Daily report for 16 June 2012

Rio Conventions Pavilion at Rio+20

The Rio Conventions Pavilion continued on Saturday, 16 June 2012, focusing on Oceans. The event consisted of seven panels, a lunch celebrating 10 years of the Global Ocean Forum (GOF) and the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and a closing session presenting the outcomes of Oceans Day to the Rio+20 process. Oceans Day ended with a reception and an Oceans Celebration organized by Nausicaa, the World Oceans Network, Forum do Mar, Brazil, Tara Expedition, Green Cross, OpenOceans and Sea Orbiter.

Panel sessions included: renewing our political commitments - perspectives on Rio+20; scaling up integrated governance of the oceans; the living ocean - enhancing fisheries for food security, social and economic benefits; small island developing states (SIDS) and oceans - building resilience, enhancing social and economic benefits; climate change and ocean acidification; toward the blue economy and society - perspectives, experiences and initiatives; and moving forward.

Oceans Day was co-chaired by Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, GOF, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and Wendy Watson-Wright, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).


The panel was co-chaired by Veerle Vandeweerd, UN Development Programme (UNDP), and Gustavo Fonseca, the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Opening Oceans Day, Biliana Cicin-Sain, GOF, encouraged participating stakeholders to reflect on what has or has not been achieved in meeting major ocean-related sustainable development commitments and underscored the meeting’s purpose to rekindle political will to implement new and old commitments.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, underscored that in planning for the sustainability of the future the oceans must be attended to, stating “we cannot look backwards and we must not be diverted by disappointments nor by despair, rather, the vision for the future must be undiminished.”

Wendy Watson-Wright, UNESCO-IOC, noted it is not too late to remind nations that ocean protection is not only an environmental priority but also an economic and social issue, as economies depend on healthy oceans. She stressed “recognition is not enough, we need actions and strong commitments, we need a last push so that future generations will remember this conference.”

Vandeweerd said the oceans section in the draft Rio+20 outcome document is strong and called on the ocean community to strengthen it even further.

Wang Hong, State Oceanic Administration, China, highlighted his country’s efforts in promoting a sustainable marine economy, inter alia: establishing 125 marine protected areas (MPAs); upgrading traditional industries; and strengthening capacities in marine science and technologies.

Karl Falkenberg, Director-General for Environment, European Commission, observed that against the negative backdrop of humanity’s continuing misuse of marine resources, the relatively clean language on oceans at Rio+20 offers hope for strong international commitment on this issue. Noting the EU proposal on restoring the health of oceans, he emphasized that achieving related sub-targets will require an integrated approach, addressing land-based sources of marine pollution and making progress on the management of the high seas.

Gustavo Fonseca, Head, Division of Natural Resources, GEF, highlighted several pilot programmes to test new models for MPAs and transboundary management of marine resources.

Noting slow progress in meeting targets to protect marine biodiversity as reported in the 3rd Global Biodiversity Outlook, Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, provided an overview of new regional and global partnerships to meet the marine and coastal biodiversity-related Aichi Targets.

Ana Prates, Ministry of Environment, Brazil, recalled that an integrative management approach to ocean and coastal area protection was novel at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, and strengthened national, regional and international cooperation. She suggested that Rio+20 should similarly highlight the need for protection of the high seas.


This panel was co-chaired by Andrew Hudson, UNDP and Coordinator, UN-Oceans, and Awni Behnam, International Ocean Institute. Co-Chair Hudson asked panelists: how the variety of tools and models for integrated coastal management can be built on to scale up efforts in integrated governance of oceans; what capacity building is needed; and how objectives can be delivered on. Co-Chair Behnam said Rio+20 should be “the beginning of an ocean spring.”

Serguei Tarassenko, UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, commented on the 30th anniversary of UNCLOS which he said remains “a model of international cooperation,” based on its three institutions: the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; the International Seabed Authority; and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

Hiroshi Terashima, Ocean Policy Research Foundation, Japan, advocated sharing and learning from leading national initiatives on oceans and described establishment in Japan of institutional arrangements and government mechanisms for implementation of ocean policy.

Hashali Hamukuaya, Executive Secretary, Benguela Current Commission, highlighted progress in the sustainable management of the marine ecosystem, which covers Angola, Namibia and South Africa, and singled out the development of a five-module monitoring framework and ecosystem information system as a key achievement.

Speaking in his personal capacity, Johan Williams, Director General, Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Norway, stressed the need to develop and agree on global minimum standards to protect and regenerate marine resources while meeting the needs of food security and the transition to a green economy.

Terashima presented on Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA). Noting PEMSEA is on track to meet most of its targets with regard to policy formulation, he identified the key challenge as mainstreaming regional strategies into national programmes and their implementation.

Christophe Lefebvre, French Marine Protected Areas Agency, encouraged the establishment of a MPA Protocol to Regional Conventions on the Seas and explained in order to realize global MPAs we must overcome: knowledge and information gaps; lack of political and social commitments; limited financial resources; and weakness in legislation and mechanisms.

Lasse Gustavsson, WWF, drew attention to the responsibility inherent in the right to access resources beyond national jurisdiction, and stressed the need for new integrative approaches to fishing, deep sea mining and other maritime activities.

Kristina Gjerde, IUCN, called for agreement at Rio+20 to negotiate an implementing agreement under UNCLOS on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), saying a legal mandate for ecosystem-based management on the high seas should have effective enforcement capacity and incorporate modern management practices and principles, such as MPAs, the precautionary principle and ongoing monitoring.


Introducing the session with a brief overview of where fisheries management stands panel Chair Árni Mathiesen, UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) cited a joint World Bank/FAO study that found improved management could generate an additional US$ 40 million for poor fishing communities. On future supply and demand, Mathiesen stated that the projected 20 million tonne gap could be bridged if the current expansion rate in the agricultural sector is maintained.

Rachel Kyte, Vice President for the Sustainable Development Network, World Bank, announced the launch of the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO), a multi-stakeholder initiative that currently brings together 82 partners. Noting that the scale of the problem has enabled an alignment of interests that was not possible before, she emphasized that the goal of the GPO is to take what works to scale, rather than replicate existing structures. She welcomed the opportunity to leverage the Bank’s US$ 1.6 billion oceans portfolio by up-scaling best practice in establishing new sustainable livelihoods for communities that depend on coastal and marine resources.

Russell Smith, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US, noted the US has recently “turned the corner” in preventing over-fishing and emphasized the ongoing need to: develop science for efficient fisheries management; ensure efficient capacity in both developed and developing countries to collect, analyze and interpret data; and provide guidance to fisheries for sustainable management.

Su’a Tanielu, Director-General, Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Solomon Islands, urged an ecosystem, rights-based and precautionary approach to sustainable ocean and fisheries management and called for global commitments that are well financed and implemented through regional coordination.

Sebastian Mathew, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), India, also recommended a human rights approach to sustainable fisheries as vital to food security and rural employment and thus as key for the survival of fisheries livelihoods and indigenous communities.

Nicholas Watts, Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC), United Kingdom, emphasized the importance of social science knowledge to fisheries policy and science diplomacy to get policy in line with science. He called for establishing a Commonwealth Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries at Rio+20.

Flavio Bezerra da Silva, Secretary of Fisheries Planning and Regulation, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Brazil, provided an overview of sustainable fisheries management in Brazil and some policy priorities for improved information sharing and regional cooperation under the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem Project.

Juan Carlos Ordonez, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Honduras, highlighted the Tegucigalpa Protocol and noted regional efforts to develop a joint plan of action for the responsible management of migratory fish resources in the Caribbean Sea, in order to progressively expand the regulatory frameworks in force.


Oceans Day Co-Chair Tuiloma Neroni Slade introduced the panel noting Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, dealing with ocean, seas and coastal areas, acknowledges the special case for SIDS and that they also received recognition at the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Cama Tuiloma, Ambassador to Brazil, Fiji, called on Rio+20 to strengthen the nexus between oceans and development. He said that as an island nation Fiji recognizes that the ocean both separates and binds them. He said they don’t see themselves as small island states but as “large ocean states.” With regard to the Rio+20 negotiations, he expressed hope that with Brazil taking an active role and with the new compilation text that an outcome for “the future we want” will emerge.

Amanda Ellis, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand, highlighted some priorities for the Pacific region to ensure sustainable management of oceanic resources for economic growth. Noting that the Pacific is the last great ocean not yet to be overfished, she urged all fisheries stakeholders to contribute to the goals of the Pacific Islands Forum, which aims to pool resources for sustainable management of oceanic resources; coordinate monitoring of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and ensure policy coherence at the national and regional level.

Russel Howorth, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, discussed the importance of the precautionary principle for the sustainable exploitation of deep sea floor resources to expand economic opportunities in the region.

Travis Sinckler, Ministry of Environment, Barbados, highlighted the Caribbean Sea as a critical resource for people in the region, providing ecosystem services that contribute to poverty reduction. With regard to the fisheries industry within a green economy, he emphasized challenges and opportunities, including: conservation of marine resources; capacity building, credit facilities for new investment in green technologies; communication and coordination among economic sectors within an ecosystem-based approach model for the sector; and collaboration from local to international levels for managing and developing transboundary marine resources.

This session was co-chaired by Wendy Watson-Wright, UNESCO-IOC, and Isabelle Picco, Permanent Representative to the UN, Monaco. Picco highlighted her country’s initiatives to advance scientific research, knowledge sharing and international collaboration to address ocean acidification. She announced an upcoming workshop in November 2012 that will address the impact of ocean acidification on fisheries.


In a presentation titled “There is no time left: deep cuts in CO2 emissions must happen now,” Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and SIDS Issues, Seychelles, stressed that even if current targets are attained, 160 million people will be affected by rising sea levels. He reiterated that “there is no management measure for ocean warming and acidification, the only way is to reduce emissions.”

Carol Turley, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK, stressed that the ocean comprises 96% of the living species in the world, including microorganisms crucial for healthy ocean ecosystems on which fisheries, humans and economic sectors depend. She called for collaborative global action on rapid and substantial cuts to CO2 emissions, requiring international planning and financing for adaptation and explained that ocean acidification needs to be addressed internationally as it is relevant to food security and sustainability.

Lynne Hale, The Nature Conservancy, noted that in 2011 the damage from natural disasters reached an all time high globally, in part due to progressive climate change. Focusing on human adaptation measures, she expressed concern that public adaptation funding flows mostly to hard infrastructure solutions, potentially harming coastal communities and ignoring the potential of natural systems to provide effective protection and reduce vulnerabilities.

Nguyen Chu Hoi, Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam, called for additional investment, collective action and political commitment to accelerate climate change adaptation.

Summing up the session, Watson-Wright announced the launch of a new initiative by the International Atomic Energy Agency to enhance global research collaboration on ocean acidification. Welcoming the initiative, which will be based in Monaco, Picco emphasized that with 61% of world gross national product derived from coastlines, the importance of data sharing cannot be over-emphasized.


This session was co-chaired by Mary Barton-Dock, World Bank, and Karin Sjolin-Frudd, International Maritime Organization (IMO), with Sjolin-Frudd welcoming panelists.

Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP, discussed the potential for a green economy approach in a blue world, exploring job creation opportunities in the labor-intensive marine renewable energy sector and using less destructive methods in the fisheries sector. He drew attention to the unique “tragedy of the commons” challenge faced by governments due to limited property or tenure rights existing for the ocean.

Andrew Hudson, UNDP, introduced the publication “Catalyzing Ocean Finance,” which reviews methodologies and approaches to effectively reform ocean policies and to put an enabling environment in place, including financial flows.

Philippe Vallete, Co-President, World Oceans Network, presented a vision for advancing public ocean stewardship and “the blue society,” and a voluntary Rio+20 commitment to promote the blue society.

David Tongue, International Chamber of Shipping, invited Rio+20 to draw lessons from and support the regulatory framework provided by the IMO, which he said has served the oceans well and is a “model of efficiency” in enforcing complex regulations.

Paul Holthus, Executive Director, World Ocean Council, spoke on industry perspectives, noting that economic uses of ocean resources are increasing and the world community has no hope of achieving its goals without harnessing and involving commitment of the private sector to develop, drive and deliver solutions.

Vincent Sweeney, Coordinator, Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), UNEP, drew attention to land-based sources of marine litter and spoke about coordinated international efforts to reduce these through waste management actions and ecosystem protection programmes within the GPA.

Doug Woodring, Ocean Recovery Alliance, and Leila Monroe, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), noted serious consequences of plastic in marine litter for marine life, coastal economies and the food chain and thus human health and pointed to the plastic disclosure project as a systemic solution getting at the source of plastic litter.

Milton Asmus, Directive Council, Forum do Mar, Brazil, stressed that a blue economy requires a paradigm shift that entails abdicating individual desires for the global good, noting an emerging movement for stakeholder engagement that is using intensive dialogue at the interpersonal and institutional level to catalyze and scale up behavioral change.

Arthur Bogason, President, National Association of Small Boat Owners, Iceland, challenged the “negative” portrayal of the fishing industry in scientific studies and fisheries policy, calling for the delinking of small-scale and industrial fisheries and better definition of the rights of fishing communities in international and national legislation.


The closing session of Ocean Day was co-chaired by Watson-Wright, Slade and Cicin-Sain. Paula Caballero, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia, explained why Columbia has been pushing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), noting the North-South divide as well as an artificial division between environment and social development in the negotiations, that is impeding action. She said this could be overcome by illustrating the many inter-linkages between SDGs on oceans, food security, sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation, and livelihood security.

Isabella Lövin, Member of the European Parliament, emphasized the need to mobilize political will to protect the oceans, but expressed disappointment about the failure to take action by world leaders. She called for new global mechanisms for accountability, involving a legally binding agreement and called for using international tribunals to save the oceans and ensure intergenerational justice.

Charlotte Cawthone, Prince’s Charities, UK, announced the “Fisheries in Transition” report as part of Prince Charles’ International Sustainability Unit, aimed at contributing his neutral convening power to the work on sustainable fisheries management, which faces barriers such as lack of data and finance, and perverse subsidies.

Following a two-minute video containing messages from the Yeosu Expo 2012, South Korea, Cicin-Sain presented the Co-Chair’s Statement of the Oceans Day at Rio+20 summarizing key outcomes of the discussions and the twelve voluntary commitments announced by various stakeholder platforms to Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for the Rio+20 Conference. Highlighting tangible steps towards the blue economy, Cicin-Sain called for additional efforts to create an enabling institutional framework for delivering on the commitments made.

Thompson welcomed the Oceans Day outcomes, noting that “for those of us who have lived on islands no one has to tell us that urgent action is needed.” On implications for the Rio+20 process, she highlighted the main contentious issues as MPAs, BBNJ, fish stocks and targets. Underlining the shared responsibility for delivering a concrete outcome in Rio and beyond, she urged participants to “keep pressing negotiators to do the right thing,” and to maintain the momentum post-Rio+20 by starting a national dialogue to follow up these issues.

The Rio Conventions Pavilion Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Beate Antonich, Wangu Mwangi and Anna Schulz. The Digital Editor is Brad Vincelette. The Editor is Robynne Boyd <robynne@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://enb.iisd.org/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, New York 10022, USA. The IISD Team at the Rio Conventions Pavilion can be contacted by e-mail at <anna@iisd.org>.