On Wednesday morning, participants to the Marine Regions Forum met in parallel dialogue sessions. In the afternoon, the closing plenary convened under the theme “Accelerating progress, creating new pathways,” moderated by Alexander Müller, Managing Director, TMG - Think Tank for Sustainability, and Sébastien Treyer, Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). Keynote presentations were delivered by Svenja Schulze, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety, Germany, and Bernhardt Esau, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Namibia.
A dialogue session on “Delivering the Ocean SDG: accelerating progress” explored options for expediting integrated implementation of SDG 14 and other ocean-related goals. Karina Barquet, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), presented the SDG Synergies Approach, including a methodology and tool aiming to track how targets influence each other in positive and negative ways. Jeremy Hills, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), presented a methodology for accelerating the delivery of SDGs, including intervention scenarios developed on the basis of identified interlinkages. Participants then conducted two roundtable exercises, one to explore interactions among different targets, and the second to plan policy interventions taking benefits from the identified interactions.
A dialogue session titled “Towards coherent and connected marine protected area (MPA) networks: From challenges to possible solutions in high seas governance” heard from Carolina Hazin, BirdLife International, who presented on seabird research informing conservation action and ocean governance. She showed how a number of bird species spend significant time in areas beyond national jurisdiction, underscoring the need for a coherent network of MPAs within, across, and beyond national jurisdiction. Ben Boteler, IASS, emphasized that a coherent MPA network entails representativeness, replication, and connectivity, and that currently only 1.18 % of areas beyond national jurisdiction are covered by MPAs. In the ensuing discussion, participants discussed examples of existing scientific bodies and science-policy interfaces, and issues related to the negotiations on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).
In a dialogue session on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030, Martin Visbeck, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, highlighted the Decade’s objectives, and challenges related to under-financed ocean science, weak governance, and unevenly distributed capacity around the globe. Robert Glazer, Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, and Gaetano Leone, UN Environment - Barcelona Convention Secretariat, highlighted challenges in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean regions, respectively. Participants addressed issues including: building national capacities for implementation and action; communicating ocean science; and lack of access to the high seas by developing countries.
A dialogue session on enhancing the role of regions in global ocean assessments heard from Ana Tejedor Arceredillo, European Environment Agency, on the European perspective; Kyle Fawkes, Future Earth Coasts, on the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment; and Val Cummins, Future Earth Coasts, on the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
In the closing plenary, Svenja Schulze highlighted climate change-related threats to the oceans, and drew attention to MPA networks in the high seas as a tool to increase resilience. She further pointed to the “huge risks” related to deep-sea mining and the imperative for international regulation before any activity takes place. Bernhardt Esau called for a legally binding instrument to tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the high seas, and for eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies in the negotiations under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Alexander Müller and Sébastien Treyer then presented organizers’ draft conclusions, noting the Forum’s objective was to provide an informal space for a genuine exchange between stakeholder communities. They pointed to the role of regions in filling the gap between global agreements and local action, and emphasized the importance of the regional level in supporting national voices calling for conservation in face of adversity.
A panel discussion featured: Jens Frølich Holte, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway; Maria Damanaki, Global Managing Director Oceans, The Nature Conservancy; Árni Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN; Angelique Pouponneau, Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust; and Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany.
The Marine Regions Forum closed at 3:41 pm.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis
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+ Visit the web coverage for Wednesday, 2 October 2019
On Tuesday morning, participants to the Marine Regions Forum met in parallel dialogue sessions. In the afternoon, the plenary focused on the role of marine regions in post-2020 ocean governance.
A dialogue session on enhancing regional cooperation for ocean-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) discussed different regional models that take into account synergies and trade-offs between SDG 14 and other SDGs. Sebastian Unger, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), called for reflection on: promoting visibility for the regional level in global discussions; and using the SDGs as an integration driver to improve regional governance. David Obura, CORDIO East Africa, presented on the SDGs as a narrative for identifying synergies across scales. Yoshinobu Takei, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), provided an overview of developments leading up to the 2020 UN Ocean Conference. The session also featured regional-level case studies and roundtable discussions on lessons learned from different regional models.
A dialogue session on tackling climate problems with ocean solutions discussed challenges for advancing ocean-based climate solutions and identifying tangible options for increased regional cooperation. Jean-Pierre Gattuso, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), presented findings from an assessment of ocean-based measures, such as ocean-based renewable energy or coastal vegetation to enhance greenhouse gas storage. Abou Bamba, Abidjan Convention Secretariat, shared experiences from the adoption of the Calabar Protocol on Sustainable Mangrove Management, noting it is the first international legal instrument dedicated to mangroves.
A dialogue session on mobilizing regional stakeholders for the “Blue COP” focused on concrete solutions for better integrating ocean issues in the climate regime. Kristian Teleki, World Resources Institute, provided a snapshot of the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit and shared findings from a recent report by the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Joanna Post, Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), pointed to relevant UNFCCC processes to address ocean issues and indicated that the 2019 Nairobi Work Programme Focal Point Forum taking place during COP 25 will focus on oceans.
In a dialogue session on weaving science with traditional knowledge, Elle Merete Omma, Saami Council, spoke about the Ottawa Principles and the understanding of the Arctic Council that indigenous knowledge and science are “different yet complementary systems and sources of knowledge.” Participants explored topics including: how traditional knowledge integration at regional level contributes to a stronger ocean governance; and mechanisms, tools, and principles needed to better integrate traditional knowledge into science-policy processes.
In a keynote address to plenary, Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presented key findings of the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, via video message, stressed the need for a radical transformation of consumption and production patterns, and noted that the Marine Regions Forum can be central to the development of a strategic approach bringing together different ocean-related processes while recognizing specific regional priorities and needs.
Waldemar Coutts, Ambassador of Chile to Norway and Iceland, drew attention to the integration of ocean issues at the upcoming climate COP. David Johnson, Coordinator of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, shared views on integration of marine issues in the discussions on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Charlotte Karibuhoye, MAVA Foundation, West Africa, stressed challenges in western African countries, including lack of capacity to domesticate and implement existing regional instruments on coastal management and fisheries. Andreas Papaconstantinou, European Commission, highlighted that the ocean will remain a priority on the EU agenda, including in terms of research funding. Kristina Gjerde, IUCN, reflected on the status of negotiations on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and emphasized establishing a strong mandate for reporting on regional progress at the global level.
Sébastien Treyer, Executive Director, IDDRI, concluded the discussion highlighting that 2020 is a year of opportunity for regional organizations, while challenges involve leadership, implementation mechanisms, and strategic use of knowledge.
+ Visit the web coverage for Tuesday, 1 October 2019
On Monday, participants to the Marine Regions Forum met in an opening plenary aiming to: highlight priority issues that need to be addressed to restore ocean health; emphasize opportunities to accelerate transformative change; and demonstrate how marine regions can enable cooperation across territorial and sectoral boundaries.
Moderator Alexander Müller, Managing Director, Think Tank for Sustainability (TMG), stressed that marine regions are key to address the interconnected challenges of ocean sustainability and explained how focus on a regional approach can support implementation of SDG 14 and other ocean-related SDGs. Klaus Töpfer, Founding Director, TMG, highlighted the role of new generations and stressed the need to break silos and integrate science and policy in ocean governance. Regina Dube, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany, drew attention to Germany’s experience in cooperation with regional seas conventions, and called for a strong role for regional cooperation under a global body for the governance of the high seas.
In a video message, Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, stressed that regional ocean governance provides the link between national rights and responsibilities and international objectives and duties, adding that the Marine Regions Forum closes a critical gap in ocean governance.
Inger Andersen, UN Environment (UNEP) Executive Director, stressed that, to protect oceans, the international community needs to: ensure entry into effect of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; promote sustainable fisheries, including through ending subsidies at the negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO); address pollution beyond plastics, and invest in circular economy; and restore coastal ecosystems.
Antje Boetius, Director, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, cautioned against overly reducing complexity, noting the risk of disregarding important interlinkages between ocean-related issues. David Obura, Director, Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO), highlighted significant regional variations, not only in terms of environmental impacts but also regarding means of implementation.
In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, among other issues: expectations regarding the negotiations on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ); how local actors can support regional governance; the possible benefits of setting short-term goals; consequences of deep-sea mining; and the role of marine biodiversity in tackling climate change.
Sébastien Treyer, Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Development and International relations (IDDRI), and Patrizia Nanz, Scientific Director, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), noted the Forum’s goals, including: providing a space for exchange of experiences between regions and stakeholders; promoting new developments within marine regions; and forwarding the conclusions to key global processes, including the BBNJ negotiations, the 2020 UN Conference on SDG 14, the negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, as well as relevant regional processes.
In the afternoon, participants met in dialogue sessions under three themes:
On achieving SDG 14, a session on putting plans into action focused on implementation of marine litter action plans. Participants shared lessons learned, aiming to understand regional challenges and achievements and discussed new solutions at the regional and global scale.
On underpinning global processes, a session on areas beyond national jurisdiction discussed the contribution of existing regional instruments, aiming to develop concrete proposals for strengthening the role of regional approaches for the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ under a strong global agreement. Two additional sessions discussed: the key findings from the special report on the ocean and cryosphere of the Intergovernmenal Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and policy and economic challenges created by fisheries on the move.
On knowledge for ocean action, a session on building regional science-policy interfaces aimed at introducing and reflecting upon the mechanisms behind existing interfaces.
In the evening, a reception that included an artistic intervention with school children, took place at the venue.
+ Visit the web coverage for Monday, 30 September 2019