The Global Ocean Forum works with a variety of stakeholders at different levels, with whom we share a global ocean agenda. The ocean is, by nature, an expansive environment which is home to diverse marine ecosystems. Exploited for their various benefits, they are now facing manifold challenges, which include climate change impacts. We’re looking for people who can help us effectively address some of those issues.

The Global Ocean Forum is an alliance of ocean leaders and entrepreneurs and together we move forward and carry with us the progress made and lessons learned in the past years as we tackle the challenges facing our blue planet.

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Photo credit: Martin Colognoli / Ocean Image Bank

Ocean & Climate News

December 23, 2022

Welcome to the last issue of Ocean & Climate News for 2022. This issue focuses on the final major ocean-related events in 2022, namely the UNFCCC COP27 and the CBD COP15. We included perspectives on the COP27 outcomes from the IPCC and Fiji. We report on the COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion, a COP27 side event on Coordination and Collaboration towards Ocean Blue NDCs, and other Global Ocean Forum news. But first, the important ocean-related outcomes of COP27…

Ocean & Climate

UNFCCC COP27: Ocean-Relevant Outcomes

Image Credit: COP27 Presidency

The “Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan,” the document reflecting the final decision of the parties to COP27, expresses commitments to ocean-based climate action in Section XIII, Articles 45 and 46 in recognition of the importance of the integrity of the ocean ecosystem when taking action to address climate change.

In Article 45, the COP welcomes the outcomes and key messages of the UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Dialogue in 2022 and establishes that future ocean and climate change dialogues, beginning in 2023, will be facilitated, in consultation with the Parties and observers, by two co-facilitators to be selected biennially by the Parties. The role of the co-facilitators will also include selecting dialogue topics and preparing informal summary for presentation concurrent with the subsequent COP:

[The Conference of the Parties] [w]elcomes the outcomes of and key messages from the ocean and climate change dialogue in 2022 and decides that future dialogues will, from 2023, be facilitated by two co-facilitators, selected by Parties biennially, who will be responsible for deciding the topics for and conducting the dialogue, in consultation with Parties and observers, and preparing an informal summary report to be presented in conjunction with the subsequent session of the Conference of the Parties.

In Article 46, the COP encourages Parties to include ocean-based action in the development and implementation of national climate goals, including their NDCs, long-term strategies and adaptation plans:

[The Conference of the Parties] [e]ncourages Parties to consider, as appropriate, ocean-based action in their national climate goals and in the implementation of these goals, including but not limited to nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies and adaptation communications.

The UNFCCC Ocean and Climate Dialogue, which had its inception in 2019 at COP25, will be a crucial mechanism for advancing ocean-climate action. For the dialogue to perform this function effectively, dialogue themes must include technical capacity building and financing with the goal of understanding the needs of the Parties when it comes to assessing risk and responding to changing ocean and coastal conditions in the face of ongoing climate change.

To this end, Article 26 of the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan is important due to its emphasis on the need to address gaps in the global climate observing system, particularly in developing countries, and to enhance coordination of systematic observation activities:

[The Conference of the Parties] [e]mphasizes the need to address existing gaps in the global climate observing system, particularly in developing countries, and recognizes that one third of the world, including sixty per cent of Africa, does not have access to early warning and climate information services, as well as the need to enhance coordination of activities by the systematic observation community and the ability to provide useful and actionable climate information for mitigation, adaptation and early warning systems, as well as information to enable understanding of adaptation limits and of attribution of extreme events.

Additionally, Article 44 highlights the ongoing need for long-term, country-driven capacity building efforts to enhance the effectiveness of climate interventions in developing countries:

[The Conference of the Parties] [n]otes that capacity gaps and needs still exist in developing countries and calls on developed country Parties to increase support for long-term country-driven capacity-building interventions to enhance the effectiveness, success and sustainability of those interventions.

Perspectives on the COP27 Outcomes

COP27: Bad compromises overshadow progress made during UN Climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh

Hans Pörtner, Co-Chair, Working Group II, IPCC, and Sina Löschke, Communications Manager, IPCC

Six weeks after the 27th UN climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh was closed, its outcomes are still controversially discussed. We hear people talking about history being made by including food, rivers, nature-based solutions, tipping points, and the right to a healthy environment in an overarching COP “cover decision” for the first time. Coverage of loss and damage has been agreed with details to be developed. Ocean issues and the ocean dialogue were appreciated in the Sharm el-Sheikh implementation plan. The Blue Zone had many Ocean Action events.

At the same time, many experts and activists are disappointed by the lack of progress in regard to deep and rapid emissions reductions, urgently needed to keep risks to humans and nature at a moderate level.

Considerations of nature, its services, and overall dependence on a stable climate

The good news is: Nature’s prominent role in the Earth’s climate system is more and more recognized by decision-makers. “Connecting Climate and Biodiversity” was the title of the high-level segment opening the COP’s very first biodiversity day to address the urgent need for integrated responses at scale. With this, the COP’s presidency followed solution options presented in the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

However, we see a widening gap between high-level rhetoric and the realities of negotiations and decisions made at COP27. On the one hand, ocean, forests, food security, and nature-based solutions are mentioned in the cover text, known as the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan. Forests and Ocean even got their own section in that text.

On the other hand, decisions on emission reductions fail to hit the mark the world was hoping for. Keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius has not been defined as a high priority. Instead, a bad compromise was found by making rather vague statements about emission sources, reflecting the unchanged position of those that want to make a profit by selling fossil fuels and those that think they still have a right to use fossil fuels to boost their nations’ economic development.

Recognizing our shared responsibility and acting accordingly

By calling out coal but intentionally concealing the climate change impact of burning oil and gas, we only name half of the problem, avert meaningful climate action and lose valuable time to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Let’s face it, current global efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the changing climate are falling short to secure a livable planet for all. The latest IPCC Assessment Report highlights that climate risk develops more strongly with warming. There is a clear differentiation now to be made between warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius and 2 degrees Celsius, as this relatively small temperature change means a lot in terms of impact – for people as well as for our world’s ecosystems.

We still have a fighting chance to keep climate impacts at moderate levels. But to do so we have to push for action, recognizing our shared responsibility for our planet’s and our own future and for acting accordingly to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Victories for the Ocean-Climate Nexus at COP27: A Step Forward on the Ocean Pathway at the UNFCCC

Izhaar Ali, Ocean Officer, Climate Change & International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Economy, Fiji

COP27 was widely claimed to be an implementation COP with a strong emphasis on the finalization of a funding mechanism for Loss and Damage which, in particular, has been a key point of discussion for the African Group of countries. After years of pressure, a fund was finally established, bringing a sigh of relief especially from amongst the most climate-vulnerable countries. But what did this COP bring for the oceans, and how was the oceans-climate change nexus addressed?

Although the Fijian Government, through the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), had formally reached out to the COP27 Presidency in understanding how the oceans-climate change nexus would be discussed in Sharm el-Sheikh, we had only received vague answers, from ensuring that messaging on oceans was promulgated at side events and Ministerial interventions to ensuring that other thematic areas included segments on oceans in their negotiations. 

Additionally, prior to the COP, Fiji’s Hon. Minister for Economy and Regional Political High Level Champion for Oceans met with the Egyptian Roving Ambassador for the Pacific and highlighted key areas of concern within the climate change agenda, emphasizing the clear need for a dedicated space to discuss ocean issues in Sharm in an effort to generate much needed momentum heading into the COP. 

Moving into the Conference itself, deliberations on what the proposed language would look like had started in October, facilitated by the Friends of the Oceans and a draft on a potential submission was developed. However and as always, there were some conflicting views when this was proposed to other negotiating groups. What was clear, however, was that all Parties agreed that the primary change that was required was on how the Ocean-Climate Change dialogue was to be facilitated. The previous iteration of the Dialogue, which was held along the lines of SBSTA in June 2022, had been an ambitious effort by the Chair to consolidate and discuss most if not all the requests by Parties and compressed into one, three-hour long discussion. Parties were both overwhelmed with the various themes on the agenda and uncertain as to what should have taken precedence, as each had their own preference. 

In Sharm el-Sheikh, the COP27 Presidency, for its part, tried to include as much language as possible on the oceans-climate change nexus within the initial draft texts that were circulated, which was a pleasant surprise to many, and although the finalized text was only able to include three paragraphs on the oceans, it was a vital win to see that the primary request for having two co-facilitators of the ocean-climate change dialogue was considered and adopted. The co-facilitators will ensure that there is transparency and greater communication with Parties and non-Party stakeholders on how the Dialogue will be structured and what themes will be discussed. Additionally, the assumption is that the co-facilitators will also communicate how the informal summary report will be presented to the COP28 Presidency. 

Sharm el-Sheikh was a promise, a promise for progress, and despite our best efforts, there is only so much that can be done on a theme (oceans) that has yet to be acknowledged by the UNFCCC. However, progress is progress and the Dialogue is a space through which the oceans-climate change agenda can develop a stronger foothold within the UNFCCC system. All eyes are now on the in-coming Presidency, who has shown great enthusiasm around oceans. However, only time will tell whether this enthusiasm will translate into the necessary action that is required. Furthermore, the oceans theme now has a significant ally with Samoa Chairing AOSIS for the next two years. Fiji hopes that this Pacific leadership will assist in making headway in the UNFCCC through this greater umbrella negotiating body. We can only look on with optimism and determination for the future, and whatever the outcome, Fiji will always be steadfast in our position for the world’s only recourse and most important resource, the oceans, to be acknowledged and adopted within the UNFCCC system.

The COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion: Connecting All on Our Incredible Blue Planet

The COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion was held from August 30 until November 18, 2022. The Pavilion opened during Africa Climate Week (August 29-September 2, 2022) and covered the duration of the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP27, 6-18 November 2022). The overall coordination, work in the development of the pavilion, and organization of live events was carried out by the Global Ocean Forum in close partnership with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, One Ocean Hub, and the Ocean & Climate Platform, together with 28 collaborating partners. The Pavilion drew 4,187 registrations, representing 115 countries, of which 1,313 (31%) logged in to visit the Pavilion and participate in its various features within the duration of the Pavilion and through post-event hosting that allowed on-demand use up to December 18, 2022. The contents of the Pavilion will be made accessible from the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative website in early 2023.

Overall, the Virtual Ocean Pavilion at COP27 was successful in achieving its goals of amplifying the visibility of the ocean-climate nexus and further democratizing the COP, bringing it to a wider audience than would be able to physically attend the conference in person. The VOP was useful in compiling the ocean-related activities at the COP, providing a roster of over 200 ocean-related events and helping to promote the ocean agenda. The roster included the events held as part of the Ocean Action Day and the Ocean Pavilion events at COP27.

The Virtual Ocean Pavilion will return in 2023 for the UNFCCC COP28 to continue the ongoing work of increasing recognition of the vital importance of the ocean to global efforts in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change, and to advance the goal of connecting the people in our incredible blue planet. For more information, see the COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion summary report.

COP27 Side Event on Coordination and Collaboration towards Ocean Blue NDCs

Co-organized by the Global Ocean Forum, Government of Fiji, World Ocean Network, and Urban Coast Institute of Monmouth University, this event, held on 15 December 2022, showcased how collaborative initiatives among various stakeholders support the incorporation of ocean action to strengthen the NDCs in response to identified needs.

Amb. S. Prasad, Fiji

Speakers shared how synergies at global, regional, national and sub-national levels promote national ocean-based adaptation and mitigation initiatives. H.E. Mr. Satyendra Prasad, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations in New York and Fiji’s Non-resident High Commissioner to Canada, provided a government perspective on the prospects and opportunities in incorporating ocean-climate action in NDCs. Mrs. Stéphanie Bouziges-Eschmann, Secretary General, French Facility for Global Environment, spoke about illustrative initiatives on nature-based and other coastal sustainable solutions and the links between ocean preservation and climate. Mr. Matthew Bray, Co-founder and CEO, Brayfoil Technologies, a representative startup from OceanHub Africa, talked about the strategic role and importance of startups. Mr. Tony MacDonald, Director, Urban Coast Institute, shared the Mid-Atlantic experience in promoting collaborative ocean-based climate solutions from a sub-national/regional perspective. Dr. Peter Ricketts, President, Acadia University, provided insights on promoting ocean-based climate solutions through universities and other academic and research institutions. Ms. Anna Maria Marino, Liaison Officer on Arctic and Oceans, Youth and Environment Europe, challenged and inspired the audience with her intervention on the role and opportunities for the youth in promoting ocean-based climate solutions. Mr. Richard Delaney, Center for Coastal Studies and Dr. Indumathie Hewawasam, Sustainable Oceans and Coasts, LLC, moderated the panel presentations and subsequent discussion. The recording of the event may be viewed here.

COP27 side event panelists © C. Clauwers

Looking Forward: UNFCCC COP28

The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP28) is scheduled to be held on 30 November to 12 December, 2023, in the United Arab Emirates in the city of Dubai.

Biodiversity & ABNJ

CBD COP15: Ocean-Relevant Outcomes

The UN Biodiversity Conference (Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)), chaired by China and hosted by Canada, was held in two parts. Part 1 was held virtually on 11-15 October, 2021. Part 2 was held in Montreal, Canada, from 7-19 December, 2022. In attendance on site at Part 2 of the COP were representatives of 188 parties and two non-parties (the Vatican and the United States). 

The COP’s primary objective was the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which recognizes the need for urgent policy action on the global, regional, and national levels to implement effective economic, social, and financial mechanisms to stabilize biodiversity loss by 2030 and to achieve net improvements in the recovery of natural ecosystems by 2050. Draft One of the framework, which builds on the lessons learned from the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, was released in July, 2021. Consistent with this objective, the COP finalized and approved measures to halt ongoing loss–including human-generated loss–of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and to put in place clear indicators to measure humanity’s progress towards achieving a sustainable relationship with natural ecosystems.

Photo credit: IISD / Mike Muzurakis

On Monday, December 19, the final day of the conference, the closing plenary adopted a compromise package of six decisions on the monitoring framework, resource mobilization, digital sequence information (DSI), and capacity building for the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF), as well as mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review under this framework. Included within the framework adopted by the COP are four overarching global goals: A) substantially increasing the area of natural ecosystems, halting the rate of human-induced extinction of known species and reducing the extinction rates of all species by the year 2050, and maintaining the genetic diversity of wild and domesticated populations; B) sustainable use and management of biodiversity, including ecosystem services, by 2050; C) equitable sharing of the monetary and non-monetary benefits of genetic resources by 2050; and D) providing financial resources, capacity-building, technical and scientific cooperation, and access to and transfer of technology to fully implement the biodiversity framework, specifically in developing countries. 

The GBF also includes 23 targets for achievement by the year 2030. These targets include several notable ocean-related outcomes, such as bringing the loss of areas of high biodiversity importance close to zero by 2030 and implementing participatory integrated biodiversity inclusive spatial planning and/or effective management processes to address sea use change (Target 1); ensuring that 30% of coastal and marine areas, especially those of particular importance to biodiversity, are, by 2030, effectively conserved and managed through area-based conservation measures, recognizing and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and ensuring that sustainable use, where appropriate, is consistent with conservation outcomes (Target 3); and minimizing the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity through nature-based solutions and/or ecosystem-based approaches (Target 8).

Integrated Coastal Management was recognized in the Kunming-Montreal GBF monitoring framework regarding a complementary indicator for Target 1b on Red List of Ecosystems and Percent of land and seas covered by biodiversity-inclusive spatial plans. 

Final decisions on marine and coastal biodiversity were adopted by the COP regarding: ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) on completed descriptions (CBD/COP/15/L.13) and further work (CBD/COP/15/L.14); and taking into account the assessments by IPBES and the Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment in the implementation of the GBF (CBD/COP/15/L.15).

BBNJ IGC5 to Resume

The 5th substantive session of the intergovernmental conference on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ IGC5) will reconvene at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from 20 February to 3 March, 2023.

Cross-sectoral Cooperation Project

This GEF-funded UNEP project under the Common Oceans Program to be led by the Global Ocean Forum, is expected to start implementation in January 2023. The project is committed to building and strengthening regional and national capacity for sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination, knowledge management and public awareness of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). It aims to raise awareness of the BBNJ Agreement and improve cooperation on ABNJ governance in two pilot regions: the Southeast Pacific region and the Pacific Islands region, working with the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, GRID-Arendal, Comisión Permanente del Pacífico Sur, the Pacific Islands Forum Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Universidad Católica del Norte, and the University of the South Pacific. A project inception workshop is scheduled for January 17/18, 2023.

Other GOF News

Leadership Updates

Moving forward into 2023, Dr. Miriam Balgos, who formerly served as Officer-in-Charge and Director of Organizational Development of the Global Ocean Forum, will now serve as its Executive Director. Mr. Richard Delaney of the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, MA, will act as the President of GOF’s Board of Directors. Dr. Indumathie Hewawasam of Sustainable Oceans and Coasts, LLC, and Mr. Tony MacDonald of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, will be overseeing the GOF Strategic Planning Process.

Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain Memorial Fund

Thanks to the generous donations of our friends and colleagues, in 2022, the Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain Memorial Fund exceeded its goal and raised a total of nearly $33,000 to support the development of an internship and fellowship program. We invite additional financial contributions to support this program which will allow undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to experience being part of civil society’s efforts in advancing the global ocean agenda through diverse initiatives and in various United Nations and other international fora.

Prepared by Johanna Vonderhorst and Miriam Balgos

Virtual Ocean Pavilion on the Road to COP27:
Connecting All on Our Incredible Blue Planet

The Virtual Ocean Pavilion of the UN Climate Conference (COP27) will kick off its program of events during the first week of the Summit this November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. From 6-18 November 2022, the Virtual Ocean Pavilion will host live sessions addressing finance and public education (9 November), science, youth and future generations, and resilience (10 November), followed by live sessions during the second week on aquatic food (14 November), biodiversity and ocean-based adaptation and mitigation (16 November). It also provides access to an overview of the ocean-related events at the COP in Egypt itself and links to join online where available.

Everyone is invited to register for free and visit the online Pavilion, which is dedicated to raising the visibility of the ocean in the climate negotiations, and to showcasing why the ocean matters to all life on our planet. It is a communication platform for connecting participants in the Summit from various parts of the world and for promoting increased commitment, finance, unity, and action in accordance with COP27 priorities.

The Virtual Ocean Pavilion is co-organized by the Global Ocean Forum, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, One Ocean Hub, and the Ocean & Climate Platform, in collaboration with many other partners from across the globe. The diversity of organizers and collaborating partners ensures a wide range of perspectives on ocean and climate issues and provides opportunities for forging cross-sectoral collaboration on ocean-climate action at the national, regional, and global levels.

The Pavilion will feature live and view-on-demand events with interventions from high level speakers, including UN representatives, ocean and climate experts and practitioners. Visitors to the online Pavilion will also be able to interact with experts through over 25 ocean exhibit booths, watch interviews with Party negotiators and key stakeholders, and explore the ‘Treasure Trove’, which holds a collection of art, videos, climate stories and publications from around the world to increase knowledge and inspire action on the ocean-climate nexus.

Last year’s COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion drew 3,000 registrants to attend live events and to view the wealth of on-demand content offered by the platform. The virtual nature of the Pavilion provided access to information and events to a wide audience, including those who were unable to attend in person due to COVID-19.

On the Road to COP27, the Virtual Ocean Pavilion intends to draw a large number of registrants to this year’s edition, making access to COP27 more inclusive and equitable. Join us to experience many opportunities for sharing knowledge and experiences, networking, development and renewal of partnerships and other collaborative initiatives toward a healthier, more sustainable ocean and planet.

“The Virtual Ocean Pavilion provides a crucial platform to recognize the ocean’s importance in the climate change challenge. Convening scientists, negotiators, civil society, and intergovernmental bodies, the Pavilion provides more than just an inclusive and equitable networking environment for all COP27 participants – whether they can afford or not to attend COP27. It also provides a clear entry point for citizens yearning for knowledge and ocean-based solutions for the climate crisis,” said Vladimir Ryabinin, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO and Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO).

To learn more about the Virtual Ocean Pavilion and what it offers, and to register for the event, visit the landing page. For more information and all other inquiries, please reach out to Miriam Balgos and Thecla Keizer.

Virtual Ocean Pavilion on the Road to COP27

August 28, 2022

Welcome to the COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion!

Registration for the 2022 Virtual Ocean Pavilion on the road to COP27 is now open. We kindly invite you to register and visit the Pavilion. Registration is free.

This year’s online platform aims to continue the work begun by the Virtual Ocean Pavilion for COP26 in raising the visibility of the ocean and showcasing why the ocean matters in climate negotiations and to all life on our planet. It aims to increase knowledge, commitment, and action on the ocean-climate nexus achieved from, during, and at key events in the run up to the UN Climate Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt this November.

We invite you to take a tour:

  • Visit the auditorium to gain access to our live and on-demand events that focus on forging unity and helping to raise ambition for ocean-climate action.
  • Interact with fellow youth and other attendees in the General Discussion Chatroom or send a direct message to talk one-on-one.
  • Visit our exhibition booths to chat with experts through the booth chat and Q&A features and take away a wealth of information in your virtual delegate bag – feel free to take as much or little as you’d like!
  • Dive into a range of Pavilion features at your convenience between 29 August and 18 December 2022 for the ocean of live and on-demand content that we have planned on the road to COP27.

We hope that you can join us for the Pavilion’s live events during Africa Climate Week (Tuesday, 30 August): 1) High-level Opening Event, 9:00-10:30 AM CET; and 2) Ocean and Climate Action: Adaptation and Resilience Practices and Tools Clinic, 3:00-4:30 PM CET.

Translation into multiple languages is available through Wordly during live events.

We look forward to your attendance and participation.

2022 UN Ocean Conference Side Event on Creating a Blue Society

The 2022 UN Ocean Conference takes place on June 27 – July 1 in Lisbon, Portugal. The objective of the Conference is to incite action and promote innovative, science-based solutions to the deep-rooted societal problems revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic in accordance with the SDGs to usher in a new chapter of global ocean action.

This is the second UN Ocean Conference. The first was held on June 5-9, 2017 in New York City, USA. Its focus was on the promotion of progress in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The Global Ocean Forum continues its work in advancing the ocean agenda in various international fora by organizing, along with 10 partners (Nausicaa National Sea Center, France; World Ocean Network; One Ocean Hub; Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States; African Union Development Agency; Global Fund for Coral Reefs; United Nations Development Programme; Acadia University; Envirostrat; and Urban Coast Institute, Monmouth University), a side event on Creating a Blue Society: Innovative solutions for sustainable ocean and coastal management action to be held on Thursday, June 30 from 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM in Side Event Room 2 at the Altice Arena Convention Center.

This side event addresses ways by which scientific and innovative approaches to ocean-based socio-economic development based on the idea of a Blue Society could effectively integrate long standing concepts of coastal management, ocean planning and ecosystem-based management; and how these approaches could be especially beneficial for small island developing States and other developing countries. A Blue Society incorporates culture into the pillars of a Blue Economy, involving civil society in socio-economic development because every human being on earth depends on the ocean for survival.

Additionally, this side event will contribute to information sharing and discussion towards advancing the implementation of SDG14 Life below water in an interlinked manner through cross-cutting initiatives that also address other SDGs including: 7 Affordable and Clean Energy; 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities; 13 Climate Action; and 17 Partnerships for the Goals, among others. It will focus on scientific and innovative solutions that address the constraints to scaling up ocean action towards the implementation of Goal 14, including through fresh approaches to integrating various development and management frameworks and paradigms as well as relevant initiatives in pursuit of other SDGs.

For a list of speakers and other information about the side event, view the event brief here.

Ocean & Climate News

June 8, 2022

Welcome to the World Oceans Day 2022 issue of the Ocean & Climate News. This issue focuses on the major ocean-related events in 2022, including information on concluded and upcoming events, perspectives on the UN Ocean Conference and the Fifth substantive session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), and preparations in the lead-up to COP27. The major events include, among others: One Planet Summit for the Ocean (9-11 February 2022); 4th IGC on BBNJ (7-18 March 2022); 7th Our Ocean Conference (12-14 April 2022); UN Ocean Conference (27 June-1 July 2022); CBD COP-15 Part Two: Face-to-Face Meetings (29 August–9 September 2022 tentative); 5th IGC on BBNJ (15-26 August 2022); and UNFCCC COP27 (7-18 November 2022). The plethora of events provides an opportunity for the ocean community to practice and apply proven ways of integration, coordination, and collaboration, e.g., increasing interlinkages among sectors to reflect the common nature of their goals; use the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as a checklist; hosting cross-sectoral events; promoting the links between environment and sustainable development; tying funding to joint development and environmental outcomes, among others (see Purvis 2016).

But first, we’d like to greet you all a Happy World Oceans Day! The global celebration of World Oceans Day 2022 focuses on the communities, ideas, and solutions that are working together to protect and revitalize the ocean and everything it sustains.

TITLE: Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean
TIME: 10:00 AM-1:30 PM EDT
LIVESTREAM: https://unworldoceansday.org/un-world-oceans-day-2022/
HOST: UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs
RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2022-united-nations-world-oceans-day-event-registration-272875797857

TITLE: For a global mobilization for the ocean
TIME: 11:00AM (GMT)
ORGANIZER: University of Brest
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Joelle Richard, University of Brest, Joelle.Richard@univ-brest.fr
REGISTRATION: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MQ7w8uHHRbOnqlYK8b33dQ

TITLE: High-level event on the Human rights of Small-scale Fishers
DATE AND TIME: Monday 6 June, 13:00-15:00 GMT
ORGANIZER: One Ocean Hub
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Senia Febrica, One Ocean Hub, senia.febrica@strath.ac.uk

TITLE: Blue Heritage: The Role of Ocean Art and Culture in Ocean Science and Management
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, 7 June, 13:00-14:30 GMT
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Senia Febrica, One Ocean Hub, senia.febrica@strath.ac.uk

Major Ocean and Ocean-related Events in 2022

High-level segment panelists at One Ocean Summit

One Planet Summit for the Ocean

After two days of discussions and debates, some 40 Heads of State and Government responded positively to the invitation of the President of the French Republic to commit for the ocean at the One Planet Summit for the Ocean in Brest (9-11 February 2022). Addressing 4 main themes: the protection of marine ecosystems, the fight against pollution, the fight against climate change, and ocean governance, political and private sector representatives met to discuss the future of our global ocean. The meeting showed a promising dynamic ahead of the many ocean-related international meetings to come in 2022. Read the synthesis of the summit’s main announcements here. – Anaïs Deprez, Ocean & Climate Platform

7th Our Ocean Conference, Palau

The seventh Our Ocean Conference, titled “Our Ocean, Our People, Our Prosperity,” was held in Koror, Palau on April 13-14, 2022. Co-hosted by the Republic of Palau and the United States, the conference drew more than 600 participants representing more than 70 foreign delegations and 150 non-state actors. The first to be held in a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), the conference placed special attention on the importance of ocean-based climate solutions, including offshore renewable energy, marine nature-based solutions, and shipping decarbonization, as well as the importance of a healthy ocean to small island states and communities around the globe. The conference concluded with 410 commitments worth $16.35 billion to support concrete action to advance ocean issues, including ocean-climate issues. To read more about the Conference, please go here; see who the Conference partners were here; see the Conference photos here. – Bridge Thomas, Office of the President, Republic of Palau

7th Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022

The seventh session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (GP2022) was held from 23 to 28 May 2022, in Bali Indonesia under the theme “From Risk to Resilience: Towards Sustainable Development for All in a COVID-19 Transformed World.” On the occasion of GP2022, a seminar on “Migration, Dignity, Fragility and Pandemics: Livelihoods of immigrants before and after COVID-19 Pandemics” was organized by the Environmental Law Institute, the Global Infrastructure Fund Research Foundation Japan and the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, on 24 May 2022 in Bali, to discuss the research results published in the Journal of Disaster Research Vol.17 (2022) No.3 (Apr), Special issue on Migration, Dignity, Fragility, and Pandemics, which can be accessed here. – Miko Maekawa, Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation

The UN Ocean Conference, Lisbon

The UN Ocean Conference is upon us at last! Postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Conference will be held on June 27 to July 1, 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal. We invited Dr. Nigel Bradly, GOF Policy Advisory Board Member, to provide his perspective on Blue Economy, one of the recurring themes of the Conference, which focuses on the implementation of SDG14. We also provided a list of some of the side events that we have information on.

  • Perspective on Blue Economy by Nigel Bradly, CEO, Envirostrat

The Blue Economy involves recognizing the ocean as a primary life source of our planet, vital for human well-being and a thriving global economy. Blue Economy requires a move beyond the business-as-usual approach underpinned by simple resource extraction and depletion. It fosters new and emerging sectors with innovation and climate as core elements and a systems-wide view of development to maximize the benefits of marine ecosystem services. It also enables low impact growth of traditional ocean industries with a transition toward restorative marine economies that are defined by circular and inclusive economic models.

The current scope and variety of challenges facing oceans call for making hard, strategic investment choices about where the most impact can be most efficient. Investments in the Blue Economy cannot be considered in isolation. Instead, they should be seen as part of a dynamic, sustainable and interconnected ocean economy where socioeconomic growth is pursued in an integrated fashion. Enabling investments in blue economy sectors requires an interactive engagement of governments, businesses, investors, and funds, each playing a complementary or synergistic role. Their collective action can promote economic growth by altering practices and regulations, engaging in new performance measures, developing low-carbon and resource-efficient opportunities while improving livelihoods, creating jobs, and preserving the health of ocean ecosystems.

Blue economy can thrive if governments regulating marine-dependent economic sectors switch from siloed approaches to integrated ones. Most externalities generated by one sector are borne by others and are neither monitored nor accurately measured. A purely sectoral approach does not allow the Blue Economy to grow as fast as it could, as the development of one sector can prevent the full optimal development of the others. Governments can ensure climate change and environmental degradation prevention are mainstreamed into policies and requirements for future investments while developing strategic planning for using marine space and resources. Integrated coastal zone management plans and marine spatial planning are examples of policy instruments that can be designed or improved to address impacts of land-based sources of marine pollution, incorporate marine natural capital accounting, identify ecosystem thresholds, improve climate resilience, and maximize socioeconomic and cultural benefits from marine resources.

A Blue Economic approach will require scaling up the available financial resources, including fostering sustainable private investment. While governments may lead additional actions to promote Blue Economy by engaging in public expenditure reviews, value chain assessments, and natural capital accounting, collaborating with funds and private investors can expand and reveal new funding venues for innovative blue economy ventures. Leveraging the Blue Economy potential includes fostering sustainable private investment, building a favorable climate for investors and innovative finance products, such as blue bonds or climate bonds. Natural asset valuation incorporated into payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes and Nature-based Solutions (NbS) strategies are also examples of innovative investable approaches. The combination of an enabling environment promoted by public investment and the strategic deployment of impact funding and concessional grants or loans can enable ‘crowding in’ of private finance and the integration of blue-related risks in financing decisions.

The motivation for blue economy investments which is increasing given the awareness of the risks of climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation in coastal and marine areas is rising fast amongst policymakers and investors. However, capturing investors’ interest in Blue Economy solutions still requires a greater focus on developing investment-ready projects, developing project pipelines, and validating models for investable projects that are replicable and scalable.

  • Side Events at the UN Ocean Conference

TITLE: From Science to Action: Blueing the Paris Agreement
DATE AND TIME: Monday 27 June, 13.00-14.15 WEST
LOCATION: Altice Arena (Room 2)
LEAD ORGANIZERS: Government of France, the UNFCCC, and the Ocean & Climate Platform
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Loreley Picourt, Ocean & Climate Platform, lpicourt@ocean-climate.org

TITLE: The future and ocean WE (ALL) want: Inclusion and integration for strong, sustainable and equitable blue economies
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday 28 June, 13:00-15:00 Lisbon Time (12:00-14:00 GMT)
LOCATION: Alfama room, Tivoli Oriente Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Senia Febrica, One Ocean Hub, senia.febrica@strath.ac.uk

TITLE: Welcome out of the box! From blue food for thought to blue food for action: Making ocean protection the norm rather than the exception
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday 28 June, 16h00-17h30
LOCATION: Auditorio III – PT Meeting Centre, R. do Bojador 1990-048 Lisbon
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Remi Parmentier, The Varda Group, remi@vardagroup.org

TITLE: Celebrating over 10 years of building capacity and catalyzing partnerships towards achieving global ocean goals
DATE AND TIME: Wednesday 29 June, 8:30-11:00 PM
LOCATION: York House, Rua das Janelas Verdes, N.º 32 1200-691, Lisboa – Portugal
LEAD ORGANIZER: University of Brest
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Joelle Richard, University of Brest, Joelle.Richard@univ-brest.fr

TITLE: Creating a Blue Society: Innovative solutions for sustainable ocean and coastal management action
DATE AND TIME: Thursday 30 June, 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM
LOCATION: Altice Arena (Side event room 2)
LEAD ORGANIZER: Global Ocean Forum
EVENT POINT OF CONTACT: Miriam Balgos, Global Ocean Forum, mbalgos@globaloceanforum.com

5th Intergovernmental Conference on BBNJ

  • Perspective: High Seas within our reach! Progress report on the UN treaty for marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable use beyond national boundaries by Peggy Kalas (Director, High Seas Alliance), Kristina M. Gjerde (Senior High Seas Advisor, IUCN), and Nichola Clark (Officer, The Pew Charitable Trusts; PhD candidate, University of Wollongong)

After decades of work to progress discussions surrounding the need for an international treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, world governments are now engaged in the final stages of negotiations at the United Nations. The final round was delayed from March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following two years of informal, virtual, intersessional work, the fourth negotiating session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC4) took place at UN headquarters from 7-18 March 2022, where encouraging progress was made. However, pandemic-related challenges, including the inability to participate in in-person meetings ahead of the session, high turnover of UN delegates, and restrictions on country and civil society participation, stymied hopes of concluding treaty negotiations during this last session.

Nonetheless, the IGC was still a remarkable success considering the circumstances. Many governments engaged with a renewed sense of urgency and flexibility, and States delved deeply into substantive negotiations. Delegations were eager to work together to progress key issues, which resulted in new areas of convergence amongst many regional groupings.

An additional negotiating session (IGC5) has been scheduled to address remaining gaps and sticking points. Taking place from 15-26 August, many regional groups and countries are working to ensure that this fifth meeting produces a finalized treaty text. This goal is supported by the 47 Heads of State who have joined the BBNJ “High Ambition Coalition” (HAC), which commits to achieve an ambitious outcome in 2022.

In this short intersessional period before IGC5, the High Seas Alliance including IUCN is making every effort to keep and build momentum through upcoming opportunities at international fora (e.g., UN Ocean Conference) and beyond. To facilitate more targeted negotiations, the President of the IGC, Rena Lee, released a further revised draft text of the BBNJ Agreement in late May, with comments due 25 July.

A number of key issues still need to be resolved, likely at political levels, and it is also not too early to start thinking of ways to accelerate the eventual treaty’s entry into force, and to enhance the capacity, science, technology, financial, and other resources of all States, particularly developing countries, to effectively and equitably implement the treaty. Critical gaps in management, scientific, and technological capacity to safeguard marine biodiversity in the face of accelerating climate and other human pressures need to be addressed now. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration are excellent opportunities to advance collective knowledge and action.

After nearly two decades of discussions and negotiations, it is vital that we conclude the high seas treaty negotiations in 2022. It is even more important that the substance of the treaty be worth the twenty-year-long process– it should reflect the ambition that we need to meaningfully transform ocean governance and finally put into place legal safeguards to protect marine life, ensure use of our shared global commons is sustainable, and promote an ocean future that will benefit generations to come.

Ocean & Climate News


The 56th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will be held from 6 to 16 June 2022, in Bonn, Germany.

Side Event on Coordination and collaboration on Ocean-based climate actions towards sustainable development, June 7, 2022

This event showcased action-driven trans-disciplinary science and cross-sectoral collaboration towards strengthening cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders and relevant UN bodies to adapt to the climate-induced challenges placed on the ocean and thus improve sustainable development, limiting warming to 1.5 °C, enhancing NDCs, and helping achieve Net Zero. Co-organized by the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK; Global Ocean Forum; Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan; Réseau Océan Mondial (World Ocean Network), Belgium and Nausicaá Centre National de la Mer, France. View event here. – Thecla Keizer, Plymouth Marine Laboratory

SBSTA Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue 2022

This year’s iteration of the mandated dialogue on the ocean and climate change to consider how to strengthen ocean-based action on climate change to be held annually, takes place on 15 June, 15:00 – 19:00 at the World Conference Center in Bonn. An in-person event with webcast, the dialogue will explore two topics through moderated panels: 1) Strengthening and integrating national ocean climate action under the Paris Agreement; and 2) Enabling ocean climate solutions and optimizing institutional connections. See the dialogue agenda here. To participate, go here.

Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action Meetings

A Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MP-GCA) Meeting held on 20 May 2022 provided an opportunity for the High-Level Champions to share their vision and priorities for COP 27 as well as provide updates on the progress made in the operationalization of the improved Partnership for enhancing ambition, the Global Stocktake and the plans towards the UN Climate Change SB sessions in June. Meeting participants welcomed Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, the new UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt.

A MP-GCA Ocean & Coastal Zones Meeting on Planning for the Ocean and Climate Change SBSTA Dialogue and the UN Ocean Conference was held on 31 May 2022. Contacts: MP-GCA Ocean & Coastal Zones co-focal points: Loreley Picourt, Ocean & Climate Platform (lpicourt@ocean-climate.org) and Tamara Thomas, Conservation International (tthomas@conservation.org)

Virtual Ocean Pavilion

COP26 VOP’s new home

The COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion assets have been migrated to the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative website. You may view the webpage here, where visitors can continue to access the VOP event recordings and the information and resources provided in the exhibit booths.

Opportunity for further collaboration: COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion

To help realize the ocean and climate change agenda through the Virtual Ocean Pavilion at COP27, the co-organizers are welcoming sponsors as well as additional partners. The design of the COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion will take into consideration the cascade of ocean and ocean-related events in 2022, the COP27 priorities, as well as the lessons learned in the development of the platform and feedback received from the survey of COP26 Pavilion attendees.

Other Stories

Cross-sectoral Capacity Development in ABNJ Project endorsed for GEF financing

The project on Building and Enhancing Sectoral and Cross-sectoral capacity to support sustainable resource use and biodiversity conservation in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, one of the child projects under the Global Environment Facility-funded Common Oceans Programme, received the GEF CEO endorsement for financing. The Global Ocean Forum will lead the execution of the project which is scheduled to start in December 2022, together with implementing agency UNEP, and executing partners UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, GRID-Arendal, Comisión Permanente del Pacífico Sur, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat/OPOC, University of the South Pacific, and Universidad Católica del Norte.

Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain Memorial Fund

The Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain Memorial Fund campaign, launched by the Global Ocean Forum in December 2021 to support the development of an internship and fellowship program, has surpassed its goal. Additional contributions are welcome.

A celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain among colleagues, family, and friends will be held on September 4, 2022, at the Decatur House in Washington DC. In addition to remarks commemorating the life and works of Biliana, the event will feature the announcement about the Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain Fellowship Program. For more information on the event, please contact Ms. Vanessa Cicin-Sain Knecht (vcs.knecht@gmail.com).

Ocean Gallery: St. Lucia

LaVerne Walker, GOF Policy Advisory Board member, provided a teaser on the lovely views of the coast of St. Lucia.

Prepared by Miriam Balgos and Johanna Vonderhorst

St. Lucia

From the calm seas of the Caribbean Sea, to the higher wave energy of the Atlantic Ocean coast, these pictures show a glimpse of Saint Lucia’s coastal areas. A country once called the Helen of the West. Laverne Walker shares some pictures from her island nation.

© LaVerne Walker

Ocean & Climate News

December 24, 2021

Welcome to the final issue of Ocean & Climate News for 2021. We report on the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion, the ROCA report on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action: 2020-2021, a COP26 side event on Ocean solutions: Coordination and collaboration for ocean-based mitigation and adaptation, and other Global Ocean Forum news. But first, the important ocean-related outcomes of COP26…

After a decade of joint initiatives by the ocean-climate community to promote the recognition of the importance of oceans in the climate change process and ambition under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, we welcome the incorporation of the ocean into the text of the COP26 outcome document Glasgow Climate Pact, which:

  • Welcomes the informal summary reports by the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice on the ocean and climate change dialogue to consider how to strengthen adaptation and mitigation action and on the dialogue on the relationship between land and climate change adaptation related matters (Paragraph 58)
  • Invites the relevant work programmes and constituted bodies under the UNFCCC to consider how to integrate and strengthen ocean-based action in their existing mandates and workplans and to report on these activities within the existing reporting processes, as appropriate (Paragraph 60)
  • Invites the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice to hold an annual dialogue, starting at the fifty-sixth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (June 2022), to strengthen ocean-based action and to prepare an informal summary report thereon and make it available to the Conference of the Parties at its subsequent session (Paragraph 61).

See the COP26 outcome document here.

Virtual Ocean Pavilion

The COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion was the product of a coordinated effort among the Global Ocean Forum, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the Oceano Azul Foundation, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO under the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative, along with 30 collaborating partners. The Pavilion was live from October 31 until November 12, 2021, and served as a platform for the amplification of the voice of the ocean and for raising the visibility of ocean issues during climate negotiations at COP26. Due to the virtual nature of the Pavilion, which was held fully online, the Pavilion was able to reach a wider audience, including those who were unable to attend the COP in person due to COVID-19. Over 1900 registrants logged in during the COP to attend live events and to view the wealth of on-demand content available in the VOP’s Treasure Trove and 26 organizer booths. The Virtual Ocean Pavilion can be accessed here. The COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion post-event summary report and survey as well as a press release are available here. On-demand access to the VOP has been extended until March 12, 2022.

ROCA Report on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action: 2020-2021

The 2020-2021 Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative Report on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action is a multi-organizational effort involving over 60 contributors from over 30 collaborating organizations. Launched on November 1 during the opening of the Virtual Ocean Pavilion, this final volume in an annual series of assessments provides a compilation of evidence for a growing recognition from various sectoral and stakeholder initiatives in science, policy development, financing and other cross-cutting efforts of the importance of oceans in the climate change process and ambition under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. See the full report here.

COP26 Side Event

The International Coastal and Ocean Organization (secretariat of the Global Ocean Forum), Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the World Ocean Network, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean,the Oceano Azul Foundation, and Acadia University co-organized a COP26 side event on coordination and collaboration for ocean-based mitigation and adaptation held on November 4, 2021. This event showcased the effectiveness of action-driven, trans-disciplinary science and cross-sectoral collaboration in helping stakeholders to adapt to the climate-induced challenges placed on the ocean and to improve sustainable development, reduce emissions, and limit global warming. See the side event agenda here. A video recording of the event can be viewed here.

Global Ocean Forum & Other News

Cross-sectoral ABNJ Project

Preparation of the UNEP/GEF project on Building and Enhancing Sectoral and Cross-Sectoral Capacity to Support Sustainable Resource Use and Biodiversity Conservation in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (Cross-Sectoral ABNJ Project) under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Common Oceans Program Phase II has completed and is now under GEF review for final approval. The project, which is expected to commence implementation in the fall of 2022 with the GOF as the lead executing agency, aims to develop and strengthen capacity for sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination among national, regional and global institutions in the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ. For more information about this project and other projects under the Common Oceans Program Phase II, please visit the program website here.

GOF Strategic Planning Process and New Policy Advisory Board

The Global Ocean Forum is honored to announce the formation of its new Policy Advisory Board consisting of 36 ocean experts. Members of the Policy Advisory Board come from diverse backgrounds and offer expertise in ocean and climate issues, marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, integrated ocean and coastal management, and the blue economy at the global, regional, national, and civil society levels. Meetings were held on November 24 and November 25, 2021 to welcome the new members and to discuss the Strategic Planning process to be led by the Policy Advisory Board moving forward in the coming months. See the list of Policy Advisory Board members here.

Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain Memorial Fund

The Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain Memorial Fund was launched at the beginning of this month with the objective of supporting future graduate and undergraduate research fellows in continuation of Dr. Cicin-Sain’s mission to foster the professional growth and development of students in the marine policy field. Donations can be made through the Fund page on the Global Ocean Forum website.

One Ocean Summit, 9 – 11 February 2022, Brest, France

Organized by the French government, the One Ocean Summit is an international summit on the ocean which will focus on related topics that include: Maritime heritage and museums: Changing the way we look at the Ocean; Women, voices for the Ocean: Women conquering the seas; Greening maritime corridors: Ships of the future; Cities tackling sea level rise; Great ports green energy transition for a sustainable development; and Education on the sea: Ocean for youth. For more information about the Summit, contact Ms. Anaïs Deprez (outreach@ocean-climate.org), Ocean and Climate Platform.

Prepared by Johanna Vonderhorst and Miriam Balgos

Ocean & Climate News

October 15, 2021

Photo credit: Jayne Jenkins / Ocean Image Bank

The Global Ocean Forum and partners are pleased to invite you to join the ocean and climate community in promoting the oceans agenda at the UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow, UK from 31 October to 12 November 2021 through the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion.

Connecting All on Our Incredible Blue Planet
31 October – 12 November 2021

Register to access live and on–demand COP26 ocean events, explore virtual exhibition booths and discover the Treasure Trove to learn more about the ocean and climate connection.

Watch. Inquire. Share. Connect. Act.

This COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion is dedicated to showcasing why the ocean matters in climate negotiations and to all life on our planet. It aims to increase knowledge, commitment and action for the ocean-climate nexus at the UN Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this November.


Registration is free and will provide you with online access to live ocean events on November 1, 5, and 12 and on-demand content from 31 October – 12 November. All you will need is a Wi-Fi connection and a smart phone, tablet, or computer.


This pavilion will:

  1. Highlight important ocean events, such as those planned by the UNFCCC Secretariat under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MP-GCA), and VOP collaborating partners;
  2. Host panel sessions linking the ocean with the themes of the GCA events and SBSTA Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue themes to provide input to these discussions;
  3. Feature interviews with Party negotiators and representatives of non-Party stakeholders to gain insights on the status of discussions;
  4. Provide a gateway to ocean and climate stories from around the world through virtual exhibits, on-demand videos, reports and other online resources.

Gateway to COP26 Ocean Events

We invite you to register your COP26 ocean-related events in the Ocean Events Tracker Smartsheet Forms organized by the Ocean Conservancy. Entries will become part of a calendar of ocean events accessible through the Virtual Ocean Pavilion and based on information gathered through the Tracker.


Coordinated by the Global Ocean Forum, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Ocean Policy Research Institute (OPRI) of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, the Oceano Azul Foundation, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO under the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative, in collaboration with many other partners from across the globe.

Report on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action 2020-2021

This report, which is the final volume in an annual series of assessments of ocean and climate science, policy, and action organized by the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative, will be launched during the opening of the Virtual Ocean Pavilion on November 1.

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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