News

Portugal

The Protected Areas of the Azores includes marine protected areas that are part of the natural capital of the Azores archipelago. See here for the Blue Azores Program, an initiative within the framework of a memorandum of understanding among the Regional Government of the Azores, the Oceano Azul Foundation and the Waitt Institute, which focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of resources in the Azores.

Taking timeout from the Ocean Azul Foundation, Sam Collins spent some essential days to regroup in the Azores.

Sri Lanka

The beaches of Sri Lanka are popular for their beauty and scenery. The country has been in the news recently because of the possibility that a fire-ravaged cargo ship (MV X-Press Pearl) slowly sinking off its coast about 9.5 nautical miles northwest of Colombo is leaking oil. It was reported that the fire, which erupted on May 20, destroyed most of the ship’s cargo, which included 25 tons of nitric acid and other chemicals. There are concerns that debris from the fire has already polluted nearby beaches and that a spill of residual chemicals and oil from the ship could devastate marine life. See here and here for more information about this story.

Ocean and Climate News

Boracay, Philippines © Sheila Paycana

Welcome to the June 2021 issue of Ocean and Climate News. This issue covers planning of ocean events in the lead-up to the Glasgow climate conference (UNFCCC COP26), this year’s celebration of World Oceans Day, and some of the latest international news on oceans. But first, some recent news on the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Besides widespread disappointment and the ripple of effects due to the cancellation of major ocean-related events scheduled for 2020, who would have thought that among the impacts of the pandemic was the restriction of public access to the beaches in an unprecedented way?  See a global status on beach closures due to the pandemic more than a year ago. Relaxation of strictures is viewed with wariness due to increases in new COVID-19 cases in some areas while there are other causes of remaining restrictions in other US states, e.g., weather-related or bacterial contamination.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been widely used, and discarded PPE has been seen in many different environments, including on tourist beaches. Face masks are encroaching on tourist beaches – see some recommendations on PPE proper use and disposal for the outdoor seasons.

Like everything that is snatched from us, we long for their return and realize how important oceans are for their aesthetic, ecological as well as existential value. For some, working remotely from tourist spots including island destinations has become a life saving option. See a photo gallery from an ocean sojourner here.

UN World Oceans Day

A Brief History of World Oceans Day

The United Nations first declared June 8th as Oceans Day in 1992 at the Global Forum in Rio de Janeiro, an event organized to facilitate dialogue between NGOs and civil society on environmental issues at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Subsequently, worldwide observation of Oceans Day expanded to encompass a wide range of oceans issues from implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to international shipping and maritime security to biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and climate change concerns. In 2008, sixteen years after the initial declaration, a formal resolution by the UN General Assembly designated June 8 as “World Oceans Day.” The following year, the first official UN World Oceans Day was observed under the theme of Our Oceans, Our Responsibility, and contributed to an increase in awareness of ocean-related concerns that had emerged over the preceding decade and a half. In 2017, marking the 25th anniversary of the first Oceans Day in 1992, the UN Ocean Conference was held in support of the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 14 for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. This year, World Oceans Day will be held in a fully virtual format for the second year in a row in an effort to reach a global audience while simultaneously taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

UN World Oceans Day 2021

This year’s official event, produced by the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UN DOALOS) and partners Oceanic Global, Blancpain, and La Mer, will follow the theme of The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods to highlight the life-sustaining capabilities of the world’s oceans both for humanity and for all nonhuman beings.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is organizing a high-level virtual celebration of World Oceans Day and entrepreneurship. The event, World Oceans Day 2021 Celebration: A Conversation with the UNDP 2020 Ocean, will feature the first cohort of ocean innovators from the Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) launched in January 2020 to identify, finance, mentor, and pilot innovative cross-cutting approaches to reducing marine pollution.

The International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance) will host a two-day event with webinars on June 8 and 10 to raise awareness of and inspire global action to combat climate-ocean change and its impacts on food security, marine ecosystems, and efforts to build a sustainable ocean economy. The June 8 webinar, co-hosted by The Ocean Foundation, will focus on Sustainable Development Goal 14.3, “Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification.” The June 10 webinar, co-hosted by Peace Boat US, will focus on art, education, and outreach as methods for advancing global climate and ocean action.

The WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute will also host a World Oceans Day webinar addressing the topic of sustainable solutions to ocean and climate challenges. In addition to a line-up of renowned professors and ocean researchers, the webinar will conclude with an address by Professor David Freestone, Executive Secretary of the Sargasso Sea Commission, and a book launch for Frontiers in International Environmental Law: Oceans and Climate Challenges – Essays in Honour of David Freestone.

The Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) is organizing a roundtable dialogue Towards a Blue Economy Pathway for the East Asian Seas to be held on 8 June 2021 (World Oceans Day) aimed at supporting collaborative actions to harness blue economy initiatives in post-pandemic recovery plans. The event is the first of a series of collabs that will culminate in the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2021 (1-2 December 2021, Cambodia).

More Recent News

SBSTA Chair Summary Report of Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue

The SBSTA Chair summary report from the Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue to consider how to strengthen adaptation and mitigation action (2-3 Dec 2020) has been published and available from the event webpage and directly here. Find the press release here; Twitter tweet here; Facebook post here.

Conservation International, along with IUCN, Rare, WWF, and other partners prepared a policy brief with key messages to inform the Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue and ocean-climate efforts and actions toward the upcoming UNFCCC COP26 and beyond. The outcomes of the Dialogue include, among others, all recommendations set forth in the brief. CI, IUCN, Rare, and WWF, like the rest of the ocean-climate community, are keen to develop recommendations for further ocean action within relevant agenda items, constituted bodies and work programs under the UNFCCC.

Ocean and Coastal Zones at COP26

In the run-up to UNFCCC COP26 (1-12 November 2021, Glasgow), the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action (MP-GCA) Ocean and Coastal Zones thematic group is planning a number of collaborative actions and activities. In recent months, led by pathway co-focal points IUCN and IOC-UNESCO, the group has built its Climate Action Pathway 2021 to mobilize all actors of civil society in greening the big blue through nature-based solutions. The Ocean and Coastal Zones group is working closely with the High-Level Climate Champions to boost ambition through concrete actions as part of the Race-to-Zero and Race-to-Resilience campaigns which rally to action non-state players, including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions.

The co-focal points for the MP-GCA Ocean and Coastal Zones group (Ocean & Climate Platform and Conservation International) are organizing an inclusive workshop at the end of June to mobilize non-state actors and collectively define joint messages to voice the importance of the ocean-climate nexus at COP26. More details on the workshop agenda will be provided by Tamara Thomas (tthomas@conservation.org) and Loreley Picourt (lpicourt@ocean-climate.org) in due course.

A Virtual Ocean Pavilion at COP26 is being organized. For more information on the VOP, contact Miriam Balgos (mbalgos@globaloceanforum.com), or Carol Turley (ct@pml.ac.uk) and Thecla Keizer (tk@pml.ac.uk) of Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

A report prepared by a group of conservation organizations, Unpacking the UNFCCC Global Stocktake for Ocean-Climate Action, analyzed the crucial role of the ocean, coastal and marine NbS as part of the UNFCCC Global Stocktake, a worldwide assessment of progress achieved towards the Paris Agreement goals.

ICP-21

The Twenty-first meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (ICP-21, 14 to 18 June 2021) will focus its discussions on the topic Sea-level Rise and its Impacts. A briefing of delegations on logistics and pending issues for ICP-21 was held on May 28.

BBNJ Process

The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Conference 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 (IGC-4) will be held from 16 to 27 August 2021.

A Dialogue Workshop on The Role of Regional Cooperation Efforts for the High Seas of the Southeast Pacific of the STRONG High Seas Project took place on 26-27 May 2021.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), GRID-Arendal, and the Global Ocean Forum are collaborating in the preparation of a project on Building and Enhancing Sectoral and Cross-Sectoral Capacity to Support Sustainable Resource Use and Biodiversity Conservation in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (The Cross-Sectoral Capacity Development Project, Common Oceans Program, Phase II). This project, to be implemented by UNEP, is part of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) intervention on ABNJ through the Common Oceans Program led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), and will focus its implementation in the Southeast Pacific and the Pacific Islands region in collaboration with the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat.

UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

The implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is in full swing since its launch in January 2021. To understand the Decade in brief, see the The Decade Brochure, and here to keep track of the Decade activities. Today (Tuesday, 1 June 2021), the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkır, convened a High-Level Thematic Debate on the Ocean and Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is scheduled to launch from 4-5 June 2021, comprising of inspiring messages from world leaders, activists, celebrities, and musical performances as well as the programme of the World Environment Day 2021 (5 June 2021) host country (Pakistan).

Prepared by Miriam Balgos and Johanna Vonderhorst.

GOF convened Ocean Planning Meeting for UNFCCC COP26 Glasgow, 26 February 2021

This meeting was organized by the Global Ocean Forum and partners within the framework of the Roadmap to Ocean and Climate Action (ROCA) Initiative, which is a multi-stakeholder initiative involving governments, international agencies, NGOs, scientific institutions, private sector, and subnational authorities to advance the oceans and climate agenda (especially in the UNFCCC, the UN Ocean Conference, and in other United Nations fora), and at the national level in all countries. The meeting aimed to foster the exchange of information on plans and perspectives on the way forward in advancing the ocean agenda at COP26 as well as the sharing of ideas on how to coordinate participating organizations’ initiatives for better synergy and integration of efforts. Over 40 participants representing 24 organizations participated in the meeting.

COP26 Ocean Planning Meeting Report

GOF prepares new GEF/UNEP project on Cross-Sectoral Capacity Development in ABNJ

Together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and GRID-Arendal, the Global Ocean Forum is collaborating in the preparation of a project on Building and Enhancing Sectoral and Cross-Sectoral Capacity to Support Sustainable Resource Use and Biodiversity Conservation in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (The Cross-Sectoral Capacity Development Project, Common Oceans Program, Phase II). This project, to be implemented by UNEP, is part of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) intervention on ABNJ through the Common Oceans Program led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). To be executed by the GOF, WCMC, and GRID-Arendal, together with regional organizations in two pilot regions, this project 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. Specifically, the project will build the capacity of regional organizations (e.g., inter alia, Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs), Regional Seas Programmes (RSPs), Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) programs), their Member States (officials, managers, ministerial representatives), and representatives from global ocean-related organizations, to facilitate cross-sectoral coordination to achieve sustainable ocean use.

The project builds on the outcomes and outputs of the Capacity Project and the Deep Sea Project under the Common Oceans Program Phase I.

Participants of the 2016 ABNJ Regional Leaders Program under the Capacity Project.

The project, which is expected to start in 2022, will have two components:

  1. Building and strengthening capacity for sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination in ABNJ in two pilot regions.

The project will enhance functional capacity of national, regional and global organizations in sectoral and cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination initiatives in ABNJ management. In particular, the project would like to improve capacity for enhanced application of area-based management tools (ABMTs), environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and marine spatial planning in the pilot regions.

  1. Improving sectoral and cross-sectoral knowledge management on and public awareness of ABNJ in the pilot regions.

The project will demonstrate effective knowledge exchange and improved access to the best available information for well-informed decision-making in cross-sectoral cooperation and coordination among key ABNJ management organizations (national, regional and global). The project will aim to put in place a cross-organizational knowledge exchange process tested in each pilot region.

For more information about this project, contact:

Isabelle Vanderbeck, UNEP (isabelle.vanderbeck@un.org)
Miriam Balgos, Global Ocean Forum (mbalgos@globaloceanforum.com)
Nina Bhola, UNEP-WCMC (Nina.Bhola@unep-wcmc.org)
Louise Lieberknecht, GRID-Arendal (louise.lieberknecht@grida.no)

Biliana Cicin-Sain, Visionary Ocean Leader and Entrepreneur

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

It is with great personal sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain. Our beloved leader and friend passed away last Tuesday, 1 September 2020 as a result of lung cancer. 

Biliana was a leader in the field of integrated coastal and ocean governance, both in the United States and around the world, and has forged international collaboration among various sectors of the international oceans community to advance the global oceans agenda. She was also a passionate leader in promoting the role of oceans in climate change mitigation and adaptation through multi-stakeholder initiatives involving governments, international agencies, NGOs, scientific institutions, private sector, and subnational authorities especially in the UNFCCC, the UN Ocean Conference, and in other United Nations fora.

Biliana received her doctoral degree in political science from UCLA and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University. In addition to her roles as director of the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy and professor of Marine Policy at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth and Marine Studies, she was editor-in-chief of the international journal Ocean & Coastal Management. She was also a professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations and in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Delaware.

Biliana was the organizer, co-chair and head of secretariat of the Global Ocean Forum, initially mobilized in 2001 to place issues related to oceans, coasts and island states on the agenda of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and to agree on a detailed set of global ocean targets and timelines. With Biliana’s farseeing direction, the Global Ocean Forum has: 

1. Filled an important gap in tracking progress achieved (or lack thereof) on major ocean-related goals, bringing together national and international data on the range of issues related to oceans, especially regarding the cross-cutting goals (integrated, ecosystem-based management) through the Global Oceans Conferences and other multi-stakeholder meetings;

2. Stimulated the achievement of strong ocean outcomes at major global level political fora, including the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the 2012 Rio+20 Conference;

3. Built an inclusive and mutually-supportive global network of ocean policy leaders from 110 countries, facilitating cross-sectoral linkages, informal diplomacy, and goodwill among the ocean community;

4. Mobilized high-level political attention on critical ocean and climate issues in the context of the UN climate negotiations, serving to heighten political attention on previously-ignored ocean issues in this important global forum; and 

5. Fostered some of the first cross-sectoral dialogue on the emerging issue of areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), and continues to foster discussion and analysis on current developments as well as build capacity among various actors in this issue area. The GOF is actively involved in a supportive role as part of civil society, in the Intergovernmental Conference 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).

Biliana’s work on ocean management and governance has been recognized through various awards, including 2019 Prince Albert I of Monaco Grand Prize of Marine Sciences; 2018 Pioneer of the High Seas, French National Sea Center, France; 2017 Champion of the Ocean award, Monmouth University; 2010 Laureate for the Elizabeth Haub Award for Environmental Diplomacy; 2010 honorary doctorate in maritime law by Korea Maritime University; 2007 US Coastal Zone Foundation Award; 2007 Elizabeth Mann Borgese Meerespreis (Prize of the Sea), Germany; 2002 co-recipient of the Ocean and Coastal Stewardship Award (US).

On a personal level, we all remember Biliana’s love for dancing, travel, and good wine. She leaves behind beloved daughter Vanessa, son-in-law Ryan, and granddaughter Pippa. The GOF family will never be the same without her warm camaraderie and faithful friendship.

Her family has created a website (celebrationofbilianaslifeandlegacy.com) where you can express your thoughts and wishes for Biliana and her family. This site will also serve as the platform for the planning of a future event to celebrate Biliana’s life, work, and global leadership as soon as current circumstances related to the Covid pandemic have improved.

With great respect, fondest memories and deepest affection.

International Coastal and Ocean Organization (Secretariat of the Global Ocean Forum)

Board of Directors:

Dr. Chua Thia-Eng, former Director, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) 

Mr. Richard Delaney, President and CEO, Center for Coastal Studies, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Dr. David Freestone, Executive Secretary, Sargasso Sea Commission

Dr. Indumathie Hewawasam, former Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank

Dr. Magnus Ngoile, former Policy and Governance Coordinator, Agulhas and Somali Currents Large Marine Ecosystems (ASCLME) Project, and founding member and first President/Chair of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)

Mr. Philippe Vallette, Director General of Nausicaa, National Centre of the Sea (Centre National de la Mer, Boulogne-sur-Mer), France

Ms. Vanessa Cicin-Sain Knecht, Strategic Leadership, Global Ocean Forum

Dr. Miriam Balgos, Senior Associate, Global Ocean Forum

Biliana Cicin-Sain: A People and Oceans Journey
An Introduction for her 2007 Elizabeth Mann Borgese Meerespreis
(Prize of the Sea) Award

Informal Meeting of Friends of BBNJ Capacity Development and Related Capacity Development Efforts

An Informal Meeting of Friends of BBNJ Capacity Development was held on Tuesday, August 27 2019, 18:15 to 19:45 in Room S-1522FC/S-1523FC, 15th Floor, UN Secretariat. Convened by the Global Ocean Forum and the State of Palestine, the event drew 52 Member States, UN agencies, and civil society participants to actively consider and act on ways of ad­vancing capacity building with adequate financing in the BBNJ process. Please find the official leaflet of the informal meeting here.

A well-structured BBNJ capacity building system involving global, regional, and national levels, and with adequate and stable financial support, will be essential for achieving the major purposes of the BBNJ Agreement. Capacity Development and Technology Transfer, the fourth major issue being addressed in the BBNJ process, is in fact, the “enabler” of the other three major issues (marine genetic resources and access to benefit sharing, area-based manage­ment, and environmental impact assessment).

The meeting provided an informal opportunity for discussing how an informal “Friends” group could assist Member States in achieving, and ultimately implementing, a set of ambitious capac­ity building measures in the International Agreement, by, e.g.: 1. Providing additional infor­mation/knowledge/research on issues requiring additional clarification; 2. Providing a forum for informal discussion of the issues; 3. Promoting pathways for the identification and eventual mobilization of resources from public and private sources to support capacity development and technology transfer. Please find the draft questions discussed at the meeting here.

Please find the official summary report of the meeting here.

Friends of BBNJ Capacity Event 27 Aug 2019 (c).jpeg

The meeting referenced two multi-author, multi-institutional Policy Briefs on capacity development:

–A Policy Brief on Capacity Development as a Key Aspect of a New International Agreement on Marine Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)

–A Policy Brief on Capacity Development for Implementing the BBNJ Agreement:  Possible Modalities for Addressing Area-Based Management, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Marine Genetic Resources in the Context of Climate Change 

Please find a summary of the two Policy Briefs on Capacity Development here.

A brief overview/synopsis of the GEF/FAO/GOF project on Strengthening Global Capacity to Effectively Manage Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) can be found here.

For further information about the Friends of BBNJ Capacity or the two Policy Briefs and related capacity development efforts, please contact Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, Global Ocean Forum (bilianacicin-sain@globaloceans.org)

Acknowledgement for informal meeting  photography and photos is owed to Iwao Fujii, Ocean Policy Research Institute of Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan.

SEORS event on Addressing the IPCC Findings Relevant to the Ocean and Climate Nexus

A SEORS event titled Addressing the IPCC Findings Relevant to the Ocean and Climate Nexus took place on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 from 18:30 to 20:00 in the Berlin Room at the World Conference Center Bonn during the Bonn UN Climate Change Conference June 2019 (SB 50).  Please find the official SEORS Leaflet here

The co-sponsors of the event include the International Coastal and Ocean Organization (ICO/Global Ocean Forum), IOC/UNESCO, the Government of Maldives, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK, Ocean Policy Research Institute, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan, and the Governments of Fiji, Sweden, Chile and Indonesia.

Please find a summary of the SEORS event here.

Please find PDFs of the PowerPoint presentations give at the SEORS event here.

Announcing Draft of Second Policy Brief on Capacity Development for Implementing the BBNJ Agreement and UN Side Event at the forthcoming BBNJ Intergovernmental Conference

To contribute to the forthcoming BBNJ negotiations, a Draft of the Policy Brief on Capacity Development for Implementing the BBNJ Agreement:  Possible Modalities for Addressing Area-Based Management, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Marine Genetic Resources in the Context of Climate Change has been prepared  within the framework of the GEF/FAO/GOF Common Oceans Project on Strengthening Global Capacity to Effectively Manage Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ).

The Draft Policy Brief will be launched at a United Nations Side Event to be held on 26 March 2019 (13:15 to 14:30, Conference Room A, UNHQ, New York) on BBNJ Capacity Development in the Context of Climate Change:  Possible Modalities for Implementing BBNJ Capacity Development Regarding Area-based Management, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Marine Genetic Resources, co-organized by the International Coastal and Ocean Organization (Secretariat of the Global Ocean Forum (GOF)), the Permanent Mission of Monaco to the United Nations, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, ATLAS, and the Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan. See the Side Event agenda here.

The Side Event builds on a multi-institutional Policy Brief on BBNJ Capacity Development presented at the First BBNJ session (https://bit.ly/2C0FuvD), this Side Event addresses possible modalities for capacity development on the other three major emphases of the BBNJ Agreement—area-based management (ABMTs), environmental impact assessment (EIAs), and marine genetic resources (MGRs), taking into consideration the possible impacts of climate change.  The ultimate purpose of the Side Event is to be of assistance to States in the BBNJ process in crafting an effective and well supported system of BBNJ capacity development and technology transfer—with beneficial linkages to EEZ management—bringing together global, regional, and national levels of governance. Please find the Side Event PowerPoints here.

Please find a summary of the Side Event here.

For further information about the Policy Brief, the UN Side Event, and related capacity development efforts, please contact Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, Global Ocean Forum (bilianacicin-sain@globaloceans.org)

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