Ocean Pathway Launched at COP 23
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The UN Climate Change Conference featured an 'Oceans Action Day' and the launch of the Ocean Pathway, an initiative of the UNFCCC COP23 Presidency.

The Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA) launched a report canvassing ocean-based solutions for climate change.

Finland, Honduras, Romania and the UK added their names to the ‘Because the Ocean’ Declaration, bringing the total number of signatories to 31.

17 November 2017: Reports and initiatives launched in conjunction with the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, drew attention to the links between oceans issues and achievement of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Conference featured an ‘Oceans Action Day,’ the launch of the Ocean Pathway, an initiative of the UNFCCC COP23 Presidency, an Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA) report canvassing ocean-based solutions for climate change, as well as additional signatories to the ‘Because the Ocean’ Declaration.’

Oceans Action Day, which took place on 11 November, highlighted progress on issues related to oceans and climate change, efforts undertaken by the ocean community, and lessons learned and best practices. Side events throughout the day addressed, inter alia: ocean-related science developments, including an update on the IPCC ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’; resilience of fisheries and aquaculture to climate change; blue carbon; accessing financial resources and mobilizing financial institutions; ecosystem-based adaptation in ocean and coastal zones; and risk reduction and preparedness related to migration and displacement.

Participants signed a declaration to strengthen the global response to climate change impacts on oceans and coastal zones. Oceans Action Day was organized by, inter alia, the: Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO); Global Ocean Forum; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO); International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and the Ocean and Climate Platform. [Oceans Action Day Events] [IISD RS Coverage of Oceans Day] [UNFCCC Press Release on Oceans Day] [Efforts on Oceans Announced at COP 23]

The Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA) presented its first-ever report titled, ‘Measuring Progress on Ocean and Climate Initiatives: An Action-Oriented Report,’ which: synthesizes ongoing actions led by the ocean-climate community; provides an overview of ocean-based solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation within the framework of the Global Climate Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and identifies the future role of OCIA in ensuring effective and multilateral cooperation. The Ocean & Climate Platform launched the OCIA in February 2017 to consolidate and coordinate actions linking ocean and climate, and to ensure a connection between the UNFCCC and voluntary actions globally. [OCIA Website] [Measuring Progress on Ocean and Climate Initiatives: An action-oriented report] [Ocean & Climate Platform]

The Ocean Pathway, an initiative of the COP23 Presidency, calls attention to the critical links between the ocean and climate change.

On 16 November, stakeholders launched the Ocean Pathway, an initiative of the COP23 Presidency, to call attention to the critical links between the ocean and climate change, and to present a strategy for including oceans in the UNFCCC process. The Pathway, inter alia: highlights the possibility of a UNFCCC agenda item and a work programme by 2019; aims to ensure inclusion of oceans in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); aims to create a window for the ocean within existing UNFCCC financial mechanisms to ensure climate change funding can support the adaptation work required for healthy oceans, and consider effective engagement in the Facilitative Dialogue.

Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Norway, Samoa, Sweden and other donor partners signed the Oceans Pathway, led by the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, Fiji’s permanent representative to the UN. Speaking at the launch, Thomson called for a “firm track” to ensure that oceans become part of the UNFCCC process over the next two years. Further, a working committee and a secretariat, based in Suva, Fiji, may be put in place to ensure the Pathway gains traction and has a higher chance of making the COP 25 agenda in 2019. [Ocean Pathway Strategy] [Ocean Pathway Events] [SPREP Press Release on the Pathway]

Finally, and also in conjunction with COP 23, Finland, Honduras, Romania and the UK added their names to the ‘Because the Ocean’ Declaration, bringing the total number of signatories to 31. The Declaration, which supports the inclusion of oceans in NDCs, was first signed in Paris, France during UNFCCC COP 21, with support from the Governments of Chile and France, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Global Ocean Commission, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDRRI) and Tara Expeditions. [IISD RS Coverage of the ‘Because the Ocean’ Declaration]


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