Workshop Explores Climate-Ocean Linkages Ahead of Third Our Ocean Conference
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On the eve of the opening of the Third Our Ocean Conference, the Division of Environment and Oceanic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and the National Geographic Society organized a workshop to consider the theme, "Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?”

oceans_paris_agreement14 September 2016: On the eve of the opening of the Third Our Ocean Conference, the Division of Environment and Oceanic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and the National Geographic Society organized a workshop to consider the theme, “Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?” The workshop took place at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September, immediately prior to the Third Our Ocean Conference, which is also convening in Washington, DC, from 15-16 September.

Participants focused on how to build on the momentum generated with the “Because the Ocean” initiative that was announced during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which concluded with the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The workshop brought together the ocean and climate communities, including representatives from governments, climate change negotiators, scientists and civil society, to identify challenges related to including the ocean in the UNFCCC agenda and to develop an action plan for addressing ocean-related issues through the climate action to take place under the Paris Agreement.

Participants also discussed linkages with Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water), with Jan Olsson, Ambassador for the Environment and Oceans, Sweden, briefing participants on preparations for the UN High-Level Conference on SDG 14 to be held in June 2017 in New York. He said: the science on climate change and the ocean is understood well enough to act now; action on climate change is necessary to save the ocean; and the high level conference “is an opportunity not to be missed to create a thorough overview of the totality of actions being taken and actions needed to meet our obligations under SDG 14.”

Roundtable discussions considered whether climate change impacts on the ocean should raise the level of climate action ambition, how the ocean could be included in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and the way forward. Participants noted the value of further scientific research and discussions with policy makers regarding the implications of climate-related impacts on the ocean. Opportunities to spur action to address these linkages through the Paris Agreement, such as its provisions for NDCs and for a global stocktake and facilitative dialogue to take place in 2018, were also discussed. In closing the workshop, Heraldo Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile, said the workshop provided a contribution to achieving the third and final goal of the “Because the Ocean Declaration,” which was to establish a work plan on the ocean under the UNFCCC. He also said the workshop discussions could provide the basis for a second declaration. [IISD RS Coverage of the Ocean-Climate Workshop]

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