Climate Conference to Spur Action on the Ocean

UN Climate Change News, 2 December 2019 – The ocean is increasingly affected by the global rise in temperatures, and as a result is significantly impacting marine ecosystems, coastal areas and human societies. This will be a major topic of discussion at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid this year.

The world’s population relies on the ocean in more ways than realized. It is a key source of oxygen that is needed to survive (every second breath you take comes from the ocean) and it mediates global temperatures. The ocean, coastal areas and their ecosystems are not only a huge reservoir of biodiversity, but also provide valuable services for humans. The fisheries and aquaculture sector, for example, supports the livelihoods of 10-12% of the world’s population.

Key report on the oceans-climate change nexus

The recently published IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SPROCC) identifies the projections of intensified climate change impacts on the ocean, coastal areas and ecosystems. The report highlights that although adaptation measures can generate many co-benefits at different scales, it warns that some adaptation solutions could be limited if climate change is not sufficiently mitigated.

Climate change impacts act as threat multipliers by combining with other man-made impacts, such as unsustainable coastal development, habitat alteration and overexploitation of living marine resources. These impacts threaten livelihoods and food security.

Knowledge for action process

There is an increasing recognition of the range of work going on with regard to ocean and coastal adaptation. Yet knowledge gaps and needs are significant in some areas such as the climate-ocean nexus. There is a need to fill these knowledge gaps and form action partnerships to build resilience.

UN Climate Change will be organizing several events at COP25 that will highlight the significance of protecting the ocean. The Nairobi work programme (NWP), a knowledge–to–action hub for adaptation and resilience, has facilitated a group of experts, from a diverse range of organisations, who are consolidating their knowledge and learning on the ocean-climate change linkages.

From November 21-22 2019, these experts convened to prepare for the Focal Point Forum at COP25 and to refine their inputs into a scoping paper, which identifies where the knowledge gaps lie and what kind of action is needed.

Call to action

The interactive Focal Point Forum will be held on 6  December 2019, bringing together professionals working on oceans, coastal areas and ecosystems, including mega deltas, coral reefs and mangroves.  At the Forum, the scoping paper findings will be used as an entry point to assess adaptation and resilience pathways, encourage the co-design of actions, and mobilize support for implementing these actions in 2020.

Join us at COP25

If you’re a policy-maker, expert on oceans and its ecosystems or a stakeholder involved in designing and implementing action, please join us at the Forum on 6 December.

Other ocean focused events organized by the UNFCCC secretariat:

3 December 2019, 10.00-15.00: Earth information Day: Forum on the latest activities and knowledge on the state of the global climate system, Earth observation implementation, needs and services.

5 December 2019, 15:00-18:00 Unpacking the new scientific knowledge and key findings in the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate.

6 December 2019, 15:00-18:00: GCA Ocean and coastal zones action event. 

7 December 2019, 11.30-13.00, Room 6: UN OCEANS side event: Raising ambition on climate and the ocean

7 December 2019, 11:30-13:00, GCA room: Secretariat side event: Enhancing Ambition through International Instruments & Innovations from the Paris Agreement & Beyond.

9 December 2019, 13:15-14:45, Room 3: Marrakech Partnership (MP) roundtable on Climate Action and SDG 14 and 15: How ecosystem-based approaches and nature-based solutions to climate action can deliver social, economic, and environmental co-benefits and build resilience.

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