Launch of the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance
The launch meeting of the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance brought together worldwide multi-stakeholder initiatives around a common action framework to implement the Paris Agreement to address climate change.
The launch of the Alliance took place at UNESCO Headquarters under the auspices of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the Ocean and Climate Platform, and the French Government. The goal is to build further on the strong community of intergovernmental, state, scientific and civil society actors that arose around the ocean and climate mobilization at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Paris.
The opening session of the day-long launch meeting saw keynote interventions by the three key partners behind the Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance: Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s IOC; Gilles Boeuf, Scientific Advisor to the French Minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea; and two representatives of the Ocean and Climate Platform, Eric Banel, President of the Steering Committee and Françoise Gaill, Coordinator of the Scientific Committee. Patricia Ricard, also of the Ocean and Climate Platform, gave introductory remarks and moderated the keynote session.
The Ocean and Climate Platform, cradle and co-founder of the new Initiatives Alliance, was itself created at UNESCO Headquarters during the 2014 edition of World Oceans Day. Since then, ocean and climate mobilization around and beyond the UNFCCC policy frameworks have resulted in important achievements, notably the inclusion of oceans in the Paris Agreement (2015) and the launch of a Special Report on the ocean and the cryosphere by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Special Report will complement the IPCC regular reporting cycle with an ocean and climate focus.
Welcoming Alliance members, meeting participants and the media to UNESCO, IOC Executive Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin reiterated that “having achieved our first objective, which was to get the political support and agreement that ocean can and should be addressed within the UNCCC framework… it is now time to move into much more operational and solution-oriented mode, moving forward of the cutting edge of science and ensuring that advantages are available to all.”
The new Ocean and Climate Initiatives Alliance (OCIA) hopes to accelerate the implementation of mitigation and adaptation to climate change measures by uniting parallel ongoing initiatives under a joint action framework. OCIA initiatives cover thirteen thematic areas: ocean acidification, marine protected areas, marine ecosystems resilience – including coral reefs and blue carbon, sustainable fisheries, low carbon maritime activities, climate-led migration, and coastal populations’ resilience to climate change, among others.
IOC took the opportunity to introduce the main ocean and climate initiatives in which it has been actively engaged, including the joint Blue Carbon Initiative; the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), and the Strategic Action Roadmap on Oceans and Climate: 2016 to 2021.
The launch meeting aimed to gather and initiative collaborations between all ocean and climate initiatives, associating different organizations and state actors, in particular the 22 states signatory parties to the “Because the Ocean” Declaration (2015). Representatives of the different initiatives joining the Alliance have committed to working together for the development and promotion of concrete actions in the context of the major ocean and climate events planned for 2017, such as the UN Ocean Conference (New York, 5-9 June), the Our Ocean Conference (Malta, 4-6 October), and the 23rd UNFCCC Conference of Parties (Bonn, 6-17 November).
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