Plenary sessions of: FAO, UNESCO/IOC, IMO and UNEP approve conventions, agreements, resolutions and action plans for implementation by UN and their member states. The paper reviews marine institutional architectures and policy-making processes of UN agencies, sovereigns states and Regional Indigenous Organizations (RIOs-organizations belonging to member states of a region), to identify why the above instruments are only partially implemented. The World Commission on Oceans report, 1998. Marine Policy 1998; 22(6). Childers and Urquhart, 1994. D. Williams, 1987 were consulted. The paper concludes that a division of responsibilities for implementation of globally agreed to ocean programmes between UN agencies and RIOs could contribute to closing the implementation gap. © 2003 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
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