World Oceans Day, Ocean and climate: from words to action
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the Ocean and Climate Platform emphasized the ocean’s crucial role in relation to sustainable development and climate on World Oceans Day, celebrated every year on 8 June.
In a round table debate entitled “Moving from Agreement to Action” at UNESCO Headquarters, policy makers, experts, private sector representatives, and nongovernmental organizations took stock of threats to the ocean, including acidification, rising water temperatures and coral bleaching and highlighted the need for urgent action.
“The state of our planet depends on the state of the ocean,” declared UNESCO Deputy Director-General Getachew Engida, speaking on behalf of Director-General Irina Bokova. “In 2015, for the very first time, the key role of the ocean for sustainability, for poverty reduction, for human development was recognized at the highest level, as a core part of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said before calling on the international community to proclaim a UN Decade for the Ocean and the Planet.
Meanhile, Prince Albert II of Monaco opened a scientific conference organized by members of the Ocean and Climate Platform at the Domaine du Rayol in southern France where Morocco’s Environment Minister, Hakima el Haite announced “a major event dedicate to the Ocean that will take place in November at COP22 in Marrakesh.” She also stressed “the importance of getting civil society, researchers and policy-makers to work together.”
UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the Ocean and Climate Platform spearheaded a strong mobilization, which helped include the Ocean in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in December last year. They were also behind the decision of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to issue a report, in April 2016, on the Ocean.
Six months ahead of the next climate conference, COP22, World Oceans Day was an opportunity to proclaim that the time has come to put into practice the commitments expressed by the signatories of the Paris Agreement.
The Ocean and Climate Platform and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission will organize the 2nd Ocean and Climate Forum at the COP22 next November. Both bodies are committed to pursuing scientific knowledge, improving ocean governance and implementing the Paris Agreement over the coming years.
The Ocean and Climate Platform was created by research organizations, NGOs and UNESCO/IOC in 2014. It brings together international researchers, scientific organizations, universities, institutes, foundations, civil society, businesses, national and intergovernmental organizations.
Agnès Bardon, UNESCO Media Services, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 64, a.bardon(at)unesco.org
Romain Schumm, Ocean and Climate Plateform: + 33 (0) 6 28 75 00 41, presse(at)ocean-climate.org
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