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United States Center at COP 22

7-18 November 2016 | Marrakech, Morocco

Highlights for Wednesday, 9 November 2016

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IISD Reporting Services - U.S. Center - Marrakech 2016 IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ meeting coverage, has provided digital coverage of selected U.S. Center events every day, during the Marrakech Climate Change Conference - November 2016.

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From the US West Coast to the Ivory Coast: Building Scientific
and Political Capacity to Respond to Ocean Acidification Organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)


This event was moderated by Libby Jewett, NOAA, who noted that scientists predict a 100-150% increase of ocean acidification (OA) by the year 2100, a rate hundreds of times faster than in past millions of years. She highlighted that the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network has increased from 150 to 330 scientists in the past three years.

Chibo Chikwililwa, Marine Research Center, Henties Bay, Namibia, said that global OA will affect mariculture and bivalve larvae (spat) production in her country. She said that one of the goals of the OA Africa Network is to improve the understanding of the ecosystem response to OA.

Warren Joubert, Council for the Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa, presented on South Africa’s perspective on globally integrated OA observation. Noting that rock lobsters and local mussel species in South Africa are physiologically adapted to low pH levels in upwelling coastal regions, he explained that such examples can enable a better understanding of how marine organisms adapt and become resilient to decreasing pH levels in water.

Nayrah Shaltout, National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Egypt, drew attention to her country’s plans to join the OA Africa Network. She called for: higher quality data of local OA variability to build future scenarios; and a better understanding of ecological, evolutionary and physiological responses of OA on marine species in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

Mohammed Idrissi, National Institute of Fishery Research, Morocco, presented plans for OA observation in Morocco. Noting the importance of increasing monitoring, biological experimentation and modeling of OA impacts, he highlighted research collaboration and data sharing with, inter alia, MedSea and CarboOcean.

Jay Manning, Cascadia Law Group, urged participants to join the newly created International Alliance to Combat OA, announced in September 2016, to advance scientific understanding and translate it for policy makers.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia: the impact of OA on commercial and non-commercial marine species, including non-coral reef species; oceanic productivity’s role in the adaptability of marine shelled species; and multi-stressor effects of oceanic chemistry on marine ecosystems and food chains.


Nayrah Shaltout, National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Egypt

Chibo Chikwililwa, Marine Research Center, Henties Bay, Namibia


Jay Manning, Cascadia Law Group, specified that the International Alliance to Combat OA announced in September 2016 will continue to have support from Oregon and Washington states, and British Colombia, Canada, irrespective of the new US federal government in 2017

Mohammed Idrissi, National Institute of Fishery Research, Morocco, said we can “buy time” by changing practices in aquaculture and rendering ecosystems more resilient to OA

Libby Jewett, NOAA, underscored the importance of supporting scientific capacity to track ocean acidification in vulnerable areas around the world


Participants during the event


Participants listen to panel speakers


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Sourcing Sustainability: Bringing Together Commodity Sourcing and Forest Protection:
The Commodities/Jurisdictions Approach Presented by the US Department of State


This side event provided an overview of jurisdictional REDD+ programmes, working to reduce deforestation and address climate change, while assisting private sector companies to meet their sustainability goals.

Mike Barry, Marks and Spencer, provided an overview of an initiative launched at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21) with six other companies to support jurisdictional approaches for reducing deforestation in commodity supply chains. He noted a working group had been established to inform and operationalize this approach, and outlined lessons learned, underscoring the importance of local communities to ensure the programmes have social legitimacy.

Chris Dragisic, US Department of State, said criteria for “a good REDD+ programme” have been established, stating that they should include, inter alia: a strategy for how to reduce emissions from forests and other lands whilst increasing agricultural productivity and improving livelihoods; a system for measuring and monitoring reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and an established baseline; a commitment to adhere to social and environmental safeguards and monitor these efforts; stakeholder engagement in the programme’s development and implementation; and a location in a country with an ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Victor Kabengele, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), presented on the Mai Ndombe Emissions Reduction Programme, saying that it is an opportunity to improve forest governance through REDD+ incentives. He stated that three companies have formally declared their interest to be involved, and expressed hope that the programme could be replicated throughout the DRC.

James Close, World Bank, said that the approach helps the private sector to engage in a way that, inter alia, supports climate change and recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples. He underscored that such an approach will also support green growth, raise awareness around commodity production, and attract investment in line with addressing climate change and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the discussion, participants addressed: concerns on increasing agricultural productivity; how contract farming might work in this kind of approach; market extension services to improve production; how short-term projects can have long-term impacts; and how jurisdictional approaches are not a panacea for all.


Mike Barry, Marks and Spencer, said that “no business can certify forests on its own.”


Victor Kabengele, DRC, said that the Mai Ndombe Emmissions Reduction Programme is an innovative approach to incentivize logging companies to comply with the law.

James Close, World Bank, said that an important step forward is for the private sector to act on commitments to ensure supply chains incorporate both sustainable production and other environmental concerns.


Chris Dragisic , US Department of State, stated that the next steps include refining the assessment process, assessing interested jurisdictional programmes, and continuing outreach to other stakeholders, jurisdictions and companies


Partcipants listen to panelists


A view of the room during the event


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Funding for coverage of the U.S. Center at COP 22 has been provided by the US Department of State.
US Department of State