Ocean & Climate News

August 6, 2021

Welcome to the August 2021 issue of the Ocean & Climate News. This issue focuses on preparations in the lead-up to COP26 within the framework of the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative: 1) Virtual Ocean Pavilion at COP26; 2) Report on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action: 2020-2021; 3) COP26 side event and exhibit. But first, a Virtual Event 101…

Hawaiian shore © Omega Foryschowski

The Virtue of Virtual Events

Some definitions.

  • Virtual event: An online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment, rather than a physical location.
  • Lobby: A 3D or 2D area where attendees are placed upon entering an event and where attendees can choose sessions and streams to “attend.”
  • Live streaming: Transmitting or receiving live video and audio coverage of an event over the Internet.
  • On demand: Prerecording of a live event, keynote, or session that attendees can watch any time on their schedule
  • Chat rooms: Can be used to send a message in real-time to an entire event audience or to presenters. (Many event platforms also offer features for attendees to set up group or 1:1 chats with one another outside of live sessions in the lobby or a designated lounge area)
  • Avatar: A two- or three-dimensional visual representation of an attendee used in online events.
  • Booth: A 3D or page-based space within a larger virtual event where attendees can engage directly with an exhibitor. A number of assets can be displayed here, including static text, logos, banners, video, and contact forms. Live discussions, demos, and presentations can also take place.

Why go virtual? A virtual format will ensure that the event will be:

  • Totally within the co-organizers’ control in terms of timing, allowing flexibility to respond to changes outside of organizers’ control
  • Adaptable and scalable
  • Long-lasting and accessible – being hosted online means assets will be available long-after the event has ended
  • Relatively less costly – eliminates the costs of a physical pavilion
  • More inclusive – will reach a much wider audience
  • Climate friendly – reduces carbon footprint

Exhibitor booths. In addition to panel sessions in virtual auditoriums, virtual exhibitor booths are also common in virtual events. Video and chat features as well as virtual meeting rooms for live interaction are the key features of exhibitor booths.

A variety of interactive features are available to registered participants including: 1) Live chat during session; 2) Q&A; 3) Polling; 4) Evaluations; 5) Forming links and networking; among others.

Examples of recent virtual ocean events include The Economist‘s World Ocean Summit; the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action Race to Zero Dialogues Oceans and Coastal Zone event which drew around 40,000 attendees; the SBSTA Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue to consider how to strengthen adaptation and mitigation action; and the Monaco Ocean Week.

Virtual Ocean Pavilion at COP26: Call for Collaborators and Sponsors

Organizations and policymakers from across our blue planet have converged at this period of existential threat and are looking for your support to create a Virtual Ocean Pavilion to increase knowledge, commitment and action for the ocean-climate nexus at the Climate Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.

Why an Ocean Pavilion?

The ocean and climate are intrinsically linked, one cannot function without the other, and yet the ocean has lacked any real seat at the table under the UNFCCC climate negotiations. Without this essential piece of the puzzle, climate ambition will be hindered, and the ocean crisis will worsen. Furthermore, since the majority of the global ocean has no “owners” (and therefore no representative or voice of its own like nations) but covers 72% of the world’s surface and over 90% of the living space on the planet, then it should have a pavilion all of its own and thus make that point that it is central to life on Earth. In order to give it a voice it needs a prominent presence at the climate negotiations in its own right.

A dedicated Ocean Pavilion would raise the visibility of the ocean and showcase why the ocean matters in climate negotiations and to all life on our planet – not surprisingly the ocean transcends across all the COP26 Presidency themes in a unified way like no other topic, from finance to energy to nature, land, resilience, industry, transport, to cities and science and innovation. As the ocean concerns everyone, the Virtual Ocean Pavilion has the capability of engaging and reaching those that cannot attend COP26 in-person and presents a long-lasting resource for all – leaving no one behind.

Visitors can explore a virtual exhibition with the option to access background information as well as options on what actions they could take towards a more sustainable blue future. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore a COP26 Life Below Water “Treasure Trove” with, e.g., on-demand or live-streaming of ocean-related films, music, art, games, health and well-being.

Throughout its duration and across its component activities, the VOP will carry key messages reinforcing the link between the ocean and climate agenda.

Hawaiian monk seal © Omega Foryschowski


To help realize this Virtual Ocean Pavilion, the co-organizers are welcoming sponsors as well as additional partners. For interested parties, please contact us here.

Reports on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action

These reports comprise an annual series of assessments of ocean and climate science, policy, and action organized by the ROCA Initiative. Following the organization of the Strategic Action Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action: 2016-2021, these progress reports address an inter-related “package” of issues, including, inter alia: recognizing the central role of oceans in climate; using ocean-based mitigation approaches (such as Blue Carbon, reducing air emissions from ships, renewable energy; carbon capture and storage); deploying a wide variety of adaptation measures, especially based on ecosystem approaches; fostering the low carbon Blue Economy; addressing the issues of human displacement; and providing adequate provision of financial flows and of capacity development. Preparation of the 2020-2021 volume is underway.

COP26 side event and exhibit

A side event application on “Ocean solutions: Coordination and collaboration for ocean-based mitigation and adaptation” was submitted with the following co-applicants: GOF/ICO, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), World Ocean Network, OPRI, and Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO).

An exhibit application on “Why the Ocean Matters in Climate Negotiations – Climate challenges, impact and options towards sustainable ocean development through interactive outreach: connecting science, industry, policy and youth by sharing knowledge via dialogues, international collaboration, art, observation and capacity building” was also submitted, led by PML.

Other COP26 News

  • The Official Registration System (ORS) for COP26 will be open for nomination of representatives from 2 August to 31 August 2021, 23:59 CEST. It will then reopen for confirmation of representatives from 6 September to 22 October 2021, 23:59 CEST.

Recent Publications

  • Dr. Carol Turley, Dr. Phil Williamson and Professor Ric Williams explain why we must pay attention to the climate extremes in the ocean in this article published in Environmental Journal. Tweet here.
  • From One Ocean Hub:
    • Transformative Governance for Ocean Biodiversity (here)
    • The Relevance of the Human Right to Science for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction: A New Legally Binding Instrument to Support Co-Production of Ocean Knowledge across Scales (here)
    • Climate Change Impacts on Atlantic Oceanic Island Tuna Fisheries (here)
    • Ecological-Fishery Forecasting of Squid Stock Dynamics under Climate Variability and Change: Review, Challenges, and Recommendations (here)

Timeout for Ocean Photos and Puzzles

  • New Ocean Photos: China and UK
  • Solutions to Ocean and Climate Crossword and Mystère Octo Puzzle

Prepared by Miriam Balgos, Global Ocean Forum.

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