November 13, 2018

IOC-UNESCO Project Aims to Address Research Gaps on Climate Impacts on Oceans, Food Security

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Catherine Benson Wahlén

21 September 2018: Participants identified knowledge gaps related to oceans and climate change at a kickoff meeting for the third phase of a project on enhancing oceanography capacities in West Africa. The project’s third phase is expected to contribute to SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 13 (climate action) and indirectly to SDG 2 (zero hunger).

The project titled, ‘Enhancing Oceanography Capacities in the Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME) Western Africa Countries,’ began in 2013. In its second phase, the project developed the CCLME Eco-GIS viewer to support researchers in creating and sharing data products at a regional scale, including data on sea surface temperature and upswelling. The project has now entered its third phase.

Changes in CCLME productivity would have a direct impact on food security and national economies in West African countries.

The third phase of the project will work to address challenges for data collection and analysis on climate change identified in phase one and two. For instance, the project will further study the effects of climate change on the dynamics of eastern boundary upswelling systems (EBUS), which are the most productive ecosystems in the world in terms of fisheries production. According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO), because the proportion of animal protein obtained from fish is very high among the population in West African countries, changes in the productivity of the CCLME would have a direct impact on food security and national economies. Within this context, the project’s third phase seeks to fill gaps in understanding of the effects of climate change on the EBUS, to support progress on SDGs 14 and 13 while also exploring potential impacts on the region’s fisheries and food security, in line with SDG 2.

Research during the project’s third phase will also seek to better understand other climate stressors like ocean acidification. Throughout its implementation, the project has collaborated with IOC-UNESCO on activities in the CCLME.

IOC-UNESCO implements the project with support from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and is linked with the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) activities in EBUS. The phase three kickoff meeting convened from 18-20 September in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. The WCRP is sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Science Council (ISC) and IOC-UNESCO. SCOR is an international non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO).