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Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea
History and Background

The primary aim of the Advisory Committee on Protection of the Sea (ACOPS) is to promote and implement strategies for the sustainable development of the coastal and marine environment, through scientific, legal and policy research, advisory and public awareness activities, and development of project proposals for Partnership Conferences of all stakeholders. Work is carried out at the global, regional and national levels. Given that effective responses often demand complex cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary approaches, assistance is provided to both countries and regions in the development and implementation of concrete initiatives and projects. Studying our seas and oceans both as indicators of pollution and as a threatened resource in their own right, ACOPS strives to identify cost-effective, long-term environmental solutions that can be effectively implemented across the world, and to present these solutions to stakeholders in order to solicit commitments for concrete actions.

Established in 1952 as one of the world''s first environmental Non-Governmental Organisations, ACOPS originally concentrated on encouraging international agreements to reduce marine oil pollution.

Since then, ACOPS has expanded its interests to include land-based sources of marine pollution, as well as other aspects of degradation of the coastal and marine environment.  Our operations include:

-assistance to national governments and regional organisations in the development and implementation of projects, activities, and mechanisms for the protection and development of the coastal and marine environment;

-research regarding marine pollution problems, and development of concrete proposals for their solution and quantification;

-formulation of policy options and the conduct of studies in co-operation with central and local governments and intergovernmental agencies, as well as regional and global organisation

-preparation of project proposals to be considered at Partnership Conferences which bring together  all stakeholders;

-educational programmes covering all scientific, legal and political aspects of the degradation and threats to, the marine and coastal environment;

-promotion of the North-South dialogue; and public awareness campaigns, through high-level international conferences.
Through comprehensive processes of characterisation and prioritisation of environmental issues at both national and regional levels, in concert with key stakeholders from all levels, ACOPS has succeeded in identifying crucial areas, hot-spots, and issues that demand solutions if the coasts and oceans of the world are to be sustainably developed.

 These concrete projects are presented at regional Partnership Conferences, a mechanism that brings together potential partners and stakeholders in a process that generates a sense of ownership and of commitment – requisite elements for ensuring the long-term sustainability that environmental solutions demand.
ACOPS is an international private, independent, non-political organisation enjoying UK charitable status, funded by a variety of foundations, governmental and intergovernmental institutions, companies and private individuals. It has a broad constituent base, consisting of international associations of local authorities, wildlife and environmental protection organisations, trade unions, academic bodies, ports and harbours, tourist and shipping industries, as well as eminent individual members which include some of the world''''''''s leading politicians, administrators, scientists, economists and lawyers.
ACOPS works closely with institutions and organisations within the United Nations system, both as a facilitator of processes that require consensus and political will, and as co-ordinator and executing agency of strategic projects that result in concrete proposals. Work undertaken in Africa through a GEF MSP project, in which IOC-UNESCO actively participated, and whose scope UNEP and the Co-ordinating Office of the GPA broadened by mobilising resources for the inclusion of additional countries, are examples of this.  Similarly, the success of the NPA-Arctic programme both from the point of view of scientific rigour and political support within the Russian Federation, has confirmed ACOPS as a strategic partner for GEF, UNEP and other bilateral donors.
ACOPS is based in London, but its overseas offices in Bogotá and Tauranga (New Zealand), and a network of experts, give it a strong world-wide presence equally in the south and the north, which is vital to the success of its work. A strong team of world renowned experts, many of whom have held or hold high-level positions in key organisations at the national, regional, and global level, work closely with ACOPS on its various programmes. Their fields of expertise cover such vital fields as policy development, fisheries, corporate environmental management, oceanography, pollution research and control, biology, and tourism, thus providing a very solid basis to the multidisciplinary, transectoral approaches favoured by ACOPS.

Furthermore, ACOPS’ distinguished international panel of Vice-Presidents takes a leading role in formulating policies and overseeing their implementation within their own countries and regions. Half of ACOPS'''''''' Board of Vice-Presidents are from the Northern Hemisphere and half from the Southern Hemisphere, including countries with economies in transition. All ACOPS'''''''' officers are senior political figures, covering all colours of the political spectrum, giving ACOPS its independent status.
ACOPS co-operates closely with governments world-wide, as well as with the Commission of the European Union, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA), the Co-ordination Office of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and other bodies such as Global Legislators for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE). ACOPS has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with UNEP, IOC of UNESCO, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation, and academic institutions assisting in research projects such as the Plymouth University and the Imperial College, London. In addition, ACOPS'''''''' efforts are strengthened by its association, as an observer, with major intergovernmental agencies such as the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN), the Arctic Council, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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