in fact, finite and fragile.

Environmental concerns are even more acute in closed and semi-closed seas, such as the Black Sea, where specific problems exist within both the suboxic and euphotic zones. There is an urgent need for the countries of the region to participate in global programs (such as GOOS and GLOBEC), and to develop the appropriate infrastructure and databases that will help carry out monitoring activities and related future research for the systematic development of forecasting systems. Additionally, anthropogenic emissions and greenhouse gases are affecting both the atmosphere and the world's oceans and are resulting in adverse climate changes, global warming, and gradual rise in sea level. Obviously, to mitigate this adverse impact on climate, there is a urgent need to commit to the guidelines of the Kyoto Protocol.

Safety and security of human activities along coastal areas and at sea continue to be threatened by human activities, as well as by natural and man-made disasters. To ensure safety in shipping and to avert disasters at sea there is a need for close adherence to international conventions, regulations, codes and protocols. Also, there is a need for comprehensive emergency response plans and safety procedures that will minimize the environmental risks of any accident, no matter how unlikely. Although great progress in natural disaster mitigation has been achieved as a result of international efforts, public education on disaster preparedness - particularly for certain regions of the world - still remains inadequate.

Under present conditions and trends, effective governance and sustainable development of the world's oceans will require full implementation of international and national legislation. PIM 2003 presents a unique opportunity and a challenge for participants to:

a) evaluate progress made since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and PIM 2002 in Johannesburg, on ocean governance issues as well as on preparation for future trends and challenges that are facing the world community.

b) identify and address remaining environmental issues, the safety and security of human activity at sea, and the need for education, training, and plans of action for further development and sustainability of oceans and coasts.

c) make appropriate recommendations and draft resolutions for necessary policies and measures which will improve the understanding of ocean and coastal resources management and conservation.


Given the complexity of issues pertaining to existing problems and trends that are threatening the world's oceans and coastal areas, the following presentation is neither comprehensive nor thematically or geographically complete. It is only a cursory overview of what some of the current conditions and trends are, outlining some of the present problems and dangers, what future projections in areas of sustainable development may be, and what proper governance of the oceans will entail. The presentation addresses only a few of the major topics of the 30th "Pacem in Maribus" (PIM 2003) conference.


Unequivocally, the world oceans, seas and coastal areas are presently in a state of crisis, facing a greater array of problems and dangers than ever before in the history of mankind. The population explosion in the latter part of the 20th Century has resulted in a growing urbanization of the world's coastal areas. There has been unprecedented commercial and residential over development along coastal areas - where more than half of the world's population now live. In many parts of the world this rapid expansion and development of mega cities has occurred along very vulnerable and fragile coastal zones that have unique ecosystems. Many of these mega cities are also exposed to numerous natural and man-made hazards. Climate changes, global warming and a rising sea level have complicated the problems.

In spite of the apparent vastness of the world's oceans, what once was considered inexhaustible and resilient has become, in fact, finite and fragile. The increasing pressure of excessive human use is straining marine life and vital coastal habitats. Toxic pollution from cities and fields, anthropogenic waste disposal, excessive nutrients and oil spills, increasingly threaten both living and nonliving resources in the coastal and oceanic environments - adversely impacting and fundamentally changing natural ecosystems and even threatening human health. Over fishing at sea, and increasing pollution are leading to a decline of ocean wildlife and to the collapse of many ecosystems.

The crossroad has now been reached where the cumulative effects of what is taken from and what is put into the world's oceans have reduced substantially the ability of marine ecosystems to produce the economic and ecological goods and services that are desired and needed. In brief, if present trends are allowed to continue and if there is continuing failure to responsibly manage the oceans and coastal regions, there is risk of much greater losses in the near future - at a much accelerated pace.


In view of such adverse trends, there is need for urgent actions. The purpose, objectives and topics of PIM 2003 clearly emphasize this need. During this conference the primary task will be to identify more clearly the present trends and constrains of ocean and coastal resources management and conservation. Also, to address the emerging environmental issues and the impacts on human health and marine ecosystems governance issues that will result in the safety and security of human activities at sea. Furthermore, to determine what education and training is needed in the Ocean related sciences to ensure that present trends are stopped and beneficially reversed. Finally, the ultimate task will be to make appropriate recommendations for the necessary policies, measures and international, regional, national and local cooperation that will be needed to improve the understanding of ocean and coastal resources management and conservation that will result in the sustainable development of the world's oceans and seas.

Fortunately, numerous scientists, academicians, researchers and a variety of international organizations have already identified most of the trends and problems that are threatening the world's oceans and seas, thus making the work of this conference easier. Given the high caliber of people assembled here and having as guidelines the outcomes of the Ocean Governance issues that were identified last year at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD 2002) and at the 29th Assembly of "Pacem In Maribus" (PIM 2002) in Johannesburg, it will be possible to evaluate the progress that has been made since and - in the form of resolutions - make appropriate recommendations for plans of action that will result in proper governance and sustainability of the world's oceans and seas.


The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg made clear that there had been very limited progress in implementing sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit, with poverty around the world increasing and environmental degradation of the planet worsening. It became very apparent at the World Summit last year that what was needed was not more philosophical or political debates but rather practical steps for sustained actions that would address many of the world's most pressing problems. Although timetables and commitments were agreed upon in Johannesburg - and in spite of good intentions - in the year since the Summit there have been no quick solutions to aid the fight against poverty or to reverse the continually deteriorating natural environment conditions of planet Earth. In fact, there have been no magic and no miracles. Given the magnitude of the global problems, perhaps one year is too short of a time to reverse the present trends. However, what the World Summit accomplished was a much better understanding on how to go about solving the global problems and what was essential for ensuring global sustainable development.

Although problems pertaining to the world's oceans and seas were not addressed in any detail, the World Summit emphasized the principles that must be applied - specifically that good governance requires full implementation of existing international and national legislation and adoption and enforcement of new legislative instruments regulating activities.


The World Summit in Johannesburg defined sustainability of our planet to be a paradigm which integrates economic growth, social development and environmental protections as interdependent components and mutually supportive elements of long-term development. Sustainability, therefore, is the necessary prerequisite for the survival of our planet, its people and its ecosystems, for the purpose of improving the quality of human life, eliminating hunger and poverty, improving the safety and security of human activities, mitigating the effects of natural and man-made disasters, and in preserving the environmental quality of our planet for future generations °© the latter being a paramount ethical obligation.

By direct implication therefore - and as it applies to the World's oceans, seas, estuaries and coastal areas °© sustainability becomes a complex process of development with many interacting factors leading to the replenishment and stability of our water planet. Averting further losses, reversing adverse trends and achieving ocean stability and sustainability require proper ocean governance - which can then be defined as a participatory, multi-task approach to policy making, which mobilizes all public and private national and international resources for such development. Finally, the end result of proper ocean governance is the implementation of policies and programs worldwide, and an action plan that results in the development of sustainable resources and favorable environmental conditions worldwide. Since Proper Ocean governance makes use of the knowledge, skills and energy of all social and scientific groups concerned with the future of planet Earth and its people, proper education and training in the Ocean related sciences become necessary prerequisites.

In summary, therefore, sustainable development of the World's oceans, seas, estuaries and coastal areas is a complex process with many interacting factors. To understand it and effectively act on it requires the participation and cooperation of all members of society, including scientists, engineers, educators, communicators, policy makers, community activists and of the public at large.

To implement programs of ocean governance and sustainability as outlined above, it is important to:
1) Identify emerging environmental issues and problems that threaten humanity and marine ecosystems.
2) Identify the critical areas for long-term development, involving complex interactions among economic, social and environmental factors and linking different sectors, organizations and disciplines.
3) Formulate and carry out an effective plan of action.


As indicated, the World Summit and PIM 2002 in Johannesburg laid some of the groundwork for further development of oceans and coasts and paved the way for some form of action on ocean governance issues, as well as on preparation for future trends and challenges that will face the world community. As mentioned, most of the issues addressed in Johannesburg - particularly those pertaining to the oceans - have not been acted upon, while new issues and challenges that PIM 2002 did not anticipate have since emerged.

PIM 2003 in its program lists as a primary topic the need to identify emerging environmental issues and the threats to human health. Eliminating threats to human health is of paramount importance that requires correct identification of pollution parameters and proper management of water and sea product qualities. Preventing the introduction of ballast and wastewaters or excessive amounts of nutrients, helps avert harmful algae blooms, preserves the quality of sea water and of sea products and, most importantly, eliminates the threats to human life.

Eliminating threats to human health

Indeed, the increasing pollution of the marine environment continues to be the most important environmental problem threatening both marine and human life. Unprecedented amounts of toxins and high concentrations of harmful chemicals released into the air and into coastal waters present the greatest threat to human health. For example, chemicals released by industrial plants and agricultural projects around the world include a variety of nitrate compounds, acids such as hydrochloric, formic and sulfuric, alcohols such as methanol, N-butyl alcohol and cyclohexanol, chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants such as 1,1-dichloro-1-fluoroethane, and a variety of other chemicals such as ammonia or manganese compounds and heavy metals.

The direct and indirect threats to marine and human health are obvious. Chemicals and toxins discharged into the coastal waters or the atmosphere not only can damage marine ecosystems but also can seriously affect the blood, lungs, hearts, livers, intestines, thyroid, kidneys and nervous system of humans. For example, excessive amounts of nitrates that are used in fertilizers, explosives, fireworks, heart medicine and photographic films can wash into waterways after rains, polluting the drinking water supply as well as the coastal waters. Emissions of nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere may combine with water to produce nitric acid, a component of acid rain. Large amounts of nitrates can produce toxic substances in the human body and nitrates are a suspected cardiovascular toxicant. Similarly, exposure to acids, alcohols and a variety of other chemical pollutants can cause, inflammation and ulceration of the respiratory tract, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, convulsions, shock, permanent visual damage, hemorrhaging, skin burns, and depressive effects to the central nervous system.

Eliminating the threats to human health from coastal pollution and gas emissions can only be controlled and mitigated through the collaborative efforts of the nations immediately affected. This can be accomplished through the adaptation of proper national standards and stricter measures that set pollution limits. Compliance with such standards and the use of watershed-based approaches will result in further reductions of toxic pollution.

Improving the qualities of water and sea products

There is no doubt that the unprecedented commercial and residential development along the world's coastal areas is having adverse impacts on water and sea product quality. The increased amounts of pollutants result first in the deterioration of water quality, then adversely affect the long-term health of marine life and marine ecosystems, the quality of consumable sea products and, ultimately, affect human health. For example, heavy metals such as mercury can now be found in high concentrations, not only in benthic organisms but also in pelagic fish such as tuna or swordfish consumed by humans. This trend of deteriorating water quality can only be reversed through stricter and enforceable regulatory controls of industrial effluent discharged into the coastal environments.

Assessing parameters of environmental pollution - Improving waste water management

Ocean dumping of anthropogenic waste materials such as sewage sludge and of waste water can significantly affect the qualities of the water and of the sea products consumed by humans. Untreated or poorly treated sewage sludge and municipal waste water discharged into coastal regions can introduce pathogens, heavy metals and a variety of toxins which can affect the food chain of benthic and pelagic life. As indicated, the consumption of such sea products can have long-term deleterious effects on human health. This paramount hazard to human health can only be alleviated through better waste water management, frequent monitoring of pollution indicators and proper regulation. Ensuring proper treatment of sewage and wastewater and eliminating toxic chemicals from municipal discharges, is an absolute necessity for restoring health to affected coastal ecosystems.

Eliminating agents of eutrophication - Preventing harmful algae blooms

Massive agricultural over-fertilization as well as domestic and industrial pollution result in excessive amounts of nutrients running off to the sea - thus creating many environmental problems. Excessive amounts of nutrient and chemicals, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, dramatically contribute to eutrophication and result in the growth of plankton and algae, causing algal blooms. By depleting oxygen, the algal blooms upset or destroy the ecological balance of many endemic ecosystems. The problem is most pronounced in closed or semi-enclosed sea basins. For example, algal blooms have been responsible for significantly altering the ecological balance of the Black Sea region. Recent studies estimated that over 600,000 tons of nutrients, the result of discharges from mainly household waste waters, industry and agriculture, are entering into the Black Sea from rivers and land sources. The levels of phosphorous are up to ten times in excess of maximum allowable limits. In the past 25 to 30 years, such nutrient-rich effluents have transformed the Black Sea from a diverse ecosystem supporting varied marine life to plankton one °© where environmental conditions are unsuitable for most organisms of higher order in the food chain. For example dolphin numbers have fallen five fold. Obviously, controlling or preventing harmful algae blooms would contribute significantly in sustaining the ecological balance of coastal regions and of semi-closed and closed seas. Eliminating the agents of eutophication presents a particular challenge in ocean governance and in the sustainability of fisheries


Protecting the marine environment from land-based sources of pollution

Protecting the marine environment from land based sources of pollution presents the greatest challenge in achieving ocean sustainability. The toxic substances running off coastal mega cities or agricultural areas, as well as gases and chemicals discharged by smokestacks and tailpipes of machines present the greatest pollution threat to the coastal waters of many nations.

It is apparent that the reversal of the adverse effects of coastal pollution and of gas emissions can only be controlled and mitigated through the collaborative efforts of the nations immediately affected. This can be accomplished through the adaptation of proper national standards and of stricter measures that set pollution limits, by compliance with such standards, and by further reductions in toxic pollution using watershed-based approaches.

In regions such as the Black Sea there is an urgent need to review again the priorities and long term strategies of conservation and restoration, and to help raise funds to carry out such work. The Black Sea water system could be one of the first to benefit from concerted sustainability actions because; in many ways, it represents an acute example of the many problems facing water systems worldwide. It could prove to be the ideal blue print for saving many of the world's water bodies from terminal decline.

Mitigating the interaction effects of big river basins with sea-ocean waters - Mitigating industrial impacts and cleaning coastal waters

As emphasized already, the extensive industrialization and urbanization of river basins and the big river interaction with the sea-ocean waters, have created severe problems of water quality and have reduced drastically coastal and pelagic biodiversity around the world. For example, the discharges of rivers such as Danube, Dnieper and Don into the Black and Azov Seas have created acute environmental and health problems for this region. Increased demands by cities, industry and agriculture on the Danube river basin, not only have affected the supply and quality of drinking water, but wastewater disposal has resulted in increased amounts of pollution in the basin - which ultimately ends up in the Black Sea. As indicated, the pollution has affected very large coastal areas, has created serious health problems, and has drastically reduced coastal and pelagic biodiversity of the entire basin and of the Black Sea.

The actions and initiatives taken thus far have proved to be insufficient in reversing the environmental degradation and health problems. The challenge in the future will be for the countries in the region to work together and to intensify their efforts in mitigating the environmental degradation of the Danube and the Black Sea. The Danube River Protection Convention (DRPC) and the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution (Black Sea Convention) have already drawn up programs defining strategies and identifying priorities. However, this is not enough. There is an urgent need to increase the funding for these programs and to carry out effective action plans that will improve the state of the environment in the region. As the European Commission and its DABLAS Task Force communicated in November 2001, there is an urgent need for an increased involvement of the EU and its Member States in environmental co-operation with the region, and for a more efficient funding of projects recommended by the two main water protection organizations in the region - namely the International Commission for the Protection of the Black Sea (ICPBS) and the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).


Governance of Fisheries - Eliminating Overfishing, wasteful bycatch and destruction of habitats - Improving management of ecosystems.

Fishing is the world's oldest industry and a way of life for millions of people who live along the world's coastal regions. For many of the world's nations, the fishing industry is a national heritage that has enriched their social, cultural and economic life. Unfortunately there is overwhelming body of evidence and data indicating that over fishing, wasteful bycatch, and destruction of habitats by increasing pollution, result in changes in marine food webs and are threatening the living resources upon which the fishing industries of many nations depend. If the present trend is allowed to continue, the long-term results will be dismal. According to recent reports, during the past 20 years around a third of fish stocks have been lost. Only six of the 26 species commercially exploited in the 1960s remain in commercial quantities.

The sudden and dramatic fall which begun in the late 1980s and early 1990s shows just how vulnerable fisheries in the Black Sea can be to pollution and the introduction of alien species. Obviously, there is an urgent need for the adoption of ecosystem-based management that restricts destructive fishing gear, and eliminates the wasteful practice of discarding unintended catch. Central to this goal within the fishery management process °© and in order to maintain sustainability - is the immediate need to separate conservation decisions as to how many fish are caught, to allocation decisions - as who is allowed to catch them.

Developing Sustainable Marine Aquaculture and Mariculture

The aquaculture of fish, shellfish, or aquatic plants-has grown rapidly over the past several decades. Hard clams, oysters, shrimp, Atlantic salmon, and nearly all the catfish and Trout are produced by such industries. With fishery catches declining due to over fishing, marine aquaculture and Mariculture hold great promise as important sources of seafood. However, different species and production systems present various challenges and great risks, which complicate the proper management of these industries. These risks must be properly evaluated and mitigated.

For example, improper design, siting, and operation of marine aquaculture facilities can reduce water quality, damage the physical habitat, and harm wild populations in a variety of ways. Farmed fish can escape their pens and pose biological risks to wild populations. Large releases of nitrogen, phosphorus, and fecal matter from such farming can damage the coastal environment in the same way as releases of nutrient waste in untreated sewage of large human coastal settlements. To prevent, minimize and mitigate possible adverse impacts that these new industries can generate, there must be ecologically sound management. Proper governance and sustainability of the marine aquaculture and Mari culture industries will require the establishment of proper international standards and conservation principles and a coherent international policy for the siting, design, operation and regulation of marine aquaculture and mariculture facilities, as well as international trading agreements encouraging ecologically sustainable practices.




Accurate evaluation of present climate changes and future impacts

Climate changes, global warming and a rising sea level are having serious adverse impacts on human and animal life of our planet and are the cause of great concern. Climate changes are resulting also in an increase of natural disasters. Although an overall pattern of global warming begun long ago, there is substantial amount of evidence, which indicates that dramatic changes in climate are occurring in recent years at a much-accelerated rate. Both terrestrial and astronomic factors are believed to be responsible for the present trend. Human activity factors are also believed to contribute to climate changes °© although this impact has not been adequately estimated at the present time.

To evaluate properly the earth's climate changes we must first review the processes that cause them. Throughout geologic time, the Earth's climate has been an unstable dynamic system that has undergone short and long term cycles of heating up or cooling down - with corresponding rises and falls in sea level. Important natural drivers responsible for the climatic changes involve both astronomical and terrestrial factors. The sun is the primary source of energy that affects the earth's climate. The astronomical factors include the geometry and orbital variability of our solar system, solar storms and flares, sunspot cycles, solar winds and incoming solar luminosity and ultraviolet radiation. Natural terrestrial climate drivers include the global geometry of continent/ocean distribution, ocean tide cycles, periodic ocean circulation changes such as El Nino, weathering of rocks and the thermal and particle input of volcanic eruptions.

Hurricane Olga near Bermuda on November 28, 2001 (SeaWiFS image)

In the 15,000 years of the Pleistocene Period - with the exception of a few short cooling cycles - there has been an overall pattern of global warming that has affected both the earth's climate and the sea level. The geoclimatic record of the last 400 years indicates a natural trend of increasing global temperatures and a rising sea level. Following WWII, there was a brief 30-year cooling period. However, the trend reversed in the mid1970's. Since then, there has been a continuous rise in the average global temperatures, a rise in sea level, and apparent climate changes.

These climate changes have been the cause of great alarm. Increases in the use of fossil fuels and the resulting gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and methane °© among others °© are suspected to be additional human activity drivers that contribute to natural global warming and to associated climatic changes. To what extent these greenhouse gases affect climate is not yet conclusively known. However, the need to evaluate the effects of human activities on climate has led to the formation of international organizations, such as the U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and to international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. This latter Protocol represents a good faith commitment of the "developed" nations to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 5% by the year 2012. Since the Protocol sets parameters that cannot be properly measured or regulated, it remains to be seen as to what extend the Protocol's signatory parties will honor this moral commitment.

Mitigating impacts of natural and man-made disasters - Disaster preparedness

The safety and security of human settlements along coastal areas will continue to be threatened by both natural and man-made disasters. Although great progress in disaster mitigation has been achieved as a result of international efforts, public education on disaster preparedness - particularly for certain regions of the world - still remains inadequate. To reverse this trend and to ensure the protection of human life and property along the world's overdeveloped coastal areas, it will be necessary to increase the levels of financial support for educational programs of disaster preparedness and mitigation.


The safety and security of human activities at sea represent a continuous challenge in ocean governance. For example, there are unique safety problems associated with activities such as shipping and the exploitation of gas and oil resources by near shore and offshore platforms. Military operations and activities at sea present their own unique safety problems for human as well as aquatic life. For certain regions of the world, piracy continues to be a threat to human safety at sea.

Ensuring safety in shipping and in the transportation of harmful substances and nuclear waste products

To ensure safety in shipping, to avert disasters at sea and to assure the safe transportation of oil, chemicals, nuclear waste materials and other substances that can be potentially disastrous to the marine ecosystems and to human life, there is a need for closer adherence to international conventions, regulations, codes and protocols. Also, there is a need to develop more comprehensive emergency response plans and safety procedures that will minimize the environmental risks of any accident at sea, no matter how unlikely it may appear to be. For example, the shipping of oil must be done by tankers that meet the strictest safety requirements of hull integrity and of immediate containment of leaks. The shipping of substances, such as nuclear material or fuel must continue to be closely regulated to avert any accident that may release harmful radioactivity in the marine environment. Present and emerging risks involving safety in the shipping and the transportation of harmful substances present many challenges for the future.

Securing the Safety of Marine Life from Military and Research Activities at Sea

There are indications that certain ocean research programs and military activities at sea may present unique threats to marine life. Even well intended experiments such as ATOC (Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate) which aim to measure temperature change in the ocean and global climate change by using sound sent across entire ocean basins, may be harmful to marine life. The methods used in the collection of such thermal ocean data or for military acoustic intelligence use powerful low and medium frequency sounds, which appear to have an adverse impact on certain types of marine life. Such activities and experiments appear to have harmed or killed whales, dolphins and other marine mammals around the world. It is still unknown how such sounds affect whales and other marine mammals or how harmful they may be in the long term. Therefore, before continuing with such experiments, there must be a careful and conclusive evaluation on what sound frequencies may be harmful to whales and other marine animals, so that military activities and ocean thermography experiments can be adjusted accordingly.


Reversing present trends and ensuring sustainability of semi-closed and closed seas

As previously mentioned, many of the world's semi-closed and closed seas have unique environmental problems that need to be evaluated through proper data collection so that action plans can be taken to mitigate adverse impacts. The Black Sea has been presented as an example of a semi-enclosed sea that faces major problems. In this region of the world, human health, marine ecosystems and animal wildlife have been adversely affected and are seriously threatened by large discharges of raw sewage and the dumping of semi-treated sewage sludge and of polluted dredged spoils. Present trends must be reversed. The ecological sustainability of the Black Sea will depend on drastically reducing the present levels of pollution that are introduced into the waterways from industries, municipalities and agricultural projects of neighboring countries. As mentioned previously, eutrophication and the resulting algal blooms, which deplete the oxygen levels and thus affect both coastal and pelagic marine life, cause the most important environmental problem.

For the initiatives and protocols that resulted from the June 2002 Bucharest Convention to become effective, it will be necessary to first identify accurately the land-based sources of pollution that affect the Black Sea. Subsequently, baseline levels of pollution must be determined and effective data management programs must be established. These will help decision makers mitigate problems of pollution in the region through proper regulation and monitoring of effluent discharges.

In view of such needs, it will be important for the countries of the region to participate more actively in global programs such as GOOS and GLOBEC and thus develop the appropriate infrastructure and databases that will help carry out the monitoring activities and the needed research for the systematic development of forecasting systems. The necessity of such data collection, monitoring, and research cannot be overemphasized. Only through such concerted data management efforts, the objectives and strategic action plan of the Bucharest Convention and of the Black Sea Environmental Programme (BSEP) can be realized. Only through such a concerted data management programs, the rehabilitation and sustainability of the Black Sea can be achieved and future ecological disasters be alleviated. As previously suggested, the Black Sea can be the model for other areas of the world that face similar problems.


Investing in programs of education and training

That the world's oceans and seas are in a state of crisis is a fact that has already been established. Although the remaining problems for ocean sustainability are many, they are not insurmountable. In addition to the programs of data collection and management outlined previously, emphasis must be also placed to the need for programs of education and training in the ocean related sciences. These programs are needed in order to produce the qualified specialists that will effectively manage the efforts for the sustainability of our water planet. There has never been a more critical time for the nations of the world to increase their investment in ocean science, research and the education and training of marine specialists. This may be a long-term investment, but one that will pay off handsomely in the future if ocean sustainability is to be achieved.


Protection of marine resources - The need for an international approach

The time for philosophical discussions of threats facing our oceans, seas and coastal areas is over. We have a fairly accurate understanding of present trends and future challenges. Certainly we can improve on our environmental monitoring activities and the organization and management of databases. However, much more is needed.

The international nature of the crisis must be further recognized through additional concerted actions. By failing to responsibly manage our oceans, seas and coastal areas, we risk losing much more in the future. Presently, most of the policies at the national levels are usually assortments of limited laws that usually respond to crisis situations. To be effective and successful in properly managing critical ocean resources and in ensuring responsible governance of the world's oceans and seas, there is an urgent need for a new international approach. Immediate reforms of national and international ocean laws and policies are needed to mitigate the effects of pollution and thus avert further declines of ocean wildlife, protect ocean ecosystems from further catastrophic collapses, and. restore marine wildlife.

This is a critical time for the international community of nations to act by increasing their investments in ocean science, research and education - and thus help preserve the ecological, economic, and social benefits the world's oceans and seas provide. Practical solutions are needed for ocean, sea and coastal environment governance that will ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy healthy sea products and an abundance of ocean wild life. There is a need for educational programs that will help people around the world understand what sustainable development of our oceans and seas is, and will mobilize them to act - in their various social roles - to promote it. There is a need for the adaptation of an ocean conservation ethic that recognizes our moral obligation to future generations to provide them with a clean and healthy earth and water planet.

Proposal for an International Decade for Ocean Governance and Sustainability (IDOGS)

To avert the continuing decline of ocean wildlife and the collapse of ocean ecosystems, it will be necessary to institute immediate reforms, policies and plans of action which must reflect the substantial changes in our knowledge of the world's oceans and seas and our values toward them. The new initiatives must cut across lines of national jurisdiction and involve all members of the international community. An International Ocean Policy Act is needed °© perhaps in the form of a UN resolution - that will endorse an international commitment to protect, restore and sustain our planet's living oceans and seas.

The establishment of an independent oceans agency or program under the umbrella of the United Nations and the declaration of an International Decade of Ocean Governance and Sustainability (IDOGS) are proposed, perhaps beginning as early as the year 2005. The proposed Decade will promote the recommendations of the last World Summit, of PIM 2002 in Johannesburg, as well as those of PIM 2003. The recommendations from PIM 2003 must emphasize that proper governance and sustainability are fundamental necessities for the survival of our water planet and its ecosystems, and in improving the quality and health of human life. The recommendations must also emphasize our moral obligation to preserve the environmental quality of our planet for future generations.

The proposed International Decade on Ocean Governance and Sustainability (IDOGS) could be structured in the same way the International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) was structured for the 19990's. The proposed Decade would be of immense importance in helping the reversal of present adverse impacts and in improving the environmental quality of our oceans, seas and coastal regions. Furthermore, it could help streamline existing national and international ocean management programs by promoting coordination and in redirecting government programs and subsidies that contribute in preventing the degradation of the coastal environment, in restoring fisheries, in providing guidelines for sustainable marine aquaculture, in establishing appropriate databases, in promoting and establishing research and education programs, and in developing ethical standards that embraces the use of the oceans as a public trust °© a trust that recognizes present and future human dependence on healthy marine ecosystems.

Finally, international cooperation at a grass-roots level - promoted by the Decade - could also create regional ecosystem councils around the world that could bring fishermen, scientists, citizens, and government officials together. Such regional groups could help develop ocean management plans and contribute to the international network of marine reserves for the purpose of protecting and restoring fragile ocean habitats, controlling anthropogenic emissions and greenhouse gases that threaten our earth's climate and, finally, in mitigating the effects of natural and man-made disasters.


I wish to express my appreciation to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), the International Ocean Institute (IOI), the Oceanological Centre of the NASU and the PIM 2003 Organizing Committee, for inviting me to participate at the 30th Pacem in Maribus Conference.


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