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NOWPAP Updates (June 2009)

Busan, RO Korea — Dr. Young-Woo Park, Director of the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), visited the NOWPAP RCU Busan office on 9 June 2009; and NOWPAP Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre (MERRAC) approved the workplan and budget for the 2010-2011 biennium.UNEP ROAP Director Visit to NOWPAP RCUDr. Young-Woo Park, Director of UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), visited NOWPAP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) Busan office on 9 June. Dr. Park attended the 3rd International Conference on Children's Health and the Environment, held in Busan, RO Korea, on 7-10 June, where he delivered an opening statement and chaired one of the sessions. During his short visit to the Busan office, Dr. Park shared his ideas related to NOWPAP implementation, e.g., using information technologies and geographic information systems (GIS) for internet training, as well as information on research being done in RO Korea on using algae for carbon sequestration and also for biomass production. Dr. Park also stressed the importance of coordination with government agencies to get any relevant information that might help in implementing NOWPAP activities. NOWPAP RCU staff members briefed Dr. Park on recent projects implemented by NOWPAP Regional Activity Centers and the RCU.Conference participants congratulated UNEP on its work related to mercury (including GC 25 decisions). Partnership between WHO and UNEP on environment and health linkage was also highly appreciated.NOWPAP MERRAC UpdateAt its 12th Focal Points Meeting (FPM) and the 4th Competent National Authorities (CNA) Meeting for NOWPAP Regional Oil and HNS Spill Contingency Plan held in Daejeon, RO Korea on 1-3 June, the NOWPAP Marine Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response Regional Activity Centre (MERRAC) approved the workplan and budget for the 2010-2011 biennium. In conjunction with the FPM and CNA Meeting, an International Workshop on the Response to Marine Pollution in the NOWPAP region was also held on 5 June in Incheon, where representatives from the NOWPAP member states shared information and practices on oil spill preparedness and response.As the region has high risk of oil spill incidents demonstrated by the real disaster of Hebei Spirit in December 2007, NOWPAP member countries pay great attention to regional cooperation on the issue and aim to be better prepared. In 2008, the Second NOWPAP Oil Spill Exercise was held in Qingdao, PR China. In 2009, two NOWPAP BRAVO exercises were conducted to check the communication efficiency among member countries in response to oil spill under the NOWPAP Regional Oil and Hazardous and Noxious Substances Contingency Plan (RCP). In addition, MERRAC has shared its experiences recently with the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) in order to assist them in getting their oil spill contingency plan adopted.