United Nations
Issue 3 | 19 May 2017

62 new Voluntary Commitments for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 to #SaveOurOcean were received this past week. The distribution of entities that put forward commitments include Governments (14); IGOs (10); UN entities (12); NGOs (12); Private Sector (4); Partnerships (1); Academic Institutions (4); Scientific (2) Philanthropic Organization (1) and Civil Society (2).

Among governments is a commitment from Belgium for the preparation of a national action plan to reduce the damage caused by ballast water from ships. A commitment from the Government of Pakistan to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Pakistan's coastal waters 6 from Germany, 3 from Madagascar, 1 each from Chile, India, Monaco and Panama.

Among the IGOs were commitments from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), committing to engender new levels of commitment by governments and other stakeholders, and new partnerships to enhance the conservation of whales in the region, through a five-year management plan that will maximise the level of protection available to whales across the Pacific islands region. Other commitments from UN & IGOs include the ACCOBAMS (Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic area), Commonwealth Secretariat and International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

Commitments from other stakeholders include: World Meteorological Organization. Others include Ocean Alliance with the Drones for Whale Research: SnotBot.

Designation of the First Ever Marine Protected Area in Pakistan

Lead Entity: Pakistan Government.

The Government of Pakistan as a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is obligated by the CBD to declare at least 10% of its coastal and marine areas as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). While it has shown commitment to the SDGs, the Government appreciates that there is not a single Marine Protected Area (MPA) established in Pakistan's coastal waters.

With support from various federal, provincial government agencies and non-governmental organisations the Pakistan Government has initiated the process of establishing MPAs in Pakistan. The proposed MPA sites have been identified through a consultative process involving relevant stakeholders and based on their biodiversity and socioeconomic significance. These sites support a variety of species of demersal fisheries, cetaceans (dolphins and whales), sea turtles, endemic reptiles, corals and mangroves. Unregulated and extractive human activities have threatened biodiversity resources of these sites. The objective of designation of the proposed sites as MPAs is to ensure effective protection and conservation of biodiversity resources and create livelihood benefits for dependent fisherfolk communities.

The Plastic Bank's commitment to provide a market based solution alleviating ocean plastic pollution and poverty while reducing CO2 emissions

Lead Entity: The Plastic Bank.

Jambecks (2015) seminal study notes with business as usual (BAU), by 2025, there will be a ten-fold increase in the amount of plastic waste available to enter our oceans. At this time, with BAU, our grandchildrens’ ocean will have, by weight, more plastic than fish (WEF 2016).

The Plastic Bank (TPB) through this commitment is dedicated to promoting the sustainable use of plastic by promoting circular economy principles and responsible consumerism. Their primary dedication to SDG 14 is removing millions, soon billions, of pounds of ocean bound plastic and stream this material into the economy-to help reduce the need for virgin plastic.

TPB will work collaboratively with partners to alleviate ocean plastic and global poverty. It will be a convenience store for the world's poor that accepts plastic waste as a currency, and is sustained through the use of Social Plastic (SP). SP is purchased by socially and environmentally conscious brands who pay a modest price premium for SPs sustainability benefits. Sustainability verification and payment to collectors will be managed by TPBs blockchain (an application that recently won an IBM Beacon Award). This enables TPB's Social Plastic movement to capture and manage millions of pounds of ocean bound plastic and transform plastic waste into a compelling story for the supply chains of our global brands.

Weather and climate services for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries

Lead Entity: World Meteorological Organization.

The World Meteorological Organization commits to optimize the use of the available Hydro-Meteorological infrastructure and knowledge to support decision making to contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation policies in African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP countries). The general objective will foster sustainable development in ACP countries by improving the decision-making process through informed adaptation options to climate variability and change.

The specific objective will support the climate information services value chain with technical assistance, financial assistance, infrastructure and capacity building to improve wide access and use of climate information, and to enable and encourage the creation and use of climate services and applications for decision making processes at all levels. It will strengthen the tools to bridge climate services stakeholders and users in various priority sectors to resource and implement the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) at all levels.

Implementation of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

Lead Entity: Government of Chile

The Chilean National Government proposes the creation of a Marine Protected Area that combines Multiple-Use Coastal Marine Protected Areas and a Marine Park that will protect 15 million marine hectares, which are part of Chile's exclusive economic zone and are at the southern-tip of the sub-Antarctic Magellanic natural laboratory, one of the most important in the world.

Chile is developing a model that integrates science and education into environmental and economic sustainability through three areas of work:

  1. Extension and management plan for the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of the CHBR, its implementation and expansion with the inclusion of the new Cape Horn Marine Protected Area, which also protects terrestrial ecosystems.
  2. Expansion and consolidation of the Cape Horn Long-Term Ecological Research Network (Cape Horn- LTER), which includes:
    • monitoring and experimental permanent plots in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and
    • biogeochemical and climatic record stations in the Diego Ramrez archipelago (Gonzalo Island), Cape Horn archipelago (Horn Island), and Omora Ethnobotanical Park (at different altitudinal levels).
  3. Launch of the Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Center (CSCH) in Puerto Williams with its three work areas:
    • Professional - technical education in special interest tourism,
    • Cape Horn Visitors Center and
    • Sustainable Tourism Observatory, and Biocultural Research Center.

Mobile GPS to locally manage Marine Protected Areas / Spatial Closure to avoid illegal, unregulated fishing

Lead Entity: Odaku Online Services Private Limited

Odaku has built a Mobile GPS Solution for small-scale marine industry for implementation of SDG 14 specifically to support sustainable small-scale fisheries, end overfishing, illegal fishing, protecting marine protected area, and providing access for small-scale fishers to marine resources and markets.

The Odaku platform allows the local fishing communities to define the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) / Spatial Planning and will alert the fishermen when they enter into unregulated Areas. It also keeps the travel history of the fishermen so that the local communities can work together to end illegal / unregulated fishing with the help of monitoring the fishermen activity with local communities.Small-scale fishers can use the GPS solution and save their data in the cloud. The data can be shared with others and thus saves fuel cost by reducing the search for fish. The data can be further analysed and used for a better catch.

Belgium's national action plan on Ballast Water by Federal Public Service of Mobility and Transport

Lead Entity: Ocean Alive

Belgium commits to the preparation of a national action plan to reduce the damage caused by ballast water from ships. The process of loading and unloading untreated ballast water poses a major threat to the environment, public health and the economy as ships become a vector for the transfer of organisms between ecosystems, from one part of the world to another.

The Ballast Water Convention, managed by the International Maritime Organization in London, aims at preventing, limiting and eventually eliminating the displacement of harmful aquatic organisms and germs by controlling and managing the ballast water and sediment of ships. The approval of the Ballast Water Convention represents an important step towards better protection of the marine environment from damage caused by ballast water from ships. As a result, Belgium places itself globally in the group of countries that wants to pursue an active policy for the protection of the marine environment.

Drones for Whale Research: SnotBot

Lead Entity: Ocean Alliance

Whales in our oceans today face more threats than ever before. Chemical pollution, climate change, noise pollution, bycatch/entanglement in fishing gear, loss of prey species and ship strikes the prime antagonists in a long list of destructive, diversifying and intensifying pressures.

The Ocean Alliance believe that drones can be the answer to this problem. To this end the NGO has been running the Drones for Whale Research program since 2012.

The purpose of this program has been to explore and push the boundaries of this new research paradigm. As with many novel applications of new technologies, it can be some time before the most effective and efficient use of the technology is determined. Our objective with this program is to accelerate this learning stage in order that the benefits of these tools can more quickly be reaped by the science and conservation communities.

Marine science training and capacity building

Lead Entity: The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

ICES is a global marine science organization for data and information products, scientific cooperation and advice. One of ICES main products is training.

The ICES training programme promotes ecosystem-based approaches and builds capacity for ocean governance. The Programme was initiated in 2009 to spread scientific knowledge and help build human capacity. Approximately 8 courses are offered throughout each year, on a range of topics, including fish stock assessment ecosystem modelling, model building, management strategy evaluation, Bayesian inference, integrated ecosystem assessment, analysis and visualization of Vessel Monitoring Systems, communication of science and advice, and how to lead an effective technical meeting. This directly responds to UN SDG 14 targets 14.2. (Sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts) and 14.4.

In 2018 ICES will expand its human capacity building services thematically and geographically by organizing a series of training courses for the Large Marine Ecosystem practitioners under the GEF/UNDP Strengthening Global Governance of Large Marine Ecosystems and Their Coasts through Enhanced Sharing and Application of LME/ICM/MPA Knowledge and Information Tools LME-LEARN project.

Marine Protected Area in the Weddell-Sea, Antarctica

Lead Entity:Government of Germany

The proposal for a marine protected area (MPA) in the Weddell Sea (Atlantic part of the southern Ocean) was developed by Germany and was submitted by the European Union to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The Commission is currently engaged in a multiannual process to develop the scientific basis for a representative network of marine protected areas in the Antarctic Ocean.

The Weddell Sea is one of a total of nine planning regions in the CCAMLR convention area which covers the entire Southern Ocean. The German proposal refers to an area of around 1.8 million square kilometers. It would be the world's largest marine protected area. When preparing the Weddell Sea protection proposal, hundreds of thousands of scientific data and information were compiled and analyzed from a 4.2-million square kilometer planning area with the aim to determine the most vulnerable regions.

New commitments to reduce CO2 emissions (and their impact on the Ocean) from the international shipping sector

Lead Entity: International Chamber of Shipping

The global shipping industry, as represented by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is committed to the delivery of the following Aspirational Objectives for CO2 emissions reduction by the international shipping sector. The commitments objectives are:

  1. To maintain international shippings annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels;
  2. To reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008; and
  3. To reduce international shipments total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction.

Total stats
Entity types
Among Organisations Registered this week
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Madagascar
  • Pakistan
  • Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
  • UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
  • United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
  • United Nations Environment
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
  • Commonwealth Secretariat
  • International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
  • International Seabed Authority
  • Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM)
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