GloBallast Programme

Since 2000, and driven by the desire to mitigate the impacts of harmful aquatic invasions, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and IMO have worked together under the GloBallast Partnerships Project to foster an unprecedented international and public-private cooperation in the area of ballast water management.

Reflective of the complexities of ballast water management, GloBallast became one of the longest running programmes under the GEF, stretching over the period from 2000 to 2017 in two phases (2000-2004 and 2007-2017). The first phase, the Global Ballast Water Management Programme (or GloBallast for short), assisted six developing countries (Brazil, China, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, South Africa and Ukraine) to implement effective measures to control the introduction of foreign marine species.

This first phase of GloBallast was extremely successful in accelerating global efforts to develop an international regulatory framework to address the issue of aquatic invasive species in ships ballast by bringing together all stakeholders to engage in fruitful discussion for the first time. In fact it was so successful that the first phase concluded in 2004 with the adoption by IMO member States of the BWM Convention, a significant milestone and considerable accomplishment.

Following the success of the original ‘Global Ballast Water Management’ Project, IMO executed the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnerships Programme (2008-2017), also known as GloBallast, to sustain the global momentum in tackling the ballast water problem and to catalyse innovative global partnerships to develop solutions.

The main aim of GloBallast was to assist developing countries to reduce the risk of aquatic bio-invasions mediated by ships' ballast water and sediments. With the help of tools developed and lessons learned from the pilot phase, the second phase of the project was initially focused on 15 Lead Partnering Countries (LPCs): Argentina, Bahamas, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Ghana, Jamaica, Jordan, Nigeria, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen.  The intervention in the LPCs had the following objectives:

  • expand government and port management capacities;

  • instigate legal, policy and institutional reforms at national level;

  • develop mechanisms for sustainability; and

  • drive regional coordination and co-operation.

In parallel, the Project also spurred global efforts to develop technology solutions, and enhance global knowledge management and information exchange to support marine biosecurity initiatives.  Notable achievements were:

  • 6 demonstrations sites for PBBS (Port Biological Baseline Surveys);

  • the establishment of the GloBal TestNet, a network of organisations involved in testing for the type approval and certification of ballast water systems;

  • international R&D Forums and Conferences that were considered as one of the most important specialized gatherings in this area of knowledge; and

  • 30 technical publications on different aspects of BWM.

GloBallast had a significant Public-Private Sector Partnership component. Private sector participation was achieved through the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) and GIA Fund, established with partners from major maritime companies. The GIA members included shipping giants such as Keppel Offshore and Marine (KOM) and APL. The GIA was instrumental in the production of a highly awarded video filmed by BBC Wildvision, giving a unique insight into an important environmental issue. Also with the support of the GIA, GloBallast developed an eLearning course on operational aspects of BWM, available free of charge both online and as downloadable content for seafarers.

GloBallast also collaborated in 2010 with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) through an innovative partnership to build ballast water management related capacity in the EBRD region. This partnership is titled IMO-EBRD Marine Biosafety Initiative (MBI).

For more information on GloBallast, please use the links available in the right column at the top of this page.