Pacific Island communities and ecosystems are resilient to the impacts of ocean acidification and a changing ocean, with practical adaption measures and alternate livelihoods in place.
Pacific island communities and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of ocean acidification and ocean warming. The Partnership builds on the outcomes of the International Workshop on Ocean Acidification: State-of-the-Science Considerations for Small Island Developing States that was co-hosted by New Zealand and the United States, in partnership with SPREP, as an official side-event at the 3rd UN SIDS Conference in 2014. The Partnership builds on the New Zealand Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification project, which is a collaborative effort between SPREP, SPC, USP and the Pacific island countries and territories, with support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Principality of Monaco. Efforts are currently underway to scale up these efforts, and the Partnership will be a key part of new actions.
The Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification will focus on:
1. Research and Monitoring During the Pacific Regional UN Oceans preparatory meeting, national participants highlighted the need for information and research to inform policies and decision making in their high-level statement that was endorsed by senior officials and leaders. Monitoring and research must be linked to policy and management and lead to meaningful action on the ground.
2. Identification and Implementation of Practical Adaptation and Resilience Building Actions While there is still a need for further research to fully understand the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on marine ecosystems, the world no longer has the luxury of time to wait for this. As is noted in emergency responder training, imperfect care delivered in a timely fashion is better than perfect care that arrives too late. The world has already lost 50% of its corals and will likely lose 90% of them by 2050. Given the high dependence of Pacific communities on coral reefs and the fisheries they support, it is essential that we accept these grim facts/forecasts and take meaningful action for restoration, protection, and alternate livelihoods for the coastal communities of the Pacific to ensure their resilience and well-being.
3. Capacity Building and Awareness Raising To ensure meaningful action and support for action on ocean acidification and climate change, it is essential that there is sufficient capacity to carry out the necessary work at the local, national, and regional scales, and that policy makers and stakeholders are aware of the challenges and the opportunities to overcome them.
Implementation Methodologies and Governance:
The Partnership seeks to enhance international, regional, and national collaboration on ocean acidification, building on the strengths and needs of our partners. SPREP is established in the region as the lead regional agency on ocean acidification and climate change, and will lead the work through our officials meetings and in collaboration with our partners.
Consider and incorporate the impacts of ocean acidification into regional and national planning and policies by 2020.
Establish a Pacific Island Ocean Acidification Observation Network of long-term monitoring sites, with local capacity building to implement and maintain by 2020.
Identify particularly vulnerable ecosystems and communities, provide guidance on practical adaptation and resilience building interventions, and support countries in accessing climate change finance by 2020.
Support and conduct research, supported by marine technology transfer, to address knowledge gaps related to the impacts of ocean acidification in the region, specifically coastal pH patterns and habitat mapping (particularly coral reefs and seagrass beds) at sites in each participating country by 2030.