GloBallast ballast water management project enters new phase

The GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Ballast Water Management Programme (GloBallast), aimed at assisting developing countries in implementing measures to minimize the adverse impacts of aquatic invasive species transferred by ships in ballast water, has begun a new phase, following the initial, successful, execution of the five-year US$10.2 million project by IMO.

The preparatory phase of the new project, to be known as GloBallast Partnerships, was initiated on 1 April 2005 with funding of around US$700,000 from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). This preparatory project will be executed by IMO over a period of 18 months and is expected to provide the groundwork for the full-scale GloBallast Partnerships project (full title: Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries to Reduce the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water), to become operational in 2006/2007. The main objective is to assist particularly vulnerable countries and/or regions to enact legal and policy reforms to meet the objectives of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, adopted by IMO in February 2004.

The Convention requires ratification by 30 States, representing 35 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage, in order to enter into force. Assisting States to implement the requirements of the convention is seen as critical if the new instrument is to make a timely entry into force and for its aims to be achieved. The issue of aquatic invasive species, including the transfer of harmful organisms in ships' ballast water and sediments, is seen as one of the greatest threats to global marine bio-diversity and ecosystems, and as a significant threat to coastal economies and even public health.

The transfer of harmful organisms in ships' ballast water is set to increase three-fold as a result of the increase in shipping activity predicted in the next decade. Developing countries and Small Island Developing States are said to be at particular risk, as globalisation of the world economy continues and new markets and therefore ports and shipping routes are opened in these areas. Institutional strengthening and capacity building through technical cooperation programmes such as GloBallast Partnerships are vital if the most vulnerable countries are to be protected from the increasing risks of aquatic bio-invasions.

GloBallast Partnerships is intended to be a five-year project with a tentative budget of US$17 million, of which, US$10 million will come from in-kind contributions from the participating countries and other interested partners. The remainder of the funding will be in the form of a GEF grant to support incremental costs. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is acting as implementing agency for GEF.

The initial phase - known as PDF-B - will include the development of a plan to enact legal reforms, identification of a plan to establish criteria for vulnerable areas, a stakeholder involvement plan and a monitoring and evaluation plan. The project will be managed by a Project Management Unit established by IMO.

The first phase of the GloBallast programme ran from 1 March 2000 to 31 December 2004. It involved a four-person Programme Coordination Unit (PCU), based at IMO in London, and six initial demonstration sites, located in Brazil, China, India, Iran, South Africa and Ukraine. Activities carried out at these sites focussed on institutional strengthening and capacity building and included:

· Establishment of National Lead Agencies and Focal Points for ballast water issues.
· Formation of cross-sectoral/inter-ministerial Country Task Forces.
· Communication and awareness raising activities.
· Ballast water risk assessments.
· Port biota baseline surveys.
· Ballast water sampling.
· Training in implementation of the IMO Ballast Water Guidelines.
· Assistance with national ballast water legislation and regulations.
· Training and technical assistance with compliance monitoring and enforcement.
· Assistance with developing national ballast water management strategies and action plans.
· Assistance with developing self-financing and resourcing mechanisms.
· Initiation of co-operative regional arrangements between neighbouring countries for ballast water management.

Briefing 20, 26 April 2005

IMO - the International Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

Web site:

Programme Coordination Unit
Global Ballast Water Management Programme
International Maritime Organization
4 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7SR United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7587 3279 or 3251
Fax: +44 (0)20 7587 3261

For further information please contact:
Lee Adamson, Head, Public Information Services on 020 7587 3153 ( or
Natasha Brown, External Relations Officer on 020 7587 3274 (