UN Oceans Conference in New York City from June 5 to 9, the Oceans Call to Action, and EUCC-Supported Side Event

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Global and Climate Change, EUCC

Given the importance of oceans to the global climate and the degree to which oceans are affected by climate changes, it is somewhat disheartening to have the UN Oceans Conference in New York City, immediately after the US has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Convention. This withdrawal and means to continue to respond to climate impacts on oceans will be front and center in the discussions in New York City in the coming week. Further reporting will also be provided during the coming week.

The UN Global Oceans Conference  will be highly attended (about 5000 participant) and first UN oceans conference which will raise the profile of oceans and focus on their sustainability internationally. The degree of participation and important of this event for the overall UN is discussed in the June 1, 2017 press conference:
http://webtv.un.org/watch/peter-thomson-general-assembly-president-and-wu-hongbo-desa-on-previewing-the-world-ocean-conference-5-9-june-2017-un-headquarters-press-conference-1-june-2017/5456057145001

The Call to Action
After three rounds of prior intergovernmental  discussions concluding on May 26, 2017, the draft Call for Action is the text of a concise, focused, intergovernmentally agreed declaration to be submitted to the Ocean Conference for discussion, revision, and formal adoption.
The text of the call for action is included  as a pdf here: 15259Final_Draft_Call_for_Action_PGA_Letter

Key areas in the Call to Action have  been of longstanding efforts for EUCC in Europe and internationally including climate change, sustainable fisheries and plastics. Some extracts from this call to action are provided below:

Climate change
4. We are particularly alarmed by the adverse impacts of climate change on the ocean, including the rise in ocean temperatures, ocean and coastal acidification, deoxygenation, sea-level rise, the decrease in polar ice coverage, coastal erosion and extreme weather events. We acknowledge the need to address the adverse impacts that impair the crucial ability of the ocean to act as climate regulator, source of marine biodiversity, and as key provider of food and nutrition, tourism and ecosystem services, and as an engine for sustainable economic development and growth. We recognise, in this regard, the particular importance of the Paris Agreement adopted under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change

Scientific information and assessment
10. We stress the importance of enhancing understanding of the health and role of our ocean and the stressors on its ecosystems, including through assessments on the state of the ocean, based on science and on traditional knowledge systems. We also stress the need to further increase marine scientific research to inform and support decision-making, and to promote knowledge hubs and networks to enhance the sharing of scientific data, best practices and know-how.

 Role of international agreements and conventions
11. We emphasise that our actions to implement Goal 14 should be in accordance with, reinforce and not duplicate or undermine, existing legal instruments, arrangements, processes, mechanisms or entities. We affirm the need to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want.

Development of cooperative activities including climate, fisheries and plastics
13 (i) Implement long-term and robust strategies to reduce the use of plastics and microplastics, pmticularly plastic bags and single use plastics, including by partnering with stakeholders at relevant levels to address their production, marketing and use.
13 (k) Develop and implement effective adaptation and mitigation measures that contribute to increasing and supporting resilience to ocean and coastal acidification, sea-level rise, and increase in ocean temperatures, and to addressing the other harmful impacts of climate change on the ocean as well as coastal and blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes, seagrass, and coral reefs, and wider interconnected ecosystems impacting on our ocean, and ensure the implementation of relevant obligations and commitments.
13 (I) Enhance sustainable fisheries management, including to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics, through the implementation of science-based management measures, monitoring, control and enforcement, supporting the consumption of fish sourced from sustainably managed fisheries, and through precautionary and ecosystem approaches as appropriate, as well as strengthening cooperation and coordination, including through, as appropriate, regional fisheries management organisations, bodies and arrangements.
13 (m) End destructive fishing practices and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, addressing their root causes and holding actors and beneficiaries accountable by taking appropriate actions, so as to deprive them of benefits of such activities, and effectively implementing flag State obligations as well as relevant port State obligations.
13 (n) Accelerate further work and strengthen cooperation and coordination on the development of interoperable catch documentation schemes and traceability of fish products. (o) Strengthen capacity building and technical assistance provided to small-scale and artisanal fishers in developing countries, to enable and enhance their access to marine resources and markets and improve the socio-economic situation of fishers and fish workers within the context of sustainable fisheries management.
13 (p) Act decisively to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, including through accelerating work to complete negotiations at the World Trade Organization on this issue, recognising that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of those negotiations.

In addition to the main conference, there are many formal and informal side events. EUCC has had a longstanding cooperation with the Global Oceans Forum and supports their side event on June 8, 2017:

EUCC-Supported Side Event

The Global Ocean Forum, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the Government of Grenada, the Government of Seychelles, the Oceano Azul Foundation, Portugal, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Ocean Policy Research Institute, Japan, it is a pleasure to invite you to participate in our Side Event on Addressing Oceans and Climate and Building the Blue Economy: Essential to SDG 14 Implementation to be held on June 8, 6:15 to 7:30 PM, Conference Room 1, and to participate in the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action. The brochure for the side event is attached below.

Further Information

Final Draft of Call for Action  https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/15259Final_Draft_Call_for_Action_PGA_Letter.pdf
UN Global Oceans Conference https://oceanconference.un.org/
Global Ocean Forum http://www.globaloceanforum.com
Brochure for EUCC Supported Side Event found here: JUNE 8 SIDE EVENT OCEANS AND CLIMATE AND BLUE ECONOMY
UN Press Conference on June 1, 2017 http://webtv.un.org/watch/peter-thomson-general-assembly-president-and-wu-hongbo-desa-on-previewing-the-world-ocean-conference-5-9-june-2017-un-headquarters-press-conference-1-june-2017/5456057145001

Other Relevant Documentation

Resolutions and decisions
A/RES/70/226 – United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish]
A/RES/70/303 – Modalities for the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish]
Secretary-General Reports
Background note of the Secretary-General for the preparatory process of the United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish]
Provisional agenda
Provisional agenda 
[Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish]
Concept papers for the partnership dialogues
Concept Paper on Partnership dialogue 1: Addressing marine pollution (Advance unedited version)
Concept Paper on Partnership dialogue 2: Managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems (Advance unedited version)
Concept Paper on Partnership dialogue 3: Minimizing and addressing ocean acidification (Advance unedited version)
Concept Paper on Partnership dialogue 4: Making fisheries sustainable (Advance unedited version)
Concept Paper on Partnership dialogue 5: Increasing economic benefits to small islands developing States and least developed countries and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets (Advance unedited version)
Concept Paper on Partnership dialogue 6: Increasing scientific knowledge, and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology (Advance unedited version)
Concept Paper on Partnership dialogue 7: Enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Advance unedited version)
Programme
Draft Programme of the Partnership Dialogues

Other documents
Briefing on the United Nations high-level oceans conference 2017: The trade and development perspective (16 Jan 2017)
Concept papers for partnership dialogues
Guidance note on Voluntary Commitments for SDG 14 and The Ocean Conference
Guidance Note Partnership Dialogues
Informal briefing by the President of the General Assembly on the ongoing preparations for the Ocean Conference (13 Dec 2016)

Inputs to the SG background note
DESA – Chapter 3. The Oceans, Seas, Marine Resources and Human Well-being Nexus
DESA – TST Issues Brief: Oceans and Seas
DESA – Mapping the linkages between oceans and other Sustainable Development Goals: A preliminary exploration
DESA – How oceans- and seas-related measures contribute to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: Local and regional experiences

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