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.
ModeratorAlexander 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:
Achieving SDG 14;
Underpinning global processes; and
Knowledge for ocean action.
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.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ Meeting Coverage, provided daily web coverage and a summary report from the Marine Regions Forum 2019. The summary report is available in HTML and PDF.
Alexander Müller, Managing Director, TMG - Think Tank for Sustainability
Klaus Töpfer, Founding Director, TMG - Think Tank for Sustainability
Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment (UNEP)
Regina Dube, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission, via video message
David Obura, Director, Coastal Oceans Research and Development - Indian Ocean (CORDIO) East Africa
Antje Boetius, Director, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
From L-R: Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP; David Obura, Director, CORDIO East Africa; Regina Dube, Federal Ministry for Environment, BMU, Germany; and Antje Boetius, Director, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
David Freestone, Executive Secretary, Sargasso Sea Commission
Jörn Schmidt, Kiel University
Sébastien Treyer, Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), with Patrizia Nanz, Scientific Director, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)
Alice Vadrot, University of Vienna
Kristina Gjerde, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Lilian Busse, German Federal Environment Agency
Pedro Sepúlveda, OSPAR Secretariat
Uta Schuchmann, Researcher
Maria Laamanen, Ministry of the Environment, Finland
Christopher Corbin, UNEP - Caribbean Environment Programme
Participants networking during a meet and greet session
Jessica Battle, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International
Sarah Enright, University College Cork
Martin Visbeck, GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Dorothée Herr, IUCN
Participants conferring during roundtable discussions
Thembile Elphus Joyini, South African Permanent Mission to the UN
Purificacio Canals, Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Network (MedPAN)
Takehiro Nakamura, UNEP
Nicole Wienrich, IASS
Janina Lobmüller, German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ)
Participants conferring during roundtable discussions
Around the Venue
"Tropic Ice" photo exhibition by Barbara Dombrowski
Barbara Neumann, IASS
Manuel Rivera, IASS
Interactive ιntervention "WE ARE OCEAN" by ARTPORT_making waves
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