REMPEC attended the 2nd GloBallast Global Project Task Force meeting, 3-4 October, and the IMO-UNEP Forum on inter-regional cooperation in BWM, 5 October – Oct 03, 2010

During the 2nd GloBallast Global Project Task Force Meeting, the Globallast Programme Coordination Unit (PCU) presented the progress in implementation of project activities, which has made significant progress with 60% of the activities of the Project completed.

The representatives of the six Regional Coordinating Organizations presented the status of their initiatives with regard to the project’s implementation at regional level. The presentations focused on the organizational aspects, regional mechanisms/forums, and current status of regional discussions on ballast water issues. REMPEC described the project’s implementation status in the Mediterranean and other relevant initiatives. Three Mediterranean countries have ratified the Ballast Water Management Convention since the start of the Project, namely Albania, Croatia and France and the region is the most advanced one in terms of project implementation with only one capacity building activity left, namely the Regional Training Course on Ballast Water Management Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement. REMPEC also presented in details the process followed in the region for developing the Mediterranean strategy on ballast water and invasive species and the active role played by the Mediterranean countries in this respect. The said strategy was agreed upon during the 2nd Globallast Mediterranean Regional Task Force in June 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey, and that the document is expected to be endorsed by the Meeting of Focal Points of REMPEC and subsequently adopted by the Contracting parties to the Barcelona Convention in 2011. REMPEC also mentioned the voluntary interim arrangements on ballast water exchange in the Mediterranean, which, once endorsed by the various Contracting Parties governments, will be notified to the International Maritime Organization.

The representatives of the Lead Partnering Countries then presented the status of their initiatives with regard to the implementation of the Project at national level and progress achieved. The presentations focused on the organizational aspects, national statistics regarding shipping and port activities, national initiatives in the area of BWM, and challenges ahead. Croatia and Turkey updated the Meeting on the progress achieved at national level and on undertaking national BWM status assessments and drafting a national BWM strategy.

This event was followed by the IMO-UNEP Forum on Regional Cooperation on Ballast Water management (05 October 2010, London, UK). During the Forum, the status of BWM convention implementation at global level was discussed, as well as common possible approaches and field of work at regional level.

Some presentations followed on the status of the development of regional strategies for BWM, with specific reference on developments related to voluntary interim arrangements on ballast water exchange. REMPEC made a presentation related to initiatives towards inter-regional cooperation and related experiences so far, emphasizing on sharing experience and expertise as well as initiating a dialogue with neighboring communicating seas, namely the Black sea and the Red sea, as well as with other regional Secretariat of relevance such as OSPAR and HELCOM Secretariats.

The Black Sea Commission representative highlighted the very good cooperation initiated with REMPEC and insisted that such cooperation should be maintained whilst the OSPAR representative presented the outcome of the cooperation between the Mediterranean region and the OSPAR Secretariat in the field of ballast water exchange, referring to the “General Guidance on the voluntary interim application of the D1 ballast water exchange standard by vessels operating between the Mediterranean sea and the North East Atlantic and / or the Baltic sea”.

The presentations were followed by a Group discussion on how to strengthen regional actions through inter-regional cooperation. The participants were requested to assist in identifying key strengths, opportunities, threats and weakness. The Secretariat informed the meeting that most of the points highlighted during the discussion were captured and that an action plan reflecting these will be developed and circulated.