Oceans-based climate solutions require unprecedented levels of action, cooperation, and collaboration. This event cast a spotlight on progress toward improving sustainable oceans planning through the development and implementation of Sustainable Ocean Plans (SOPs) as part of the Ocean Breakthroughs agenda.
Delivering ocean-based climate solutions will require unprecedented levels of action, cooperation, and collaboration among States and non-state actors to set the path toward the "blue ambition loop." This event, organized on Nature, Lands and Oceans Day and hosted by COP28 Presidency, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Ocean Action 2030, the High Level Climate Champions and the Ocean & Climate Platform on behalf of the Marrakech Partnership on Ocean & Coastal Zones, cast a spotlight on States and non-state actors' commitments toward the goal of improving sustainable ocean management through the development and implementation of Sustainable Ocean Plans (SOPs), which are integral to implement the Ocean Breakthroughs, a set of science-based targets that were launched ahead of COP 28.
Master of Ceremony David Eades, BBC, said there are ready-made solutions that can close the emissions gap by 35% by 2050, and described the Ocean Breakthroughs as the “lighthouse” to get there.
Loreley Picourt, Executive Director, Ocean & Climate Platform, and Ignace Beguin, Climate Champions Team, offered remarks on the vision underlying the Ocean Breakthroughs and how these provide a blueprint to deliver on climate and nature goals. Beguin called for Parties to endorse the Ocean Breakthroughs and reference them in the Global Stocktake.
In a first panel, Isabelle Berro Amadei, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Monaco, described her country’s longstanding commitment to ocean protection, citing the country’s support of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, as well as the Reocean Fund, a new private equity fund dedicated to support Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (life below water). Enric Sala, National Geographic, said we need to protect 30% of the Ocean by 2030 so marine life can be restored, highlighting the work of the Pristine Seas project, which, since 2008, has helped create 26 of the largest marine protected areas in the world. Ivory Vogt, EmeralDreams Consulting, spoke from her experience as a young Pacific islander, noting that “as people of the sea, we live because the sea lives.” She warned that tourism has created land dispossession for local islanders and called for using the industry as a “force for good” instead.
During the second panel, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development and Nordic Cooperation, Norway, highlighted the need to protect the Ocean while sustainably harvesting from it to support global food security. She lauded the establishment of the Ocean Action 2030 Rapid Assistance Fund (RAP) that will be launched in January 2024 to support the development and implementation of national SOPs.
Richard William Spinrad, Under-Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US, discussed progress made through the Marine Shipping Challenge, launched at COP 27, that culminated in USD 3 billion in investments to decarbonize the maritime sector by 2050.
Mark Lambrides, Director, Department of Sustainable Development, Organization of American States (OAS), underscored his organization’s commitment to supporting the Ocean Breakthroughs amongst its 35 member states. He noted his organization’s recent membership to the Ocean Action 2030 Coalition to offer technical assistance and ocean diplomacy in support of SOPs in the region.
Ambassador Joel Hernández, Mexico, discussed the importance of a healthy Ocean for global economic development. He noted the work his country is doing to transform the vision of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy into domestic plans for a sustainable ocean economy. He praised the role the RAP will play in strengthening the role of local and Indigenous participation in sustainable ocean management.
Cynthia Barzuna, Director, Ocean Action 2030, extolled the Panel’s success in establishing the RAP, saying it is the “lever” to support the development and implementation of SOPs. She reiterated the need for this to become a worldwide initiative and for greater financial support for SDG 14, which only receives 0.01% of SDG-targeted funding.
Ambassador Ilana Seid, Palau, focused on their role in launching the Blue Prosperity Initiative at COP 28 to support blue economies, marine protection and spatial planning, and sustainable fisheries. She urged the need for increased donor support for this initiative and called on other countries to join.
The third panel, moderated by Sturla Henriksen, UN Global Compact, focused on how global leaders are supporting the Ocean Breakthroughs. Adam Brennan, Thai Union, said that his company relies on the health and sustainable management of the Ocean. He said that Thai Union has invested 100% of their 2022 earnings to support scaling up their sustainability plan.
Karen Sack, Executive Director, Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), discussed the three-pronged approach her organization is taking to support bottom-up projects, top-down investment strategies, and the missing middle of projects transitioning from public to private financing. She highlighted that Deutsche Bank recently became the first bank to support ORRAA’s #BackBlue Finance Commitment.
Susan Gardner, Director of Ecosystems, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), reiterated calls for rapid decarbonization, the need for greater investments in coral reef remediation, and more effective management of marine protected areas.
Ariane Pevide, Director, Climate Finance, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), dispelled myths around the underfinancing of the Ocean, arguing that “mainstream finance is in the ocean, people just don’t realize it.” She said that a catalytic push from the public sector is needed to drive demand for capital and bridge the gap of perceived risk in the private sector.
Nikolaus H. Schües, CEO, Reederei F. Laeisz, discussed why the maritime industry needs to be concerned with biodiversity. Noting that the sea is “the backbone of our existence,” he emphasized that the industry welcomes the challenge to decarbonize its fleets and protect marine ecosystems.
Ayman Cherkaoui, Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, highlighted the role of science and ocean literacy in supporting sustainable ocean management, but also that scientific knowledge needs to be strengthened by making it more accessible.
The session closed with a final panel that looked forward to key ocean moments beyond COP 28. Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, COP 28, pointed to four of these upcoming moments in 2024 and 2025: the Ocean Decade Conference, the Third UN Ocean Conference, the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, and COP 30 in Brazil.
Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, called for nature to be at the front and center of COPs and celebrated the “amazing wave of positive ocean activism” that has been propelling different processes, including the Convention for Biodiversity and Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdictions negotiations.
Christophe Béchu, Minister of the Ecological Transition and Territory Cohesion, France, described high ambitions for the Third UN Ocean Conference in Nice, France, and said the oceans community needs a simple referential to describe the ocean emergency, akin to the 1.5°C warming limit for the climate crisis.
The panel concluded by underscoring the need for greater collaboration between the nature and climate change communities, noting the joint statement by Presidents of all three COPs to call for a coordinated approach to tackle climate change, desertification, and biodiversity loss.
Organizer: Marrakech Partnership on Land Use and Ocean & Coastal Zones
Contact: Cyrielle Lam email@example.com
For more information: https://ocean-climate.org