April 18, 2019

Workshop on the “Blue COP” Explores Climate-Ocean Linkages

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Lynn Wagner

Organized by the Because the Ocean Initiative, the Technical Workshop titled, ‘Before the Blue COP,’ focused on the state of knowledge concerning climate and ocean change, synergies and gaps in climate and ocean actions, and national perspectives on the ocean-climate nexus.

The workshop was held in Madrid, Spain, from 10-11 April 2019.

In her opening statement, Teresa Ribera, Minister for the Ecological Transition, Spain, noted that public pressure on addressing plastic pollution has been instrumental in fostering policy action, and called for increasing public awareness of ocean and climate interlinkages.

Among the opening statements during a roundtable, Peter Thomson, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for the Ocean, said the second UN Ocean Conference, ‘Our Ocean – Our Future,’ to be held in Lisbon in 2020 will serve as a launching ground for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Manuel Barange, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), pointed to three priorities for action on fisheries adaptation to climate change: institutional and management adaptation; adaptation of livelihoods; and resilience and risk management. Anders Jessen, EU Commission, supported bringing the convergence of ocean and climate agendas into other international debates, such as on shipping emissions at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

In the closing session, takeaways from the workshop were highlighted, including:

  • Silos between the ocean and climate communities are starting to break down and knowledge on interlinkages is improving;
  • Environmental integrity and accountability in the context of ocean and climate action must be ensured;
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change offer opportunities to address ocean and climate interlinkages, and other vehicles such as National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) should also be considered; and
  • There is an appetite for political initiatives to increase momentum on the ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus, provided that they have an added value compared to existing declarations.

Recommendations from the Because the Ocean workshop series will be brought to the attention of the 51st session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, and the Santiago Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 25).

The Because the Ocean Initiative was launched by 23 countries in Paris, France, in November 2015. Its partners include the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Pacific Community and World Resources Institute (WRI).