COP 22 Update- Canada and EU grant signing ceremonies for Morocco in support of COP22

By Dr, Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Climate and Global Change, Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC)

As the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention Climate scheduled in Marrakech from November 7 to 18, 2016, further support is being provided to the Moroccan government to support this important event.. 

The Government of Canada just made a contribution of $1.4 million Canadian dollars the while European Union contributed 2 million euros. The signing ceremonies involved the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which has set up a fund to group together donations in support of the logistical organization of COP22, mobilization of civil society, the preparation of side events and communications activities linked to COP22.

During the signing ceremony at the COP22 headquarters, Commissioner Abdelâdim Lhafii, in the presence of the Ambassador of Canada to Morocco Nathalie Dubé, and the UNDP resident coordinator, Philippe Poinsot, thanked Canada for their generous contribution and dedication to ensuring a successful COP in Marrakech. He also reiterated the importance of the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the first meeting of its Parties (CMA1) during COP22 in Marrakech. Morocco deposited its ratification instruments with the UN on Sept 21 and Canada on October 5. For the COP22 Commissioner, the Marrakech climate change conference will be one of action and implementation.

Ambassador Dubé underscored the importance for Canada of giving a voice especially to the most vulnerable countries and women during the climate change conference. She quoted Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau in saying that “Canada is committed to helping developing countries face the challenges of climate change because many of the most vulnerable countries have not significantly contributed to the problem but are confronted with the consequences.” Canada has recently announced that it will dedicate $2.5 billion dollars of the next 5 years to assist developing countries address climate change. Ambassador Dubé confirmed that the Canadian delegation at COP22 will be numerous and that they are already planning several side events. She saluted the host country of Morocco for “being a leader in renewable energy, especially through the Noor program and for showing the right path to the rest of the African continent.”

Later the same day at the residence of the European Union in Rabat the EU Ambassador to Morocco, Rubert Joy welcomed COP 22 Commissioner Lhafi UNDP Representative Poinsot for the 2 million euro grant signing ceremony. French Ambassador to Morocco, Jean-François Girault was also on hand. Ambassador Joy expressed his pride in supporting COP22 and congratulated Commissioner Lhafi on all the work in preparation of this most important international climate change conference in Marrakech.

Further information
News article
COP22 Website

Climate change and global impact on food security

circle-of-blueSource: circle of blue

Millions more people could live in poverty within the next 15 years as climate change reduces food security around the world, according to a report from the United Nations. India’s Supreme Court will continue deliberations this week over the Cauvery River water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Farmers in Punjab are searching for less water-intensive crops as groundwater supplies drop beyond reach. Concerns about groundwater in Ontario led the province to propose a moratorium on bottled water plants. Low water levels along the Rhine River have disrupted shipping and contributed to high transportation costs. Construction equipment for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline was set on fire in Iowa.

“The infrastructure to deliver water to the farmers is centuries-old and has very low conveyance efficiency. This needs to be modernized for optimal use of scarce water.” –Excerpt from a report prepared by a high-level government panel in India that will inform the Supreme Court’s deliberations over a water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The panel concluded that both states are enduring water shortages, and asked that each “appreciate” the other’s water interests. (Hindustan Times)

Marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction: international community marks a step forward

Source: DG MARE

The United Nations Preparatory Committee for a new legally-binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction closed its session in September 2016.
This second session, which followed up on the one that had taken place earlier this year, continued to examine the substantive issues pertaining to marine genetic resources (elements agreed to in UNGA Resolution 69/292) – for instance questions regarding the sharing of benefits, area-based management tools and marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments, capacity building and the marine technology transfer. The exceptional turnout, with high-level representatives from most countries and regions, including land-locked ones, and from intergovernmental organisations, business and civil society attests to the importance and sensitivity of this round of meetings. The committee will meet again next year for two final sessions, after which a decision of the UN General Assembly in 2018 is expected to set up a formal intergovernmental treaty conference to negotiate the new treaty.
Commissioner Vella remarked: “Once more, the European Union was a key player at this meeting and showed a tangible will to develop a new UNCLOS implementing agreement for marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. We believe it is our role to underscore the commitment of the international community to achieve healthy and productive oceans. We are satisfied with the outcome, as we made a step forward in our understanding of the issues and areas of common concern. There is also general consensus among delegates that the new instrument should respect the balance of rights and obligations contained in the Convention and should build on the work of the existing organisations, improving it through more cooperation and a more integrated approach to all activities in the oceans, as dictated by the modern principles of sustainable development. I congratulate all participants for their constructive engagement so far and encourage them to keep this momentum until next year, so that the formal intergovernmental treaty conference can be convened and ultimately a new treaty can be born. Such a treaty is bound to become a major pillar of international ocean governance and help us achieve healthy and productive oceans for current and future generations.”

Commissioner Vella announces EU to host global ‘Our Ocean’ 2017 Conference in Malta

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries was in Washington DC at the 2016 Our Ocean Conference. The conference, hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry, was addressed by US President Barack Obama. During the meeting Commissioner Vella announced that the next ‘Our Ocean’ Conference will be hosted by the EU and take place in Malta. This choice is a significant recognition of the efforts of Commissioner Vella, and the EU as a whole, to help deliver international cooperation on ocean issues.
It builds on Vella’s pledge that the EU plays a key role in improving Ocean Governance. President Obama praised the EU during his address, saying that the urgency of the issue and the need to act “was why the EU was so quick to raise its hand and offer to host the Our Ocean Conference in 2017”. Commissioner Vella, in his speech, noted: “If we want to ensure a more sustainable use of the oceans and their resources, we need to close legal gaps, cooperate more effectively and strengthen enforcement – in short, we need better ocean governance. I therefore intend to launch a major initiative on international ocean governance before the end of the year. We need to keep the momentum for change. In this spirit, I am proud that the European Union will be hosting the fourth edition of the Our Ocean Conference in Malta on 5-6 October 2017. In the spirit of Washington and Chile, it will follow up on previous commitments and seek new ones”. The 2017 conference will build on the issues of the ocean and climate change, marine pollution and sustainable fishing. It will further develop how the Ocean can contribute to sustainable blue growth, including through new energy sources such as tidal and wave technology. 
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TEACH THIS BOOK! (A free book offer for marine educators & libraries)

With the support of a generous foundation grant, the World Ocean Observatory is pleased to announce a free book offer for libraries, schools and colleges where oceanographic and environmental studies are emphasized. Marine educators are invited to request a free hard bound copy of THE ONCE AND FUTURE OCEAN by Peter Neill for library use. There is absolutely no charge to you or your institution. The grant covers costs of the book and shipping.


THE ONCE AND FUTURE OCEAN is grounded in actionable, specific ideas and solutions for preserving the health of the world ocean and our fresh water resources. It aspires to do nothing less than transform our relationship with the world’s most promising and imperiled natural element: the ocean and the inter-connected cycles of water, essential for all aspects of human survival. THE ONCE AND FUTURE OCEAN argues for invention and new solutions, for new answers to fundamental questions, and for a new relationship built around the ocean as a source for new modes of living that are within our grasp if we have the courage to take hold.

Peter Neill and the World Ocean Observatory are dedicated to increasing ocean literacy worldwide. THE ONCE AND FUTURE OCEAN provides essays and conversation topics to get you and your students thinking about and understanding the various ways that human beings affect the ocean, and small and large ways to change behaviors and attitudes to lead us toward a more sustainable future. The seven principles of Ocean Literacy are outlined in THE ONCE AND FUTURE OCEAN and Neill’s writing outlines actionable ideas for our ocean and fresh water future. Write to us today and request a copy for your school library.


Send an email to DIRECTOR@THEW2O.NET with the following information:

•    your name
•    your title
•    area of expertise
•    school name
•    school website
•    school phone
•    name of librarian
•    your contact email
•    librarian’s contact email
•    mailing address
•    may we add you to our monthly e-newsletter list?

Sharks and rays win new protections at global wildlife summit

Source: The Guardian


Devil rays swim slowly in groups, and are very easy to catch. Their gill plates have become popular as a supposed medicine in China. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Silky sharks, thresher sharks and devil rays all won new protections at a global wildlife summit late on Monday.

Sharks are the ocean’s top predators and play a vital role in many ecosystems but many species have been decimated by uncontrolled fishing, particularly the trade in fins which are used in soup in Asia.

The 182 nations of the Convention in the Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), meeting in Johannesburg, voted to put in place its first measures to control the trade in these species. The move, along with protections for five other sharks at the previous Cites summit in 2013, suggest the tide is turning for sharks.

About 100 million sharks are killed every year, driven by a $1bn annual trade, and only a fraction have had any protection. Many of the predators are now among the most threatened creatures on the planet. But the new action by Cites has doubled to 20% the proportion of sharks targeted by the fin trade that are now regulated.

All the species protected by Cites on Monday are slow to mature and produce only a small number of pups at a time, making them particularly vulnerable to overexploitation.

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‘Great Pacific garbage patch’ far bigger than imagined, aerial survey shows

Source: The Guardian


The vast patch of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean is far worse than previously thought, with an aerial survey finding a much larger mass of fishing nets, plastic containers and other discarded items than imagined.

A reconnaissance flight taken in a modified C-130 Hercules aircraft found a vast clump of mainly plastic waste at the northern edge of what is known as the “great Pacific garbage patch”, located between Hawaii and California.

The density of rubbish was several times higher than the Ocean Cleanup, a foundation part-funded by the Dutch government to rid the oceans of plastics, expected to find even at the heart of the patch, where most of the waste is concentrated.

“Normally when you do an aerial survey of dolphins or whales, you make a sighting and record it,” said Boyan Slat, the founder of the Ocean Cleanup.

“That was the plan for this survey. But then we opened the door and we saw the debris everywhere. Every half second you see something. So we had to take snapshots – it was impossible to record everything. It was bizarre to see that much garbage in what should be pristine ocean.”

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