23 November 2023
Regional Forum Navigates Sustainability in Western Indian Ocean and Beyond
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bishop in Unsplash
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Participants discussed the urgent need to collectively address climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution as interconnected environmental emergencies.

They acknowledged the potential for economic growth and underscored the importance of sustainability, equity, and inclusivity in the blue economy.

Discussions underscored the relevance of: the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework; the ongoing talks to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment; the high seas treaty; and deep-sea mining negotiations underway in the International Seabed Authority.

The Marine Regions Forum 2023 has yielded insights and outcomes for robust and collaborative ocean governance in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) and beyond to tackle the triple planetary crisis, foster a sustainable blue economy, implement global goals at the regional level, and support regional ocean governance.

Meeting under the theme, ‘Navigating Ocean Sustainability in the WIO and Beyond,’ the conference served as an interactive platform for active and open engagement among stakeholders from the WIO and other regions to share knowledge and exchange best practices on ways of enhancing cooperation and coordination to advance ocean governance.

As the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting notes, plenary sessions and dialogue workshops reflected on the meeting’s four “topical strands,” brought together by the daily themes of Inclusivity, Innovation, and Implementation.

On Tackling the triple planetary crisis, participants discussed the urgent need to collectively address climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution as interconnected environmental emergencies. They highlighted, among other aspects:

  • the accelerated rate of warming of the WIO, with an emphasis on the impacts on marine species, ecosystems, and potential food webs;
  • the potential of a circular economy to tackle marine plastics, and the need to involve the plastics industry in combating plastic pollution;
  • nature-based solutions (NbS), such as constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment; and
  • the need for specific guidance on adapting the blue economy in the face of climate change.

On Fostering a sustainable blue economy, delegates acknowledged the potential for economic growth and underscored the importance of sustainability, equity, and inclusivity in the blue economy. They highlighted the need for, inter alia, responsible ocean resource utilization while protecting vital ecosystems, and international cooperation mechanisms, such as the WIO Symphony.

Discussions on Implementing global goals at the regional level underscored the relevance of: the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF); the ongoing talks to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment; the high seas treaty; and deep-sea mining negotiations underway in the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

The Regional ocean governance strand delved into the roles of diverse entities in WIO governance, with an emphasis on the development of the Nairobi Convention’s Regional Ocean Governance Strategy (ROGS). Participants discussed institutional setups, financing mechanisms, and lessons learned from the ROGS process.

Organized jointly by the Research Institute for Sustainability – Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (RIFS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), and TMG – ThinkTank for Sustainability and its regional partners, the Marine Regions Forum 2023 convened from 7-9 November 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The conference was hosted by Tanzania and Seychelles and co-funded by the EU, the Swedish Ministry for Climate and Enterprise, and the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, with support from the Nairobi Convention Secretariat. [ENB Coverage of Marine Regions Forum 2023] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Marine Regions Forum 2019]


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