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Workshop: Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?

14 September 2016 | Washingtonc, DC, US

Highlights for Wednesday, 14 September 2016

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CoverageAbout | 14 Sep
A view of the White House, Washington Monument and Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Waldemar Coutts, Ambassador, Director of Environment and Oceanic Affairs, Chile (standing), opens the workshop while opening speakers look on. L-R: Gary Knell, President and CEO, National Geographic Society; Catherine A. Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, US State Department; Hakima El Haite, Minister of Environment, Morocco (COP 22 Presidency), and High-Level Climate Champion; and Laurence Tubiana, Climate Change Ambassador, France, and High-Level Champion for pre-2020 climate action.

The Division of Environment and Oceanic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and the National Geographic Society organized a workshop that gathered approximately 80 representatives from government and civil society to consider the theme, “Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?” The workshop took place at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September, immediately prior to the Third Our Ocean Conference, which is also convening in Washington, DC, from 15-16 September.

Participants focused on how to build on the momentum generated with the “Because the Ocean” initiative that was announced during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which concluded with the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The workshop brought together the ocean and climate communities, including representatives from governments, climate change negotiators, scientists and civil society, to identify challenges related to including the ocean in the UNFCCC agenda and to develop an action plan for addressing ocean-related issues through the climate action to take place under the Paris Agreement.

Roundtable discussions considered whether climate change impacts on the ocean should raise the level of climate action ambition, how the ocean could be included in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and the way forward. Participants noted the value of further scientific research and discussions with policy makers regarding the implications of climate-related impacts on the ocean. Opportunities to spur action to address these linkages through the Paris Agreement, such as its provisions for NDCs and for a global stocktake and facilitative dialogue to take place in 2018, were also discussed. In closing the workshop, Heraldo Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile, said the workshop provided a contribution to achieving the third and final goal of the “Because the Ocean” Declaration, which was to establish a work plan on the ocean under the UNFCCC. He also said the workshop discussions could provide the basis for a second declaration.

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, has provided a briefing note from the Workshop: Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?, which is available in HTML and PDF.


Hakima El Haite, Minister of Environment, Morocco (COP 22 Presidency), and High-Level Climate Champion (photo courtesy of the National Geographic Society)

Laurence Tubiana, Climate Change Ambassador, France, and High-Level Champion for pre-2020 climate action (photo courtesy of the National Geographic Society)


Maria Amparo Martinez Arroyo, Director General, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, Mexico (photo courtesy of the National Geographic Society)

Rashid Sumaila, Professor and Director, Fisheries Economics Research Unit, University of British Columbia (photo courtesy of the National Geographic Society)

Jan Olsson, Ambassador for the Environment and Oceans, Sweden, discussed the planning for the UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which will take place in June 2017 (photo courtesy of the National Geographic Society)


Peru became the 23rd signatory of the “Because the Ocean” Declaration during a signing ceremony at the end of the workshop.
L-R: Antonio Garcia Revilla, Ambassador, Director General of Multilateral and Global Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peru;
Ricardo Lagos Weber, President of the Senate, Chile; Waldemar Coutts, Ambassador, Director of Environment and Oceanic Affairs,
Chile; and Hernando Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile

CoverageAbout | 14 Sep
Funding for coverage of the Workshop: Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?,
has been provided by the Government of Chile
Government of Chile