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The Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) is the only global intergovernmental mechanism directly addressing the connectivity between terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems.

GPA aims to be a source of conceptual and practical guidance to be drawn upon by national and/or regional authorities for devising and implementing sustained action to prevent, reduce, control and/or eliminate marine degradation from land-based activities.

UNEP hosts the GPA Coordinating Unit and coordinates some activities in support of the programme. Intergovernmental Review Meetings are organized every 5 years to review the progress made by countries in the implementation of the GPA through their respective National Action Plans.

It was created in 1995 when over 108 governments declared “their commitment to protect and preserve the marine environment from the impacts of land-based activities, through the Washington Declaration. Setting as their common goal sustained and effective action to deal with all land-based impacts upon the marine environment, specifically those resulting from sewage, persistent organic pollutants, radioactive substances, heavy metals, oils (hydrocarbons), nutrients, sediment mobilization, litter, and physical alteration and destruction of habitat.