NOAA 2004-R427
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2004
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The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), through its Global Program of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, announced the signing today (March 22) of a collaborative agreement to establish an office in NOAA’s National Ocean Service to help provide effective follow-up support to the White Water to Blue Water related activities in the wider Caribbean Region.

Veerle Vandeweerd, director of UNEP regional seas and GPA program and retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator signed the agreement.

“Our vision is healthy, well-managed and productive marine and coastal ecosystems that support secure economies and livelihoods in coastal countries, said Lautenbacher. “To accomplish this, we need to improve national capacities of coastal states to manage entire coastal marine ecosystems and encourage partnerships that will develop from the White Water to Blue Water (WW2BW) initiative.”

The establishment of an office to facilitate and coordinate NOAA and UNEP’s activities in support of the marine environment will allow for the active application of best management practices in the region. The office will provide answers to questions, information on marine ecosystem management, and as resources allow, technical assistance in the form of training or on-site expert assistance.

The NOAA – UNEP agreement begins this year and continues at least through the end of 2007. NOAA specifically will undertake responsibilities in five areas:

  • Develop and implement demonstration projects in the wider Caribbean, related to the development, conservation, and management of watersheds and coastal and marine ecosystems. This includes testing the effectiveness of watershed management and promoting “Best Management Practices” to reduce or control polluted runoff from tourism and coastal infrastructural development, agricultural practices, and ports and harbour facilities.
  • Plan and implement Partnership Initiatives, including the WW2BW and GPA partnership in the wider Caribbean and contributing to the GPA activities, as a follow-up of the WW2BW Miami conference in March 2004.
  • Facilitate cooperation between the GPA and other U.S. agencies, such as the United States Agency for International Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of State, and liaising with other Washington-based development agencies (e.g., Global Environment Facility, World Bank, Organization of American States, and InterAmerican Development Bank) on behalf of the GPA Coordination Office.
  • Disseminate regional information concerning the integrated watershed and ecosystem management and other related subjects through the use of internet-based technology, workshops and meetings.
  • Provide technical support to design, develop and implement national programs of action in the wider Caribbean region at large, as well as strategic advice to the global GPA program and GPA Coordination Office functions and operations.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web


National Ocean Service:


White Water to Blue Water:

Conference information: