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Communities of Action: Ocean Conference
OCEAN ACTION #7
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September 2018:
Moving Towards a Sustainable Blue Economy

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With a booming global population and growing strains on limited ocean resources, our planet more than ever needs a sustainable blue economy that promotes economic growth while improving human well-being and protecting the environment. The world is moving closer to such a long-term strategy as 2018 closes out, with several major international ocean-related conferences wrapping up or set to take place, a sign that the appetite for more and better sustainable ocean options remains strong.



BBNJ Intergovernmental Conference first session wraps in New York

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The first session of the Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas

beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), took place from 4 to 17 September at UN Headquarters in New York. It addressed the topics identified in the package agreed in 2011, namely, the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, in particular, together and as a whole, marine genetic resources, including questions on the sharing of benefits, measures such as area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments and capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology.

The President of the Conference was requested to prepare, as part of the preparations for the second session, a document with the aim of facilitating focused discussions and text-based negotiations, containing treaty text language and reflecting the options concerning the four elements of the package. The President will make every effort possible to make this document available well in advance of the second session of the Conference. The Secretariat of the Conference presented the possible dates for the second and third sessions as 25 March to 5 April 2019 and 19-30 August 2019, respectively, while bearing in mind that the decision of the dates will be taken by the General Assembly.

For more information, please see the new UN website for the conference, www.un.org/bbnj.



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Sustainable Ocean Economy promoted during the UN General Assembly High-level Week

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Photo by hibino - Flickr

The need to develop a sustainable ocean economy in support of SDG 14 will be addressed at several events in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. On 24 September UN Global Compact will host a High-level Meeting on Sustainable Ocean Business, promoting the UN Global Compact Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business. Later that day, UN Global Compact and the Government of Norway will co-host the Leaders Summit reception at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, under the heading "Ocean at MoMA", encouraging changemakers to experience first-hand why sustainable ocean business is the new frontier for the 2030 Agenda. The next day, 25 September, UN Global Compact will host a one-day workshop, entitled "The Ocean Retreat," at the Boat House in Central Park.

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Our Ocean Conference in Bali to focus on 6 key themes

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Plans continue for the 2018 Our Ocean Conference, taking place this year in Bali, Indonesia, from 29 to 30 October under the theme "Our Ocean, Our Legacy." Marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, climate change, the sustainable blue economy and maritime security will be the focus issues discussed at the Conference, led by the Government of Indonesia. Youth and the important role they play in mobilizing ocean action will play a particularly important role and will be featured in the Our Ocean, Our Legacy Youth Leadership Summit. For more information, please visit: http://ourocean2018.org/



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2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Blue Economy to be key in Nairobi

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logo blue economy conference

Kenya and its co-host Canada are inviting the world to Nairobi for the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference from 26 to 28 November.

The theme of the conference is "The Blue Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," and it will focus on new technologies and innovation for oceans, seas, lakes and rivers as well as the challenges, potential opportunities, priorities and partnerships. For more, please see the new dedicated Conference website: www.blueeconomyconference.go.ke

Additionally, UN-DESA and Ambassador Peter Thomson, the Secretary-Generalís Special Envoy for the Ocean, will hold a meeting of focal points for the nine thematic Communities of Ocean Action (COAs), in Nairobi on 25 November, the day before the Conference kicks off. The meeting aims to bring together the focal points for these Communities to identify gaps, discuss good practices and lessons learned in the delivery of the voluntary commitments.† It also aims to address the preparation of the midterm evaluations of the COAs and way forward for them in 2019.


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Highlights of recent activities undertaken by the Secretary-Generalís Special Envoy for the Ocean, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson

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UN Secretary-General Antůnio Guterresí Special Envoy for the Ocean, Fijian diplomat Ambassador Peter Thomson, has spent the summer of 2018 continuing the push for implementation of SDG 14. The foundations for this campaign were laid at the UN Ocean Conference in 2017, with the Special Envoy committed to maintaining the conferenceís spirit of inclusivity and partnership through active engagement with Member States, UN agencies, the private sector, the scientific community, civil society and philanthropic organizations.

In a recent message to the Secretary-General, the Special Envoy said, "All relevant indicators demonstrate the health of the Ocean is continuing to trend negatively, be it through the climate change effects of warming, deoxygenation and acidification, or the continuing mismanagement effects of pollution and harmful fisheries. The Special Envoy is working to reverse this trend through inculcating international loyalty to the implementation UNís Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement."

In June, the Special Envoy attended the commemoration of this yearís World Oceans Day at UN Headquarters in New York, at the same time releasing an op-ed urging G7 countries to take positive measures to achieve the four SDG14 targets maturing in 2020.

Over the summer of 2018, amongst many other speaking engagements, he was a keynote speaker at the 6th GEF Assembly in Viet Nam, UNCTADís 2nd Oceans Forum on Trade-related Aspects of SDG 14 in Geneva, IOCís high-level event in Paris on the UN Decade for Ocean Science, the high-level regional Climate Action Pacific Partnership Conference in Fiji, UNEPís high-level event for ICRI (coral reefs) in Paris, and FAOís Committee on Fisheries in Rome.

In July, in his address to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at UN Headquarters in New York, the Special Envoy emphasized the links between humanityís land-based activities and the problems facing coastal and marine ecosystems. In particular he stressed the inescapable interlinkages between SDGs 6, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

More recently he was a keynote speaker at the Ocean session of the Global Climate Action Summit held in San Francisco, where he stressed that action to address Oceanís problems is integral to humanityís solutions to the challenges of climate change.

You are invited to follow the Special Envoy's Twitter account, on which he shares messages of solutions and strategies for achieving a healthy Ocean through implementation of SDG14 and fidelity to the Paris Climate Agreement. More information about his work can be found on his website oceanconference.un.org/SpecialEnvoy.



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Updates from the Communities of Ocean Action (COAs)

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COA focal points to meet in Nairobi in November

UN-DESA and Ambassador Peter Thomson, the Secretary-Generalís Special Envoy for the Ocean, will hold a meeting of focal points for the nine thematic Communities of Ocean Action (COAs), in Nairobi on 25 November, the day before the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference begins. The meeting aims to bring together the focal points for these Communities to identify gaps, discuss good practices and lessons learned in the delivery of the voluntary commitments.


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Mangroves

COA launches webinar series for mangrove commitments

In the past century, 67% of global mangroves have been lost. Restoring and conserving these vital ecosystems is key to sustaining both coastal communities and biodiversity. Because investing in mangroves has such wide-ranging benefits, their protection is also a key pathway to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. At the Ocean Conference, nearly 90 voluntary commitments were made by institutions and governments related to the restoration, rehabilitation, protection, and management of mangroves and associated ecosystems. This September, the Community of Ocean Action on Mangroves is convening three regional webinars to discuss how to accelerate the implementation of these commitments, please see webinar section below for dates.



Mangroves COA prepares for Ramsar Convention side event

On 22 October, the focal points of the Mangrove Community of Ocean Action will host the event "UN Ocean Conference Community of Ocean Action on Mangroves: Progress and Opportunities" on the sidelines of the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in Dubai. For information, please contact rivera@ramsar.org.



Information on recent and upcoming COA webinars

Between 8 June and 17 September, the following COA webinars were held:

  • 28 June: COA on Marine Pollution
  • 12 July: COA on Sustainable Blue Economy
  • 18 July: COA on Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Management
  • 22 August: COA on Implementation of International Law as Reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
  • 7 September: COA on Mangroves
  • 12 September: COA on Mangroves
  • 20 September: COA on Mangroves

In addition, the following webinars are scheduled in September and October:

  • 27 September, 10-11 a.m. (New York time): COA on Marine Pollution
  • 17 October, 9-10 a.m. (New York time): COA on Ocean Acidification



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Other developments

Celebrating the International Year of the Reef

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2018 has been designated the third International Year of the Reef (IYOR) by the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI).

This year-long celebration is a great opportunity to come together to strengthen awareness of the plight of coral reefs and to step up and initiate greater conservation efforts. To date, more than 100 events have taken place around the world in support of the IYOR and many countries including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Japan, Germany, Seychelles, Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Trinidad and Tobago have declared their support with official launches and awareness-raising events. Individuals, schools, charities and businesses are also getting involved by organising beach cleans, reef photography exhibits and community outreach days.

Children have put their passion for reefs on paper to design stamps and artwork inspired by the IYOR. This year ICRI teamed up with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation for their annual Science Without Borders Challenge. Their theme for the IYOR was "Why coral reefs matter", which saw over 600 entries from 38 different countries! See the finalists here .


Additionally, the Government of the United Kingdom challenged children ages 4 to 17 to design official stamps for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) illustrating the theme "Why are coral reefs and oceans important?" Four winners were selected, one from each of the four age categories Ė all of which can be seen here.


The Reef World Foundation is celebrating corals by implementing the Green Fins IYOR 2018 Campaign. The campaign aims to make sustainable diving practices the social norm, by promoting pragmatic solutions to key local threats identified through years of work with the dive industry; and encouraging other stakeholders, like equipment manufacturers, to take action to reduce the pressures on coral reefs. Their #AlternativesToAnchoring campaign encourages and educates dive companies and boat owners about how they can have zero-impact boat trips. See their full infographic here. This is the second of four infographics following their #RedefineTheDive campaign focusing on underwater behaviour, and how to be an environmentally aware diver and enjoy zero impact dives.



Guam, a territory of the United States, officially launched IYOR in February and formed "Guam Year of the Reef." Since then, activists have been educating the tourism sector in coral conservation and have also produced their own range of IYOR products,
including T-shirts, hats and reusable shopping bags. Read more about their IYOR efforts here. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) also signed a proclamation declaring 2018 the International Year of the Reef, aiming to bring about greater awareness of the value of coral reefs. ICRI partners at The Ocean Agency have recently been out on an IYOR expedition in the Coral Triangle, discovering how marine scientists are using underwater scooters, 360o cameras and artificial intelligence to survey miles of coral reefs and to identify corals on thousands of images. They found reefs in Indonesia that had bounced back from bleaching events and are flourishing.

The arts community is promoting reefs all over the world. Science, art and music combined to create Tangerine Reef, an audio-visual album by the band Animal Collective in collaboration with Coral Morphologic to commemorate IYOR. It consists of time-lapse and slow pans across surreal aquascapes of naturally fluorescent coral and cameos by alien-like reef creatures.


Evanescent (pictured here) is a 2x4 metre multimedia sculpture inspired by the plight of coral reefs on display at the Maritime Museum in Barcelona. Finally, hundreds of people attended the opening of the immersive photojournalistic exhibition "Coral Reefs: A Challenge for Humanity" at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in June.

Other activities related to the International Year of the Reef include litter removal on 15 Septemberís International Coastal Cleanup Day and the 71 st Gulf & Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference in San Andres, Colombia, from 5 to 9 November, which features a session dedicated to coral reefs. For more information and resources, please see the IYOR website.



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Ocean Acidification - SDG indicator 14.3.1 methodology accepted by the IOC-UNESCO Executive Council

During its 51st Executive Council Meeting from 3 to 6 July 2018, the Member States of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO welcomed the methodology for the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target Indicator 14.3.1 and recommended to the IOC secretary as the custodian agency for this indicator to propose its upgrade from Tier III to Tier II. The SDG Target Indicator 14.3.1 calls for "average marine acidity measured at an agreed suite of representative sampling stations." The methodology provides guidance to scientists and countries about how to carry out measurements following the best practices established by experts in the ocean acidification community, including members of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network ( GOA-ON ), and explains how to report the collected information. The methodology is available here .




New Voluntary Commitments

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7x7x1 Beach Clean pUmP, #OceanAction27219 (The Green Circle Environmental Company)
7x7x1 International Waste Platform - collaboration between country / regional hubs, #OceanAction26660 (Indonesian Waste Platform)
Updates from Voluntary Commitments

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7x7x1 Support development of a Source to Sea Approach to land based pollution including marine litter., #OceanAction19789 (Sweden)
7x7x1 The Swedish Government intends to implement appropriate and relevant conservation measures regarding fisheries in order to reach conservation objectives in all marine protected areas by 2020., #OceanAction19794 (Sweden)
7x7x1 Renewable Energy from Coral and Karstic Formation, #OceanAction24052 (Ernesto Icogo / Global Network Member)
7x7x1 International Waste Platform - collaboration between country / regional hubs, #OceanAction26660 (Indonesian Waste Platform)
7x7x1 Addressing the global marine debris crisis from an underwater perspective - citizen science and community engagement for global solution, #OceanAction17638 (Project AWARE)
7x7x1 Restore the Mesoamerican Coral Reef, #OceanAction18998 (Restore Coral)
7x7x1 Promote, sustainably use, and protect kadalamma-the Mother Sea-with indigenous fisherfolk, #OceanAction14351 (Friends of Marine Life (FML))
7x7x1 Submarine Cables, Marine Environment and Sustainable Development, #OceanAction15704 (International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC))
7x7x1 International Ocean Institute (IOI)- Ocean Governance training & capacity development, #OceanAction18076 (International Ocean Institute - IOI)
7x7x1 Taking Action to Increase Mangrove Habitat 20% by 2030, #OceanAction14787 (The Global Mangrove Alliance founding members Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund)
7x7x1 Renewable Energy from Coral and Karstic Formation, #OceanAction24052 (Ernesto Icogo / Global Network Member)
7x7x1 The World Team Project: Sustainable Solutions Oceans Opportunities & Small Island States (SOS-IS), #OceanAction21714 (World Team Now)
7x7x1 F3 - Future of Fish Feed: A collaborative effort toward fish-free aquaculture feeds, #OceanAction18933 ( F3 Challenge)
7x7x1 Strengthening institutional capacity and research in oceans at The University of the South Pacific, #OceanAction19944 (The University of the South Pacific)
7x7x1 Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project, #OceanAction15605 (International Maritime Organization)
7x7x1 Renewable Energy from Coral and Karstic Formation, #OceanAction24052 (Ernesto Icogo / Global Network Member)
7x7x1 Promote information and Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for the sustainability of small scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication., #OceanAction14945 (CoopeSoliDar R.L)
7x7x1 Promote, sustainably use, and protect kadalamma-the Mother Sea-with indigenous fisherfolk, #OceanAction14351 (Friends of Marine Life (FML))
7x7x1 Swedish strategy for global action on the environment, climate, oceans and natural resources 2018-2022., #OceanAction21416 (Government of Sweden)
7x7x1 Green Indonesia Waste Education for primary schools in Indonesia, #OceanAction23648 (Indonesian Waste Platform)
7x7x1 Science for deep-ocean sustainability, #OceanAction15238 (Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative)
7x7x1 Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries Minimize the Impacts from Aquatic Biofouling (GloFouling Partnerships), #OceanAction16601 (International Maritime Organization (IMO))
7x7x1 Implementation of the National Program for the Conservation of the Brazilian Coastline, #OceanAction19679 (Brazilian Government )
7x7x1 Green Indonesia Waste Education for primary schools in Indonesia, #OceanAction23648 (Indonesian Waste Platform)
7x7x1 Indonesian Waste Platform - Hub, #OceanAction16206 (Indonesian Waste Platform)
7x7x1 Renewable Energy from Coral and Karstic Formation, #OceanAction24052 (Ernesto Icogo / Global Network Member)
7x7x1 Aruba Plastic Bag Ban , #OceanAction20744 (Private Initiative)
7x7x1 Promote, sustainably use, and protect kadalamma-the Mother Sea-with indigenous fisherfolk, #OceanAction14351 (Friends of Marine Life (FML))
7x7x1 Strengthening institutional capacity and research in oceans at The University of the South Pacific, #OceanAction19944 (The University of the South Pacific)
7x7x1 The Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification, #OceanAction15798 (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP))
7x7x1 Clean Seas for a Cleaner Pacific, #OceanAction15962 (United Nations Environment Programme (UN entity)/Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (Intergovernmental Organisation))
7x7x1 Promote information and Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for the sustainability of small scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication., #OceanAction14945 (CoopeSoliDar R.L)
7x7x1 Care of the Oceans, #OceanAction21726 (World Christian Life Community)
7x7x1 Sustained and integrated ocean observing and open data sharing, #OceanAction20820 (EuroGOOS, European Global Ocean Observing System)
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