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Caribbean Environment Program
Parc National de Guadeloupe
United Nations Environment Programme
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Globallast Project

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GloBallast phase II : Globallast partnerships

I. General information

Project initiator: UNDP, implemented by the International maritime organisation (IMO)

Project objective: To help countries reduce the risks of bio-invasions linked to ballast water, and to prepare them to implement the IMO Convention for the management of ballast water

Partners: UNEP, RAC/REMPEICT for the Caribbean

Participating countries : 1st circle : the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela ; 2nd circle : Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Haiti, Cuba, Dominica, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Funding: GEF, co-funded by the IMO, partner countries and the private sector

Amount: 23 million US dollars (worldwide project) including 5.64 million US dollars supplied by the GEF

Timetable : 5 years (October 2007- October 2012)

Website: and

GloBallast Partnerships project coordination unit : rmaccioc[at]
For the Caribbean: CAR/REMPEITC ; rempeitc[at]


II. Description

Approximately 10 billion tonnes of ballast water are conveyed every year across the planet, and the same quantity in domestic transport; it is estimated that 10,000 different species are transported in ballast water every day.

In the past 20 years, scientists, governments and all partners have been increasingly aware of the fact that transporting harmful and pathogenic species in ballast water was posing a problem, insofar as certain species, loaded in ballast water on ships’ departure (microorganisms, algae, larva etc), reached their destination intact and could then spread in new environments, with environmental, social and economic consequences. The potential impact was particularly high in the Caribbean, insofar as the economy mainly relies on coastal resources and where the environment is extremely sensitive. Some Caribbean countries export raw or manufactured products and import ballast water. In 2005, 13 million tonnes of water were poured into the Gulf of Mexico (including 50% from abroad) and 6 million into the Caribbean Sea (84% international).


The International maritime organisation launched in 2000 a first pilot project called GloBallast, aiming to reduce the transport of harmful organisms in ballast water, in accordance with IMO ballast water guidelines. This 4-year project (March 2000 to March 2003) was granted 7.4 M$ of funding from the GEF and 2.8 M$ of contributions from participating countries, and has focussed on 5 pilot sites across the world.

Following the success of this first project, the IMO once again joined forces with the GEF, the UNDP, various countries and the maritime sector to implement an additional five-year project. This project’s full title is Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries to Reduce the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water, known more simply as the GloBallast Partnerships (GBP) project.

The GloBallast partnerships project mainly aims to help developing countries reduce the risk of invasion of aquatic organisms in ballast water and ships’ sediments. Making the most of the tools created and the lessons learnt from the pilot project, the GloBallast partnership project aims to:

• reinforce governments’ and ports’ management capacities,
• promote legal, political and institutional reforms on a national level,
• establish systems ensuring sustainable management, and
• encourage regional coordination and cooperation.

This project also aims to simulate efforts on an international scale in view of developing technological solutions and improve knowledge management and information exchange in view of supporting initiatives linked to marine biosecurity. A crucial component of the GBP is the partnership between the public and private sector.

The expected results include: the improvement of knowledge acquisition, evaluation and adaptive management; the establishment of ballast water management strategies; the efficient use of knowledge management tools and marine environment monitoring systems; and the establishment of partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to stimulate the creation of technologies with good cost-efficiency for managing ballast water.

The project uses an approach made up of a number of components and levels, involving national, regional and international partners representing governments, the maritime sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

An international component, managed by one of the Programme coordination units in London, ensures coordination on an international level and the dissemination of information, including the elaboration of a range of measures and directives, and establishes solid cooperative relationships with the maritime sector and NGOs.

A regional component ensures, on a regional level, coordination and harmonisation, information exchange, training and reinforcement of capacities for applying measures and directives on water ballast management.

An important national component, by creating a accelerated network (main partner country) and a partnership network (partner country), helps developing countries in priority regions undertake the sought-after legal, political and institutional reforms, and implement the International convention for the control and management of ships’ water ballast and sediments.

Thirteen countries from five high-priority regions, including the Greater Caribbean Region, play a main partnership role particularly focussed on legal, political and institutional reforms. In all, more than 70 countries in 14 regions in the world take part directly or indirectly in the project or benefit from it.

As far as the Greater Caribbean Region is concerned, the coordination is ensured by the Regional Activity Centre for the Cartagena Convention’s oil protocol, the RAC-REMPEITC. Four Caribbean countries are main project partners: the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela (Colombia being part of the Pacific region for this project). Other Caribbean countries are said to be “simple” partners and include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Haiti, Cuba, Dominica, Guatemala, and Mexico.

Bearing in mind the involvement of RAC-REMPEITC, this project works very closely with the Cartagena Convention. A link has also been established with the SPAW protocol, since successive SPAW work programmes have identified this project’s support and accompaniment, on a national and regional level, as one of the actions for the fight against invasive alien species, in addition to the project initiated by CABI (see dedicated article)


III. News

For the project’s international component concerning the Greater Caribbean Region, recent key activities have been organised (organised by RAC-REMPEITC):


  • Introductory training in water ballast management in Jamaica, with participants from the Bahamas, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica, the Dutch Antilles, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and the IMO

  • National workshops in Colombia, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago to facilitate the implementation of National pilot groups 


  • Training of reference biological inventories in Colombian ports, with participants from Colombia, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador (in partnership with the permanent South Pacific commission.

  • First meeting in Panama of the GloBallast regional pilot group, and regional training on the legal implementation of the Water ballast management convention. Most partner countries were present, and RAC-REMPEITC was asked to elaborate a regional strategy. Presentation of this meeting’s results at the IGM 14 in October 2010


  • participation of RAC-REMPEITC in the regional training on the legal implementation of the Water ballast management convention for Central American countries organised by COCATRAM. RAC-REMPEITC presented the regional strategy requested in 2009 and invited all of the countries present to implement it as soon as possible by setting up their own national pilot groups.