Today the 4th Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands (7-11 April 2008) has been opened in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is attended by 430 participants from 71 countries. The Conference was opened by Mr. Pham Gia Khiem, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Vietnam. As Ms. Biliana Cicin-Sain, co-chair and head of the secretariat of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands said in her opening speech, the conference "... brings together ocean leaders from around the world to assess the global situation on oceans and to mobilise expertise, political will, and resources to move forward in important new directions." The conference is mainly concerned with the impacts of climate change on world oceans and coasts. Ms. Cicin-Sain added that the three major considerations of the conference are the persistence of the climate issues; the international responsibility for the climate "divide" between the rich and poor has to be taken; and the capacity of the international institutions to address the issue of climate change.
The conference is supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which is implementing a number of regional, or Large Marine Ecosystem (LME), projects. The prospective future LME project is the "Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem". During the conference, Mr. Ivica Trumbic, PAP/RAC Director, will present the recently signed Mediterranean Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management.