8 September 2016 - Global treaty to halt invasive aquatic species to enter into force in 2017
Accession by Finland has triggered the entry into force of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention on 8 September 2017. The BWM Convention is a key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species through ships’ ballast water.
Each year, large shipping vessels transport an estimated 5 billion tonnes of ballast water across the world’s oceans; on occasion, organisms transported in the ballast water both survive the journey and establish footholds in their new environments as ‘invasive species’, disrupting both marine and freshwater ecosystems.
Under the BWM Convention, officially known as the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within their ballast water and sediments.
This major milestone coincides with the upcoming completion of the GloBallast Partnerships Project of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is approaching its final months of implementation and starting to review its achievements.
Congratulating the IMO and all the other partners involved, GEF CEO and Chairperson, Naoko Ishii, said, “The fact that the BWM Convention will enter into force is the result of a long-term productive partnership between GEF, IMO, UNDP and a suite of partners. Its implementation will be instrumental in battling invasive aquatic species, and will lead to healthier marine ecosystems that positively impact both economic opportunity and the livelihoods of millions of people across the globe. Ultimately, the entry into force of the BWM Convention is simply good news for the global environment,” she said.
“The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimize the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.
Andrew Hudson, Head, UNDP Water & Ocean Governance Programme stated: “The coming into force of the global Ship’s Ballast Water Management Convention represents a tremendous milestone for sustainable human development. Invasive species represent one of the most serious threats to aquatic ecosystems and, once established, are virtually impossible to eradicate. By putting in place a stringent global mechanism that should dramatically reduce ship-mediated invasive species risk, the Convention will in turn reduce the significant economic damage, lost livelihoods and human health impacts often caused by invasive species. As the GEF Agency overseeing GloBallast for almost 20 years, UNDP takes great pride in this achievement and the catalytic role the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Programme has played in bringing the Convention to this historic moment”.