The Governing Council, Recalling its decision 22/2 of 7 February 2003, on the regional seas strategies for sustainable development, decision 21/28 of 9 February 2001, regarding the need for the development and strengthening of regional seas conventions and action plans in promoting the conservation and sustainable use of the marine and coastal environment, building partnerships and establishing linkages with multilateral environmental agreements, and paragraph 74 (b) of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities,5 adopted in Washington, D.C., on 3 November 1995, including requests to the United Nations Environment Programme that it support the Regional Seas Programme and promote and facilitate the implementation of the Global Programme of Action at the regional level, Welcoming the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), expressed in the document, “The future we want”, paragraphs 158–177, on oceans and seas, 1. Urges countries to take the necessary steps to implement relevant and existing commitments, as well as commitments made at Rio+20, to protect and restore the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystems and to maintain their biodiversity, enabling their conservation and sustainable use for present and future generations, and to effectively apply an ecosystem approach and the precautionary approach in the management, in accordance with international law, of activities having an impact on the marine environment in order to deliver on all three dimensions of sustainable development; 2. Invites member States of existing regional seas conventions and action plans: 23 (a) To take a more proactive role in all stages of the implementation of the programmes of work of their respective regional seas conventions and action plans and to develop “ownership” of those conventions and action plans; (b) To utilize the regional seas conventions and action plans as platforms for the regional implementation of multilateral environmental agreements and global programmes and initiatives; (c) To strengthen the capacity necessary for the effective implementation of the existing regional seas conventions and action plans; (d) To foster cross-sectoral governmental participation through the involvement of all relevant national ministries; 3. Requests the Executive Director to further encourage and promote the United Nations Environment Programme’s work on oceans and to incorporate the work of the existing regional seas conventions and action plans into the wider framework of the mid-term strategy 2014–2017 and its work programme; 4. Requests the Executive Director, as appropriate and within available resources and within the mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme and with due respect for the autonomy of the decision-making bodies of the existing regional seas conventions and action plans to coordinate their work, as contained in the regional seas strategic directions 2013–2016, and to bring them to the attention of member States through relevant forums and areas of work.