Preparatory Meeting (Feb 15-16, 2017, NYC) for the Ocean Conference: Our Oceans, Our Future (June 5-9, 2017, NYC)

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

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The Preparatory Meeting for the Ocean Conference: Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14)  (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development) convened at UN Headquarters in New York, from February 15 – 16, 2017.

Dr. Muir, on behalf of EUCC was registered to attend the Preparatory Meeting. Dr Muir will participate in subsequent consultations in March 2017, and will attend the Ocean Conference which will take place in New York in June 2017. EUCC was very involved in the development of the the Oceans Goal, and will continued to be involved in its implementation, particularly for Europe and adjacent coastal and marine regions.

In this Preparatory Meeting, longstanding interests of EUCC were considered such as oceans governance, marine conservation and sustainable development . New and newer issues of concern to EUCC such as climate, ocean acidification, the blue economy and marine renewable energy, sustainable coastal and marine tourism, and the impacts of plastics on oceans were also considered

Introduction to the Preparatory Meeting

The Preparatory Meeting considered the themes for seven partnership dialogues that will convene during the Ocean Conference, based on proposals contained in a background note prepared by the UN Secretary-General. At the end of the meeting, the co-facilitators indicated their intention to convey to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson that participants had expressed broad support for most of the themes, but suggested changing the theme that refers to international law to more closely reflect Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 14.c.

The meeting also included a lengthy exchange of views on elements for the “Call for Action” that will result from the June Conference. Before closing the meeting, the co-facilitators highlighted the importance of listening to each other at this early stage, and noted commonality among the highlighted elements, including the importance of a concise, action-oriented declaration that is easy to understand by the public and captures a common vision for action on SDG 14. The co-facilitators plan to produce a zero draft of the “Call for Action” by early March, and to convene consultations beginning on March 7,  2017.

The UN Secretary-General prepared a background note ahead of the preparatory meeting, including a proposal of themes for the
partnership dialogues. The note proposes seven themes for partnership dialogues for the conference, as follows:

Theme 1: Addressing marine pollution. This theme would address target 14.1.
Theme 2: Managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems. This theme would address targets 14.2 and 14.5.
Theme 3: Minimizing and addressing ocean acidification. This theme would address target 14.3.
Theme 4: Making fisheries sustainable. This theme would address targets 14.4 and 14.6.
Theme 5: Increasing economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets. This theme would address targets 14.7 and 14.b.
Theme 6: Increasing scientific knowledge, and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology. This theme would address target 14.a.
Theme 7: Implementing international law, as reflected in UNCLOS. This theme would address target 14.c. 

On February 15, 2017, the Preparatory Meeting for the Ocean Conference: Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of SDG 14 was opened by Co-Facilitator Àlvaro Mendonça e Moura, Permanent Representative of Portugal. Co-Facilitator Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore, highlighted the process’s strong foundation within the 2030 Agenda, stating a plan for successful implementation of SDG 14 should be concrete, action-oriented and could be built upon the Paris Agreement on climate
change. President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson noting the many registered observers and side events taking place during the meeting, and that countries, agencies and organizations everywhere were discussing the aims of SDG 14. Reporting that we dump one “garbage truck’s worth” of plastic into the ocean every minute, Mr Thomson highlighted the compilation of voluntary commitments that will result from the conference, which he said will represent humanity’s best efforts to implement SDG 14.

European Union and national contributions to the Preparatory Meeting  for the themes and proposed action plan  are highlighted below, with more complete notes provided below under Further Information. Following that there is a discussion of the outcome of the preparatory meeting, next steps, and subsequent oceans events in March and June 2017.
Discussion of  Conference Themes
Supporting the proposed themes, the European Union (EU) said cross-cutting themes need to be considered, including regional dimensions of implementing SDG 14, linkages with other SDG targets, UNCLOS, the role of oceans within climate change, and issues of governance and effectiveness. He suggested conducting a gap assessment in the lead-up to the dialogues, on the effectiveness of existing partnerships.

Supporting the proposed themes, Monaco noted that Theme 3 (“Minimizing and addressing ocean acidification. This theme would address target14.3.”) addresses ocean acidification, which she said is a result of climate change, and noted that neither SDG 14 nor the dialogue themes directly reference climate change.

The Netherlands stressed the need for the dialogues to address sustainable tourism and community outreach, particularly with coastal
communities. He said aquaculture should be included in either Theme 4 (“Making fisheries sustainable. This theme would address targets 14.4 and 14.6.”) or Theme 5 (SIDS, LDCs, small-scale artisanal fishers).

France stated that the thematic dialogues do not exhaust certain cross-cutting elements, including climate change and blue economy
activities, particularly aquaculture and sustainable tourism.

Noting that UNCLOS is the bedrock for implementing SDG 14, Morocco noted that a domestic law passed in June 2016 prohibits the
manufacturing of plastics, citing it as an example of implementing SDG 14.

Germany called for discussion on a number of cross-cutting issues, including: governance structures; the follow-up and review of
commitments; capacity building and financing. He asked whether these issues will be addressed by each of the dialogues, or if a dedicated dialogue is needed on cross-cutting issues.

Norway called for addressing cross-cutting issues such as capacity building and technology transfer, and noted that UNCLOS provides the legal framework for all ocean-related activities, including IUU fishing.

Italy said ocean-related problems are never only local or single-sector. He called for using the agreed language in the 2030 Agenda in the conference process, in support of those states that have already engaged in SDG 14 implementation activities.

Discussion of Call for Action

Noting that ocean problems are interrelated and must be considered as whole, the EU said the Call for Action should: be short, concise, with concrete actions; relate to SDG 14 and other relevant targets, while recognizing the integrity and indivisibility of the 2030 Agenda; and make use of integrative management and decision-making tools. He stressed that the declaration should urge Member States to honor commitments under the 2030 Agenda to swiftly conclude a WTO agreement on the prohibition of harmful fisheries subsidies and recognize the importance of a “well-managed” blue economy. He further supported the development of a new instrument under UNCLOS for sustainable use of the high seas outside national jurisdiction.

France said the Call for Action should mark the transition to a blue economy, which should be a maritime economy that takes into
consideration sustainable development, and address marine debris and plastic waste, among other issues.

Germany stressed the need to focus on strategic and procedural structures to address the who and how, rather than the what of
effective implementation. He said the Call for Action should address the governance of SDG 14, and proposed: establishing new partnerships for regional ocean governance; preparing a streamlined global assessment (thematic review) on oceans; and developing a systematic approach to follow up on commitments.

The Netherlands said all actions in the Call for Action should fall within UNCLOS, and reiterated the Convention’s universal character,
describing it as the strategic basis for all cooperation in the marine sector,  highlighteding: initiatives to address land-based sources of
marine pollution, especially plastics; reducing emissions from shipping; the value of regional cooperation among SIDS; and the role of regional efforts to manage marine and coastal ecosystems, such as the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR). He also: supported the call to account for gender; expressed support for actions that involve local coastal communities; called for building on existing partnerships, scaling up what is working, and boosting innovative ways to secure financing.

Norway said the Call for Action should reiterate the equal importance of all 17 SDGs, while noting the life-or-death stakes of ocean health. Plastics and micro-plastics will be a priority for Norway at the conference, he said. He added that the declaration must reflect that the multi-stakeholder approach is the conference’s real added value; and called for a focus on implementing existing legal frameworks, especially UNCLOS, and cautioned against re-litigating issues from other fora.

Iceland said the Call for Action should not renegotiate prior UN agreements or resolutions, as well as of the UN’s oceans-related departments, agencies and processes. He stressed the importance of capacity building, which includes the effective implementation of UNCLOS, and for which partnerships are needed.

Morocco supported UNCLOS as the universal legal framework, noted the indivisibility of all SDGs, and emphasized the need for scientific research, technology transfer, and capacity building in developing countries. He highlighted combating pollution as a priority.

The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission said the Baltic Sea Action Plan is aimed at achieving SDG 14, and contracting parties will meet in a High-Level Session on 28 February 2017 to discuss regional activities to implement the SDGs. Noting the importance of regional cooperation, OSPAR said the “Call for Action” should address joint activities.

The World Wildlife Fund, also for Conservation International, the Waitt Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Society, said the Call for Action must include a timeline for implementing SDG 14 by 2030 and reporting on commitments and partnerships to ensure accountability. She called for incentivizing the private sector to engage in delivery of
SDG 14. She said the Call for Action should be based on focal areas, including: build more resilient oceans to support human health and wellbeing, including through achieving Aichi Target 11; build a climate-resilient, carbon neutral economy; adopt a sustainable,
inclusive blue economy approach; implement integrated ocean planning and management; and secure additional financing.

Greece said the Call for Action should specifically reference climate change. He highlighted that, for some countries, the quality of the
marine environment is directly linked to economies and livelihoods.

Italy said MPAs are essential to achieving both the SDG 14 and Aichi Targets. On climate, he called for creating partnerships with research centers and linkages with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Belgium stressed the need to address land-based sources of marine pollution.

Iceland said the added value of the conference will be to bring together relevant stakeholders and foster partnerships that address ocean
challenges. He called for using scarce resources to invest in action, not special follow-up conferences, instead encouraging the use of
existing processes to follow up on commitments. He also called to: focus on implementing the Paris Agreement to combat ocean warming and acidification; avoid renegotiating the goals, targets or indicators of the SDGs; base the process on the modalities resolution, and avoid engaging in complex, delicate legal issues discussed elsewhere.

Monaco said Mars and the moon are better mapped than the oceans, and stressed the need for improved scientific research to combat climate change and ocean acidification, share marine research and data, and improve hydrology and marine mapping. She strongly supported the UNESCO-IOC initiative to create a decade of oceanography for sustainable development.

Germany described the conference as a “kick-off” to the implementation process, and said a clear follow-up and review process is required. He noted the crucial role of marine regions in the implementation process.

Outcome of Preparatory Meeting and Next Steps

At the end of the Preparatory Meeting, the facilitiators highlighted that the 2030 Agenda is seen as the overarching framework for the process, and  the purpose of the conference being to support implementation of SDG 14. Almost everyone had supported a Call for Action that is concise and action-oriented, as well as easy to understand by the public. Among other common elements cited were: balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development, the indivisible nature of the 17 SDGs; urgency due to the state of the oceans, as well as the shorter deadlines for some SDG 14 targets; the fundamental character of UNCLOS; and the need
to take account of countries in special situations. Meeting participants had offered very concrete ideas on challenges and
opportunities in the areas of marine pollution, ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries, MPAs, and blue economy. Monitoring, follow up and review were mentioned repeatedly, along with capacity building, marine technology transfer and finance, including through innovative financing mechanisms, as well as scientific knowledge, data collection, and data sharing.

The facilitators will prepare a zero draft of the Call for Action, using the preparatory meeting’s discussions as their base material. Consultations on the zero draft have been scheduled for 7, 9, 20 and 21 March 2017, and that the text should be circulated before the first consultation. Appreciating the determination and resolve to make the Ocean Conference a success anchored on action, voluntary commitments and partnerships, Ocean Conference Secretary-General Wu said the meeting had offered a timely platform to receive the views and perspectives of all stakeholders, and that the conference will be a game changer in reversing the decline of the health of oceans and seas, and in advancing the implementation of SDG 14.
This Preparatory Meeting for the UN Ocean Conference was  a stocktaking meeting,  allowing interested parties to exchange their views and listen to each other. In this way, the discussion alerted participants to each other’s positions, and set out some of the key points of divergence that will have to be worked out when consultations begin on the zero draft of the political declaration in early March 2017.

Based on the discussions heard in the two-day gathering, such points of divergence could include: whether to raise ambition or avoid renegotiating the targets of SDG 14; whether to hold recurring conferences on SDG 14 implementation, or rely on existing mechanisms for governance of ocean issues and the follow-up and review of commitments; how to characterize UNCLOS in relation to the implementation of SDG 14; and approaches to the means of implementation.

The issue to be resolved in the preparatory process going forward will be if the UN system’s various bodies that currently address ocean issues will move toward a more unified and harmonized system of global governance and whether this will include plans for a subsequent Ocean Conference to advance implementation of SDG 14. A majority of participants strongly supported UNCLOS as “the
legal framework upon which SDG 14 implementation is based, explaining that it provides the structure to address all ocean-related activities dealing with marine protection and conservation as defined in the SDG 14 targets. Morocco called UNCLOS the bedrock for implementing SDG 14,A general consensus had emerged on introducing changes to Theme 7, to more closely reflect what was agreed
in SDG target 14.c: enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as
reflected in UNCLOS.

Upcoming Events

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS IN PREPARATION FOR THE OCEAN CONFERENCE: The co-facilitators of the preparatory process for the Ocean Conference will hold informal consultations on the zero draft of the “Call for Action.”, Dates: 7, 9, 20 and 21 March 2017 at  UN Headquarters, New York.

HIGH-LEVEL UN CONFERENCE TO SUPPORT THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SDG 14: This high-level UN Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden, will coincide with the World Oceans Day, and seeks to support
the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).  Dates: 5-9 June 2017 at UN Headquarters, New York.

 

Further Information:


UN Oceans Conference website

https://oceanconference.un.org/

List of approved non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector and philanthropic organizations, including EUCC, at webpage  http://www.un.org/pga/71/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2015/08/8-Feb-approved-stakeholders-for-the-ocean-conference.pdf

UN Oceans Conference Documentation found at https://oceanconference.un.org/documentswith two documents highlighted below:

IISD Reporting on the Preparatory Meeting for the Oceans Conference at this weblink:  http://www.iisd.ca/oceans/sdg14conference/prep/

Cost of climate change grows steadily in Europe

Source: EurActiv

Extreme climate events cost Europe €400 billion between 1980 and 2013, a report by the European Environment Agency has found. And the cost is rising. EurActiv’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

“Climate change poses increasingly severe risks for ecosystems, human health and the economy in Europe,” the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) four-yearly report, published on Wednesday (25 January), stated.

Extreme climate events, such as flooding and heatwaves, are among the most obvious effects of climate change. According to the EEA, the combined cost of these episodes to 33 European countries reached €393 billion between 1980 and 2013.

The three worst-affected countries in absolute terms were Germany (€79bn), Italy (€60bn) and France (€53bn). In terms of GDP, extreme climate events caused the most damage in the Czech Republic over the 33-year period (0.24%), followed by Croatia (0.2%) and Hungary (0.18%). France’s losses between 1980 and 2013 were worth 0.9% of GDP.

Read more

COP 22 Final Outcomes and Decisions

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change, EUCC
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The Paris Agreement was a complete document that set out the overarching goals and framework for international climate action. But setting out the details is a longer process, which the countries participating in COP 22 have decided should be completed by 2018, with a review of progress in 2017. This timeline means that few of the loose ends left by the Paris Agreement were completely tied up in Marrakech. Instead, the process was one of defining the issues at stake and outlining what kind of documents and workshops will be needed to make sense of them by the 2018 deadline. The official outcomes of the COP were a collection of diverse documents. But some of the more substantial questions and discussions were captured in a series of “informal notes”.
COP 22 Outcomes
Finance : Finance is always controversial  with little progress. In effect, they agreed to continue discussing it. Countries were urged to continue scaling up their financial contributions towards the pre-agreed “$100bn a year by 2020” goal, and to achieve a greater balance between adaptation and mitigation. Some countries had hoped for stronger wording on this, since adaptation has long trailed mitigation, to the detriment of the most vulnerable countries.
 
Adaptation Fund-: The Adaptation Fund,  exists to serve the Kyoto Protocol (the deal struck in 1997 committing developed nations to emissions cuts up to 2020).Countries merely agreed to discuss the issue and hand in their views by 31 March 2017.
Facilitative Dialogue: The organisation of the 2018 facilitative dialogue  proved to be controversial. Countries agreed in Paris that they would convene in 2018 to take stock of how climate action was going so far — a discussion that is intended to inform the next round of national pledges, known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs. In Marrakech, it was decided that the presidents of COP22 and the forthcoming COP23 would consult with countries on the organisation of this dialogue and report back on their findings in a year’s time. Article 4 of the Paris Agreement deals with both the long-term net-zero emissions in the second half of the century” goal, as well as the need for NDCs to provide “clarity and transparency. A key theme of COP22 was debating how best to create a fair rulebook that all countries could share and have confidence in when assessing each other’s climate pledges. The technicalities of the rulebook – baselines, methodologies, etc – will be discussed in 2018.
Orphan issues:  The  orphans issues” of the Paris Agreement are tasks for which no one was assigned responsibility. They include issues, such as common timeframes for future climate pledges, and a new goal for climate finance.
 
Loss and damage Countries also approved a five-year workplan on “loss and damage”, which will start in 2017 and will see countries start to formally address topics such as slow-onset impacts of climate change, non-economic losses (for example, culture and identity) and migration. In other words, dealing with climate impacts that are beyond adaptation.
Other outcomes:The Marrakech Action Proclamation, issued by heads of state and government gathered at the COP, was widely seen as a reaffirmation of global commitment to the Paris Agreement. new fund to encourage transparency efforts was established and given a $50m injection of cash from countries including Australia, Canada and Germany. Forty seven  of the world’s poorest countries, which have grouped together as the Climate Vulnerable Forumcommitted to generating 100% of their energy from renewable sources as soon as possible. and to update their nationally determined contributions before 2020 and to prepare long-term strategies.
All COP 22 Documents and Decisions are listed on the UNFCCC website here http://unfccc.int/2860.php#auv 
Further information:
Decisions adopted by COP 22 and CMP 12 and CMA 1

COP 22 CMP 12 CMA 1
pdf-icon Preparations for entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (103 kB) pdf-icon Third review of the Adaptation Fund (98 kB) pdf-icon Matters relating to the implementation of the Paris Agreement (25 kB)
pdf-icon Paris Committee on Capacity-building (98 kB) pdf-icon Report of the Adaptation Fund Board (99 kB) pdf-icon Rules of procedure of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (83 kB)
pdf-icon Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (87 kB) pdf-icon Guidance relating to the clean development mechanism (109 kB)
pdf-icon Review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts(86 kB) pdf-icon Guidance on the implementation of Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol (92 kB)
pdf-icon Review and report of the Adaptation Committee (108 kB) pdf-icon Review of the joint implementation guidelines (18 kB)
pdf-icon Long-term climate finance(98 kB) pdf-icon Third comprehensive review of the implementation of the framework for capacity-building in developing countries under the Kyoto Protocol (91 kB)
pdf-icon Report of the Standing Committee on Finance (573 kB) pdf-icon Financial and budgetary matters (72 kB)
pdf-icon Terms of reference for the review of the functions of the Standing Committee on Finance (41 kB) pdf-icon Administrative, financial and institutional matters (300 kB)
pdf-icon Report of the Green Climate Fund to the Conference of the Parties and guidance to the Green Climate Fund (198 kB)
pdf-icon Report of the Global Environment Facility to the Conference of the Parties and guidance to the Global Environment Facility (103 kB)
pdf-icon Sixth Review of the Financial Mechanism (103 kB)
pdf-icon Initiation of a process to identify the information to be provided by Parties in accordance with Article 9, paragraph 5, of the Paris Agreement (20 kB)
pdf-icon Enhancing climate technology development and transfer through the Technology Mechanism (125 kB)
pdf-icon Linkages between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the Convention (126 kB)
pdf-icon Improving the effectiveness of the Doha work programme on Article 6 of the Convention (31 kB)
pdf-icon Outcome of the first round of the international assessment and review process (2014-2015) (72 kB)
pdf-icon Third comprehensive review of the implementation of the framework for capacity-building in developing countries under the Convention (95 kB)
pdf-icon Implementation of the global observing system for climate (85 kB)
pdf-icon Work of the Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (78 kB)
pdf-icon Gender and Climate Change (98 kB)
pdf-icon Rules of procedure of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (86 kB)
pdf-icon Financial and budgetary matters (81 kB)
pdf-icon Administrative, financial and institutional matters (167 kB)
pdf-icon Dates and venues for future sessions (22 kB)
pdf-icon National Adaptation Plans(105 kB)
Resolution adopted by COP 22, CMP 12 and CMA 1
pdf-icon Expression of gratitude to the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco and the people of the city of Marrakech (18 kB)

COP 22 Announcement of UN Conference for Sustainable Development Goal s Goal 14 for Oceans (June 5 to 9, 2017, NYC)

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A very significant event for oceans occurred on November 15, 2016. On that day, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Fiji, the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and UN Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs held a press conference at COP 22 on the upcoming 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, which will take place at the UN in New York from 5-9 June 2017.
Speakers at the UN COP 22 press conference are listed below, which is also available as a video stream here:

http://unfccc.cloud.streamworld.de/embed/oceans-conference

H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson | President of the United Nations General Assembly
H.E. Mr. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama | Prime Minister of Fiji & Co-Chair of the conference
H.E. Ms. Isabella Lovin | Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden & Co-Chair for the conference
H.E. Mr. Wu Hongbo | Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the conference

The high-level 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 will be convened in New York will be co-hosted by the Governments of Fiji and Sweden.
EUCC was very involved in the negotiation of the SDG Goal 14 for oceans, and will participate in this conference and preliminary events, which are designed to “kick-start” and support the implementation of this very important goal.
The Conference shall:
Identify ways and means to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14;
Build on existing successful partnerships and stimulate innovative and concrete new partnerships to advance the implementation of Goal 14;
Involve all relevant stakeholders, bringing together Governments, the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors to assess challenges and opportunities relating to, as well as actions taken towards, the implementation of Goal 14;
Share the experiences gained at the national, regional and international levels in the implementation of Goal 14;
Contribute to the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by providing an input to the high-level political forum on sustainable development, in accordance with resolutions 67/290 of 9 July 2013, 70/1 of 25 September 2015 and 70/299 of 29 July 2016, on the implementation of Goal 14, including on opportunities to strengthen progress in the future;
The Conference shall comprise plenary meetings, partnership dialogues and a special event commemorating World Oceans Day.

The Conference shall adopt by consensus a concise, focused, intergovernmentally agreed declaration in the form of a “Call for Action” to support the implementation of Goal 14 and a report containing the co-chairs’ summaries of the partnership dialogues, as well as a list of voluntary commitments for the implementation of Goal 14, to be announced at the Conference.
The President of the General Assembly will convene a two-day preparatory meeting, on 15-16 February 2017, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, to be chaired by H.E. Mr. Alvaro Mendonya Moura, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN, and H.E. Mr. Burhan Gafoor, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN, the two co-facilitators, with a view to considering the themes for the partnership dialogues and elements for a “Call for Action”.
Further information:
UN Press Conference Video
http://unfccc.cloud.streamworld.de/webcast/oceans-conference
UN COP 22 Media advisory:
http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2016/11/media-advisory-briefing-at-cop22-on-upcoming-un-oceans-conference/
UN Conference for Sustainable Development Goal s Goal 14 for Oceans website:
https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/oceans/SDG14Conference
DOCUMENTS
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]
Letters
Letter from President of the General Assembly on appointing the co-facilitators, PRs of Portugal and Singapore, to oversee the preparatory process of the SDG 14 Conference (24 October 2016)
Letter from President of the General Assembly to all Permanent Representatives and Permanent Observers to the UN to convene a preparatory meeting on 15 and 16 February 2017 (3 November 2016)

COP 22 Video Presentations on Ocean Acidification, Ocean De-Oxygenation and the Melting Arctic Ocean

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

Videos are being posted Youtube for oceans panels presentation at COP 22. Three oceans issues at that are being highlighted are the ocean acidification, ocean de-oxygenation, and the melting Arctic ice and warming oceans.

COP-22: Ocean Acidification: Building Scientific & Political Capacity

he United States is leading efforts around the world to expand capacity for scientists in developing countries to measure ocean acidification (caused by rising CO2 in the atmosphere) and track its impacts such as erosion of coral reefs or loss of bivalve fisheries. The effect of high CO2 on the oceans is a major reason why the UNFCCC is focusing on figuring out how to reduce temperature increases from 2° to 1.5° C. Several workshops have been held in the past year under auspices of the Global Ocean Acidification (OA) Observing Network to expand participation from African countries. This event will showcase those activities with testimonials from African scientists from Egypt, Namibia and South Africa about the importance of this work for building resilience to ocean acidification in the developing world. The event will end with a call to support an international political alliance focused on OA resilience issued by the U.S. Pacific Coast Collaborative. The international political alliance is teaming with the Global OA Observing Network to leverage political influence to expand resources for this important effort.

COP-22: Ocean Deoxygenation: The Climate Impact We Aren’t Considering

The ocean is losing oxygen due to climate change in a process known as ocean deoxygenation. Although oxygen levels fundamentally structure marine ecosystems and influence fish behavior, abundance, and diversity, this impact is rarely mentioned. In fact, only one INDC mentions ocean oxygen loss as part of its climate adaptation strategy, leaving fisheries of other countries vulnerable to these unaccounted for impacts. This talk will explain how climate change affects ocean oxygen levels, how changes in oxygen influence marine communities and fisheries, and what steps countries should be taking to monitor oxygen loss along their coastlines.

COP-22: The Melting Arctic: A Glimpse into the Future of Global Climate Change

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate as the global average with profound consequences for the region and communities all over the world. This multi-media event will explain the most recent scientific understanding of climate change impacts in the Arctic, and extrapolate from the Arctic example the scientific and policy challenges that are on the horizon for the rest of the world. Speakers from the scientific and policy communities will also highlight the actions that are being taken to slow the pace of warming and respond to climate change.

Each speaker will present for 10 minutes followed by a moderated Q&A. Dr. Stephen Vavrus will discuss current scientific research on climate change and the Arctic, including the role of arctic climate change on worldwide weather and weather extremes. Deputy Special Envoy Karen Florini will provide an overview of U.S. efforts domestically and through the Arctic Council to drive down emissions of super pollutants, expand access to renewable energy, and enable communities to better prepare for and respond to climate impacts in the Arctic. Using the NASA hyperwall to show powerful visualizations of Arctic changes and NASA’s ground-breaking research, NASA scientist Dr. John Reager will explain the science behind a changing Arctic, the relationship with extra-Arctic impacts and gaps in the science that require further study. Finally, Dr. David Weindorf will preview his feature length documentary, “Between Earth and Sky,” a film that explores the influence of climate change in Alaska.

Oceans Action Day at COP 22 – Extracts of IISD Summary Report

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate and Global Change, EUCC
 
This is an abbreviated summary of the IISD Oceans Action Day report located on the web here: http://www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/sd/enbplus186num8e.pdf
There were over 450 participants from governments, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, and civil society. 
Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasna, Kingdom of Morocco, opened Oceans Action Day at UNFCCC COP22, highlighting Morocco’s Blue Belt initiative, to develop socio-economic activities from marine resources in coastal communities in Morocco. She noted the social, economic and cultural importance of oceans to Morocco and outlined several initiatives to preserve the services provided by oceans to local communities.
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco highlighted the UN initiatives that seek to protect marine areas beyond national jurisdiction. He underscored that oceans need to be decarbonized and protected from rising temperatures. He underlined challenges such as: understanding oceans’ complexity; ocean acidification and pollution; insuring blue growth; and recognizing oceans’ role in saving our climate and planet. 
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Morocco, explained that global terrestrial systems’ resilience cannot be solved without considering oceans. He cautioned that fisheries management is based on data from research supported by government funds that often have interests in maximizing sustainable yield.
Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea, France, explained that the protection of seas presents a potential for blue growth to address the food and health challenges currently being faced. She advocated for oceans to be recognized as a common heritage to humanity. She explained that France’s extensive marine territory around the planet means France has duties, as opposed to rights in terms of responsible marine resource conservation and stewardship.
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner on Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, highlighted actions necessary to reinforce international ocean governance such as: ensuring strong rules that all countries must play by; international rules to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans; and the EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure.
Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General, FAO, underscored the importance of including not just green, but also blue economy goals and explained that the fisheries sector generates larger revenues than many other terrestrial sectors combined.
PLENARY HIGH-LEVEL SHOWCASE SEGMENT
OCEANS AND CLIMATE: SOLUTIONS TO THE CORE ISSUES PART I: This session was moderated by Manuel Barange, Director, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, who explained that the impacts of climate change will impact fishing communities differently, given that some communities are more dependent on fish resources than others.
Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State, US, noting that oceans could be reaching a tipping point, explained that climate change is already pushing some fish populations to migrate towards cooler waters. She drew attention to the Obama Administration’s contributions to global efforts to protect oceans including the “Our Ocean” movement, which she explained has helped secure the protection of an ocean area corresponding nearly to the size of continental Africa in three years.
Laura Tuck, World Bank, drew attention to World Bank initiatives such as: developing a blue economy development framework for developing countries; promoting climate resilience in coastal management; and mainstreaming natural resources in development planning and national economic accounts through the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) global partnership.
Premdut Koonjoo, Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mauritius, stated that climate change is a threat multiplier for the marine environment and underscored the need to mobilize both the private and public sectors to meet the demands ahead. He urged using public resources to mobilize private resources and develop fit-for-purpose financial mechanisms.
Greg Stone, Conservation International, for Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati, opened saying to solve the climate problem oceans have to be part of the solution  He noted that when mainstreaming oceans into the climate agenda, all stakeholders should be involved, including Indigenous Peoples whom he explained, have a deep knowledge of the ocean that provides a critical understanding of how the world works.
OCEANS AND CLIMATE: SOLUTIONS TO THE CORE ISSUES PART II: This session was moderated by Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, Global Ocean Forum. She queried how to move the oceans agenda forward, and called attention to the Strategic Action Roadmap on Oceans and Climate 2016-2021, which presents a guide to action on mitigation, adaptation, displacement, financing, and capacity development related to oceans, for implementation in the next 5 years.
Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues, Seychelles, provided an overview of innovative initiatives that Seychelles is pursuing to address climate change in the context of oceans, including: a debt for adaptation swap, whereby national debt is purchased in exchange for converting 30% of the exclusive economic zone into a marine protected areas; and discussions with the World Bank and the African Development Bank to develop blue bonds, which will be passed on to the fishing sector as sustainable loans.
Oumar Gueye, Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy, Senegal, called for understanding the role oceans play in providing essential resources for food, climate, transportation, livelihoods. Describing a number of domestic measures to conserve ocean resources, he underscored the need for global decisions on issues such as IUU fishing.
Abdelmalek Faraj, Director, Institut National de Recherche Halieutique, Morocco, presented the Moroccan Blue Belt initiative, which supports national and regional strategies for the management and governance of oceans, is inclusive and complementary, and aims to contribute to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
OCEANS AND CLIMATE: SCIENCE SOLUTIONS: This session was moderated by Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission-UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization who called for developing an assessment of the value of oceans to humankind.
Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair, IPCC Working Group II, stated that the role of science is to reduce uncertainties and lamented that thus far there has been a degree of societal inertia and inaction to address issues highlighted by science.
Christopher Fox, Director of Special Projects, Ceres, described the work of his organization to encourage the investment community to incorporate long-term environmental and social risks into their decision-making, and that climate messages should be translated into language that the private sector can understand.
Achmad Poernomo, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, underscored the importance of involving local communities to build climate resilience and adaptive capacity, and stressed the need to make use of community perspectives.
Françoise Gail, Ocean and Climate Platform, underscored that marine assessments should include a climate component and stated a need to move from science to policy.
DIALOGUE OCEANS
SEGMENT 1: ADAPTATION CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES: This session was moderated by Jacqueline McGlade, UN Environment Programme (Ui Palau, said Palau has embarked on a number of  efforts to protect the marine environment, including creating a marine protected area network and collaborating on ocean acidification issues.
Kathy Baughman McLeod, The Nature Conservancy, stated that nature reduces risk cost-effectively. She highlighted the importance of quantifying and assessing natural systems and how they contribute to reducing climate risk.
Dina Ionesco, International Organization for Migration said climate migration is increasingly being recognized as a key global issue, citing ocean protection as central to addressing these issues.
Sylvie Goyet, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, said the Pacific region looks at mitigation and adaptation as a single issue and underscored that a transformational development path is needed.
Marco Ruiz, Ministry of Environment, Peru noted efforts in this sector involve increasing the adaptability of fishermen, and reducing their vulnerability.
SEGMENT 2: MITIGATION ACTIONS AND NDCS: This session was moderated by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Sustainable Energy for All, who outlined initiatives promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in Small Island Developing States.
Amb. Waldemar Coutts, Director for Environmental and Ocean Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile, said that Chile believes MPAs are vital to restoring fisheries, with key attributes including, inter alia: a no-take policy; management plans; permanence; surveillance measures; and allowing an important role for communities.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF, stressed that the climate change agenda should focus on ethics, solidarity and connectedness, and noted that oceans are not beholden by national borders.
Raffael Jovine, Founder and Chief Scientist of Algae Ltd., outlined his company’s efforts in producing algae at scale, to contribute to, among others, animal feed; and said that employing ocean systems for biomass production creates employment which could have important impacts on the climate agenda
 Dorothee Herr, Manager, Oceans and Climate, IUCN, said coastal ecosystems are important for storing and sequestering carbon. She highlighted the Blue Carbon Initiative, which aims to mitigate climate change through the restoration and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems, noting an increasing interest from governments.
Edmund Hughes, International Maritime Organization outlined efforts including the Ballast Water Management Convention and a roadmap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
Eric Banel, General Secretary, French Shipowners’ Association, said that shipping can be a part of the climate solution.
Najlaa Diouri, Tanger Med Port, said that ships require infrastructure to decrease sea pollution. She remarked on the construction of infrastructure to minimize pollution in the port, and said that this is a successful example of a public-private partnership.
SEGMENT 3: ACCESS TO FINANCE AND BUILDING CAPACITY FOR THE BLUE ECONOMY UNDER CLIMATE CHANGE: This session was moderated by Tiago Pitta e Cunha, CEO, Oceano Azul Foundation, Portugal, who noted that the blue economy must be a leading part of the world’s movement toward low-carbon economy.
Hiroshi Terashima, Ocean Policy Research Institute, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan, advocated for adopting a concrete action plan and roadmap for adaptation and mitigation that is inclusive of oceans and islands. He said high-level political leaders with a firm understanding of the importance of oceans must show leadership in the drafting and implementation of NDCs.
Stressing the need to raise awareness on the consequences of climate change, Hrund Hafsteinsdóttir, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Iceland, underscored the need to create synergies that include the whole blue economy, in cooperation with key partners, like the World Bank and FAO.
Angus Friday, Ambassador of Grenada to the US, discussed financing and capacity building from an innovation perspective, highlighting debt financial swaps to direct debt repayments towards conservation, blue bonds, blue insurance and crowd funding for the blue economy.
SUMMARY AND CLOSURE
This session was moderated by Biliana Cicin-Sain, and Manuel Barange, FAO.  Dessima Williams, Special Adviser on Implementation of the SDGs to Ambassador Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, stressed the need to maintain the level of political will, capacity building, financing, stakeholder engagement and solution-based approaches. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility noted important work on oceans already in progress, including the GEF’s assistance to the Seychelles in their issuance of a blue bond, and drew attention to the Global Commons Initiative, which is a multi-stakeholder initiative to safeguard the Earth’s overstretched resources.

Pavilion of France “Because the Ocean Declaration” at COP 22

By Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Climate and Global Change, EUCC
 
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The Pavillion of France meeting welcomed the commitments of the second “Because the Oceans” Declaration. His Serene Highness (HSH) Prince Albert II of Monaco noted progress made since the first Oceans Declaration at COP 21 in Paris France, and invited new countries to sign the second “Because the Oceans” Declaration because the consequences of damages to the oceans will be felt worldwide. Tommy Remengesau, President of Palau, highlighted the need for partnerships to protect oceans, and invited more countries to sign the second “Because the Oceans” Declaration. 
 
Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands, underscored the need to synergize actions and find solutions to enable low-lying and island countries to live in their lands. Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia, noted the importance of coral reefs for protecting coastlines and generating income. Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, invited all countries to participate in the high-level UN Conference on Oceans and Seas to be held in June 2017 to discuss climate impacts on oceans and how to achieve SDG 14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development).
 
Anote Tong, Conservation International, hoped for an instrument similar to REDD+ to protect oceans. Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, said developing countries need help to implement the Paris Agreement and to coordinate efforts on fisheries management. Edgar Gutierrez, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica, underscored that marine resources are important for advancing our common goal to preserve ecosystems and livelihoods. Didier Dogley, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Seychelles, noted the challenges climate change poses to the environment and people’s survival. 
Paula Bennett, Minister of Climate Change Issues, New Zealand, said that oceans are crucial for our livelihoods, and outlined her country’s actions to protect oceans. 
 
Catherine Stewart, Ministry of Environment, Canada, underlined the importance of oceans and their management. Pablo Saavedra, Secretary of State for the Environment, Spain, noted the importance of ocean sustainable development and said the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report will increase our knowledge on oceans and climate change.María Amparo Martínez Arroyo, General Director of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, Mexico, noted the need to undertake more concrete actions at all levels to link all UN conventions and all goals to save our oceans. 
 
Ramatoulaye Dieng, Secretary General, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal, stressed the need to mainstream ocean actions to face climate change challenges. Achmad Poernomo, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, underscored the importance of international cooperation to reach climate justice. Carlos Rafael Polo Castaneda, Ambassador of Peru to Morocco, noted the importance of oceans for Peru’s livelihoods. Françoise Gaill, National Centre for Scientific Research, France, noted the need to act to preserve oceans, which are part of the climate change solution. Heraldo Munoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, noted progress in inserting oceans in UNFCCC negotiations since 2015.
More information:



Because of the Oceans Declaration webpage

http://www.iddri.org/Themes/Oceans-et-zones-cotieres/Because-the-Ocean-Declaration-sur-le-Climat-et-les-Oceans