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/

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)

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

IISD Video on Oceans Action Day at COP 22 in Marrakech on November 12, 2016

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

As part of its reporting on Oceans Action Day, IISD Reporting Services and the Earth News Bulletin produced a short video describing the intent behind Oceans Action Day, and introducing some of the key actors, including Biliana Cincin-Sain and the Global Oceans Forum, which EUCC has been collaborating with since its inception in 2002.
 
More detailed analysis and a meeting report from Oceans Action Day, and a discussion of the outcomes of COP 22 for oceans and coasts will be available subsequently.

Photos from Successful Oceans Actions Day at COP 22 in Marrakech on November 12, 2016

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

The first Oceans Action Day convened on Saturday, 12 November 2016, on the margins of the twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP22).
IISD issued these photos and will subsequently be providing a meeting report. Please check http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cop22/oceans-action-day/ for further information and for the meeting report.

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The day began with Her Royal Highness (HRH) Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco, and His Serene Highness (HSH) Prince Albert II of Monaco providing opening remarks.
Princess Hasna outlined Morocco’s Blue Belt initiative to develop socio-economic activities from marine resources in coastal communities, aimed at increasing the resilience of coastal populations as well as promoting sustainable fishing activities,
Prince Albert highlighted UN initiatives that seek to protect marine areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The morning also featured a Plenary High-Level Showcase Segment with sessions on ‘Oceans and Climate: Solutions to the core issues (food security, mitigation, adaptation, building resilience)’; and ‘Oceans and Climate: Science Solutions.’
The showcase featured ministers, scientists, private sector representatives, and policy makers who elaborated on policies, action plans, initiatives and commitments to implement the Paris Agreement, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 14 (life below water) and work towards fulfilling their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The afternoon featured three dialogues: ‘Adaptation Challenges and Opportunities’; ‘Mitigation Actions and NDCs’; and ‘Access to Finance Building Capacity for the Blue Economy under Climate Change.’ The dialogues expanded on the initiatives, action plans, policies and commitments discussed in the morning. They also highlighted efforts with regard to providing financial support, capacity development and further steps towards including oceans.
Regional dialogues took place in parallel sessions in the evening.

International ocean governance: an agenda for the future of our oceans

shutterstock_425686657-copyright-aqua-images

On 10 November 2016, the European Commission and the EU’s High Representative set out a joint agenda for the future of our oceans, proposing 50 actions for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans in Europe and around the world.

A new agenda for the oceans

The Joint Communication on international ocean governance builds on a widely shared understanding that the ocean governance framework needs to be strengthened, that pressures on the oceans need to be reduced and that the world’s oceans must be used sustainably. It also stresses that a better understanding about the oceans is necessary to achieve these objectives.

The Joint Communication proposes ways the EU can step up and play a stronger role at global and regional level in shaping the way oceans are managed and used. It sets out detailed actions to shape international governance in three priority areas:

  1. Improving the international ocean governance framework;
  2. Reducing human pressures on the oceans and creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy;
  3. Strengthening international ocean research and data.

The Joint Communication is an integral part of the EU’s response to theUnited Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources’. It is based on the political mandate given to Commissioner Vella by President Juncker ‘to engage in shaping international ocean governance in the UN, in other multilateral fora and bilaterally with key global partners’.

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