Implementation of OA-Africa
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda and a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including a goal dedicated to the ocean, SDG 14, which calls to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Measuring process to achieve its target 14.3 (Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels) and its related indicator 14.3.1 (Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations) needs data and information. And though Africa and in particular the countries part of WIOMSA highly rely on ocean resources, little is known about ocean acidification in the region and its impacts on ocean and human health. This together with the current declines in ocean assets, and future population and economic growth, provide a profound challenge to the Blue Economy's future in Africa.
Yet, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), which is supported by multiple organizations such as IOC-UNESCO, the OA-ICC of the IAEA and IOCCP, as well as in collaboration with The Ocean Foundation (Washington D.C) has already started the process of establishing the technical and human capacity for ocean acidification measurement in OA-Africa. However, only one platform in the Eastern African region is currently registered as measuring ocean acidification and delivering relevant data.
Recently, WIOMSA in partnership with IOC-UNESCO, OA-ICC and GOA-ON, supported six projects along the Eastern African Coast to support ocean acidification observation systems in the field, the implementation of the SDG 14.3.1 indicator methodology, the investigation of biological response to ocean acidification using experimental set-ups in the laboratory, or a combination of both.
Essential Regional and Local Actions for OA-Africa
While international action to address ocean acidification is increasing, regional and local activities are needed to allow for rapid implementation and visible results on the ground at a local scale.
The following steps should be taken to address local and regional ocean acidification and other issues:
- Monitor OA conditions in coastal waters to identify any potential hot spots or refugia. Share data through the Global OA Observing Network (GOA-ON) so that other nations, in the regional and internationally, can learn from your situation. This data can also be used to meet SDG 14.3 which mandates countries provide data related to OA conditions.
- Reduce local sources of acidification, if documented to be present and feasible.
- Reduce other stressors to the marine environment to enhance overall ecosystem resilience.
- Protect natural carbon sinks such as seagrass beds and mangroves.
- Identify flexible and resistant species for sea food production.
- Explore other sea food production options.
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
- Scientific research and cooperation to address ocean acidification knowledge gaps
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
- Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
- Research capacity development
- Data access and sharing
- Training and professional development
- Scientific cooperation
- Transfer marine technology
- Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
- Strengthening ocean governance, for example through the development of a national ocean policy or regional ocean policy
- Development of necessary infrastructure and/or enforcement capabilities to comply with international law, as reflected in UNCLOS and as complemented by other ocean-related instruments