Participants at the eighteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-18) focused on the topic, 'The effects of climate change on oceans'.
The meeting's two main segments addressed ‘The effects of climate change on oceans, including environmental, social and economic implications;’ and ‘Cooperation and coordination in addressing the effects of climate change on oceans – current actions and opportunities for further enhancement'.
19 May 2017: Participants at the eighteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-18) focused on two main segments: ‘The effects of climate change on oceans, including environmental, social and economic implications;’ and ‘Cooperation and coordination in addressing the effects of climate change on oceans – current actions and opportunities for further enhancement.’
ICP-18 brought together representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions to examine this year’s topic, ‘The effects of climate change on oceans.’ The meeting convened from 15-19 May 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York, the US, and resulted in a Co-Chairs’ Summary of Discussions.
On the effects of climate change, Ko Barrett, Vice-Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presented on findings from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and preparation for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Key points from AR5 included: human influence on the climate system is clear; the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts; and we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous sustainable future. Presentations further addressed, inter alia: ecosystem services and the work of the World Ocean Assessment; climate modeling and observation; and national responses to the effects of climate change on the ocean. During discussions, delegates raised issues relating to improving and strengthening climate and ocean research, knowledge sharing and transfer, climate modeling, scientific data and collaboration.
Panelists highlighted that data are a public good and called for a planet-wide collaboration to openly share and integrate available data.
On cooperation and coordination in addressing climate change’s effects on oceans, panelists highlighted that data are a public good and called for a planet-wide collaboration to openly share and integrate available data into global databases for analysis and modeling to create on-demand information for decision makers. Others supported a shift from curiosity or meteorologically-oriented systems to a focus on societal needs, such as fisheries, regional priorities, real-time events and ecosystem assessment.
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) indicated that it is proposing a decade of ocean science for sustainable development from 2021-2030 to support ‘The Future We Want.’ During discussions, panelists and delegates highlighted, inter alia: the issue of cooperation among international agencies such as the IOC, the regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and UN Environment’s (UNEP) Regional Seas programme; the potential for sharing best practices and lessons learned under the Regional Seas programme; and the importance of building capacity in marine research and observation at the regional level.
The Co-Chairs’ Summary provides an overview of ICP-18 discussions for each of the agenda items and highlights the general exchange of views and panel discussions, including text on the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and meeting the commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to address ocean issues. The Summary underlines the importance of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) with an emphasis placed on implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and entry into force of the Doha Amendment. The summary also includes text on addressing climate change and oceans under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, the SAMOA Pathway, the Aichi Targets and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), among other areas.
On issues that could benefit from attention in the future work of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on oceans and the law of the sea, the text reflects discussions on ways to address the links between climate change and oceans, including through the High-Level Political Forum and the SDGs. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [IISD RS Meeting Summary]