22 Feb 2019 - IISD - Signatories to the Brussels Declaration on the ocean and climate change commit to continue developing, by 2020, an international legally binding instrument under the UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, and state that combating adverse climate impacts “must be in accordance with this future instrument”.
- The Declaration also calls for urgent action to reduce GHGs in the international shipping sector.
A high-level conference has issued a declaration on the ocean and climate change as part of the strategy developed by the Ocean Pathway process, which aims to include oceans on the formal agenda of the climate negotiations. Participants discussed the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity, the role of offshore energy production and the need to reduce ship emissions.
The Conference on ‘Climate Change and Oceans Preservation’ convened on 19 February in Brussels, Belgium. Belgium’s Federal Public Service (FPS) Health organized the Conference, which welcomed over 500 participants.
On sustainable development, climate change and ocean biodiversity, the Brussels Declaration reaffirms the commitments in SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), recognizing their interconnectivity, and expresses support to enhance ocean, climate and biodiversity-related actions. Signatories commit to continue engaging constructively in developing an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) by 2020 and recognize that conservation and sustainable use of ocean biodiversity require tools, particularly area-based management tools (ABMT), to improve resilience to climate change. The Declaration states that combating adverse climate impacts “must be in accordance with this future instrument.”
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