September 8, 2023
Welcome to the September 2023 Special Issue of the Global Ocean Forum’s Ocean and Climate News. This Special Issue will focus on the Virtual Ocean Pavilion to be held at the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, UAE, and related ocean and coastal news.
What is the Virtual Ocean Pavilion
The Virtual Ocean Pavilion is an online platform dedicated to 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 for the ocean-climate nexus during and at key events in the run up to the UNFCCC COP.
The Pavilion aims to:
- Raise the profile of the ocean among members of the ocean and climate community
- Provide a communication platform for those who are unable to participate in COP, and other key ocean and climate conferences, in person from various parts of the world;
- Address COP priorities while promoting the space for ocean in the climate conference; and
- Promote cross-sectoral cooperation and collaboration on ocean-climate action at the national, regional, and global levels.
Highlights from the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion
The COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion was held from October 31 to November 12, 2021 during the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP26). With the overall coordination by the Global Ocean Forum in close partnership with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), it was co-organized by the GOF, PML, Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Oceano Azul Foundation, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO under the Roadmap to Oceans and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative together with 30 collaborating partners. The event drew 2929 registrations of which 1935 (66%) logged in to visit the Pavilion and participate in its various features for the duration of the Pavilion as well as post-event hosting that allowed on-demand use up to December 12, 2021.
The Pavilion offered the following features:
- Highlighting of 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, including the youth;
- Eight live events which featured eminent high level speakers from national and regional organizations, UN and IPCC representatives, ocean and climate experts, and youth leaders from around the world and twenty-six exhibition booths, which collaborating partners and sponsors used to share their activities and resources on ocean and climate action;
- 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;
- Feature interviews with Party negotiators to gain insights on the status of discussions;
- Online gateway to a unique collection of ocean and climate resources and stories from around the world through virtual exhibits, on-demand videos and reports.
The most-watched event in the Pavilion was a webinar on “Ocean & Adaptation, Resilience, and Mitigation” held on November 5, which featured expert presentations on the nexus between ocean and adaptation and resilience. This show-cased initiatives around the world focused on ocean-based solutions, including protecting and restoring marine habitats which are important natural buffers, capacity building, and other cross-cutting approaches.
Highlights from the COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion
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). With the overall coordination by the Global Ocean Forum in close partnership with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, it was co-organized by the GOF, PML, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 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 Pavilion offered the following features:
- Five live days and seventeen live sessions (with Wordly translation into multiple languages), including panel sessions linking the ocean with the themes of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue themes to provide input to these discussions as well as a live day on Aquatic Food, organized by the FAO, One Ocean Hub, and European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD), which was the first time that a day was dedicated to aquatic food during a climate conference;
- Thirty exhibits including booths on major ocean-related events in 2022 showcasing national and international initiatives on ocean and climate;
- Multiple opportunities for networking and developing synergies among attendees;
- Educational and fun features on the platform and in the booths;
- A gateway to ocean and climate stories from around the world;
- Links to other ocean events at and around the COP.
Plans for COP28 Virtual Ocean Pavilion
As in years past at COP26 and COP27, the Global Ocean Forum is excited to act as lead organizer for the Virtual Ocean Pavilion (VOP) at COP28 in close partnership with Plymouth Marine Laboratory and other collaborators. This year, the Global Ocean Forum aims to increase user engagement and elevate user experience. The functionality of the VOP will be streamlined through the removal of inefficient and/or unnecessary features, while new features, such as daily quizzes, will add a fun gamification element to the VOP.
There will be four live days, with plans for two live events associated with each live day’s theme, as detailed below:
- November 30 (Opening)
- December 8 (Youth, Children, Education and Skills)
- December 9 (Nature, Land Use and Oceans)
- December 12 (Final Negotiations)
For increased accessibility to the Virtual Ocean Pavilion events, Wordly translation in multiple languages will be made available during the live sessions. The platform will also be designed to send notifications to registered users to remind them of events in a timely manner with the aim of increasing attendance.
There will be twelve exhibit slots available for featuring in the Virtual Ocean Pavilion Exhibition Hall. The proposed exhibit must: 1) showcase initiatives that offer ocean-based solutions to climate change and its impacts; 2) provide a novel aspect or information to the Virtual Ocean Pavilion (which ideally has not been featured in past VOPs); and 3) aim to attract, inform and engage external actors, thus expanding ocean literacy and understanding that “we are all ocean stakeholders.”
If possible, exhibits should highlight intersections between the ocean and the goals laid out by the COP28 Presidency. These four paradigm shifts highlighted by the Presidency to deliver on the Paris Agreement should be considered:
- Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030;
- Transforming climate finance, by delivering on old promises and setting the framework for a new dealon finance;
- Putting nature, people, lives and livelihoods at the heart of climate action; and,
- Mobilizing for the most inclusive COP ever.
The Global Ocean Forum is now welcoming Expressions of Interest for potential pavilion co-organizers, exhibitors and live event hosts for the COP28 Virtual Ocean Pavilion at this time. For more information on the COP28 Virtual Ocean Pavilion, click here.
Other Ocean & Climate News
Reports from the Global Stocktake
The third meeting of the Global Stocktake’s (GST) technical dialogue (TD 1.3) took place from 6-13 June 2023 during the SB 58 sessions. The Summary Report focuses on how gaps in the implementation of the Paris Agreement can be bridged towards supporting an outcome of the first GST that informs Parties in updating and enhancing their climate actions and support as well as enhancing international cooperation for climate action and on identifying opportunities for action across all thematic areas of the GST.
On 8 September, 2023, the co-facilitators of the technical dialogue (TD) of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement (GST1) published the synthesis report on the UNFCCC website.
Continuing the Legacy of the ROCA Report
The Global Ocean Forum recently invited co-authors to contribute to the Report on Assessing Progress on Oceans and Climate Action 2022-2023 to be presented and distributed at the UNFCCC COP28 Dubai, UAE. The Progress Report is intended to provide information on the progress in various areas of the oceans and climate nexus on a biennial basis, continuing the legacy of reporting on the Roadmap to Ocean and Climate Action: 2016-2021 (ROCA) Initiative, which has concluded.
The Report on Assessing Progress on Oceans and Climate Action 2022-2023 will provide a summary of major developments in ocean and climate policy and action since the UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow, following the categories/themes established in the prior reports (see the reports here). Each section of the reports reviewed the recommendations from the ROCA Initiative and provided examples of action or other developments relevant to each action area. The reports had addressed six interrelated ocean and climate themes: the central role of oceans in regulating climate and associated science and policy issues; mitigation; adaptation, including Blue Economy approaches; displacement; financing, and capacity development. For each of the six themes noted above, the authors discussed: 1) the current status of the issue (and, as relevant, the science related to the issue); 2) the current state of play of the issue within the UNFCCC; 3) the opportunities and pathways that could be available within the UNFCCC to advance the issue; and 4) the opportunities and pathways that could be available outside of the UNFCCC to advance the issue.
The BBNJ Agreement and Climate Change Action Webinar
On 11 September 2023, the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI) and IUCN will be hosting a webinar which focuses on how the new agreement on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) can offer crucial support to climate solutions.
Climate Week NYC
Climate Week NYC is the largest annual climate event of its kind, bringing together some 400 events and activities across the City of New York – in person, hybrid and online. Each year, business leaders, political change makers, local decision takers and civil society representatives of all ages and backgrounds, from all over the world, gather to drive the transition, speed up progress, and champion change that is already happening.
Climate Week NYC is hosted by Climate Group, an international non-profit whose purpose is to drive climate action, fast. This year Climate Week NYC will be held from 17-24 September, 2023. The event takes place every year in partnership with the United Nations General Assembly and is run in coordination with the United Nations and the City of New York.
There will be several ocean-related events spanning the lead up to and duration of Climate Week NYC, including, but not limited to:
- Climate Hero: The ocean’s super-powered carbon pump
- Marine Species and Climate Change Panel
- Nature Positive Hub
In addition, on Monday and Tuesday, September 18 – 19, 2023, Climate Group will host The Hub Live, which will bring together influential leaders from business, government, and the climate sector. Day 1 (18 September) will focus on showcasing action, while Day 2 (19 September) will focus on the new frontiers of climate action
The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change: Updated Opportunities for Action
This event will launch the new report ‘The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change: Updated Opportunities for Action’ commissioned by the Ocean Panel, an update of the 2019 report ‘The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change: Five Opportunities for Action’. The report reassesses the mitigation potential of ocean-based actions towards closing the ‘emissions gap’ relative to a 1.5°C pathway by 2050.
Members of the author team, Ocean Panel representatives and other experts will share reflections on the opportunities and challenges for accelerating ocean-based climate action. They will highlight possible policies and measures to support implementation in country, the needs for finance through to further research, and how ocean-climate action contributes to the Ocean Panel’s goal of 100% sustainable ocean management to realize the holistic range of benefits ocean climate solutions offer.
Prepared by Sarah Davidson, Catie Mitchell, and Miriam Balgos