Ocean Action Hub

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Marine Biodiversity Database 'OBIS' Features Updated Marine Status and Trends

1 Feb 2019 - The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) has released an updated version of its ocean database.

1 Feb 2019 - The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) has released an updated version of its ocean database. The database’s new infrastructure and technology enable new data to be immediately processed, integrated into the database and made publicly available.

OBIS is a global, open-access data and information clearinghouse on marine biodiversity for science, conservation and sustainable development. OBIS aims to be a comprehensive gateway to global ocean biodiversity and biogeographic data and information necessary to tackle coastal and ocean concerns. Over 20 OBIS nodes around the world connect 500 institutions from 56 countries that have provided over 45 million observations of nearly 120,000 marine species. Information from OBIS includes data on the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine organization, as a contribution to the Aichi Biodiversity Target 19 (on improving, sharing and applying knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity by 2020) as well as other global processes like the UN World Ocean Assessment (WOA).

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/ocean-database-features-updated-marine-status-and-trends

OBIS ocean database: https://obis.org/

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IOC-UNESCO Provides Update on SDG 14 Indicator Development

7 Feb 2019 - IOC-UNESCO reports that the indicator methodology on how to conduct ocean acidification observation has been developed and trainings have begun on how to apply the methodology.

  • IOC-UNESCO reports that the indicator methodology on how to conduct ocean acidification observation has been developed and trainings have begun on how to apply the methodology.
  • In June 2019, Member States will be requested to share all data collected on SDG indicator 14.3.1 on ocean acidification.

7 Feb 2019 - The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) has shared an update on progress in measuring four of the targets for SDG 14 (life below water). Two of the indicators for these targets require methodological development, and two require additional data.

IOC-UNESCO is the custodian agency for the indicators for SDG target 14.3 on ocean acidification, and SDG target 14.a on marine scientific research, and it provides technical support and advice to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which is working to develop measurement methodologies for SDG target 14.1 on marine pollution and SDG target 14.2 on coastal eutrophication (excessive loading of water with nutrients).

SDG target 14.1 is to be measured using indicator 14.1.1 (Index of coastal eutrophication and floating plastic debris density), which is currently classified as Tier III, denoting that it requires methodological development, and will not be reflected in the UN’s annual SDG reports. IOC-UNESCO reports that a review of existing indicators and methodologies identified four main types of indicators for coastal eutrophication. These indicators focus on the cause of eutrophication, direct effects of eutrophication, indirect effects of eutrophication and modeled indicators of the potential for coastal eutrophication based on expected influence on eutrophication from land-based activities and nutrient load ratios. IOC-UNESCO also reports that there are four main indicator types for marine litter: plastic debris deposited or washed on beaches or shorelines; plastic debris on the seabed or seafloor; plastic ingested by biota; and plastic debris in the water column. IOC-UNESCO is also working to contribute to the development of the Index of Coastal Eutrophication (ICEP).

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/ioc-unesco-provides-update-on-sdg-14-indicator-development/

Photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis

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Sustainable Blue Economy Conference Concludes with 62 Commitments

12 Dec 2018 - The conference concluded with hundreds of pledges to advance a sustainable Blue Economy, including commitments related to: marine protection; plastics and waste management; maritime safety and security; fisheries development; financing; infrastructure; biodiversity and climate change; technical assistance and capacity building; private sector support; and partnerships.

  • The Conference focused on the theme, ‘The Blue Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.
  • “Leaders’ Commitments” were announced related to: marine protection; plastics and waste management; maritime safety and security; fisheries development; financing; infrastructure; biodiversity and climate change; technical assistance and capacity building; private sector support; and partnerships.

12 Dec 2018 - The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference concluded with hundreds of pledges to advance a sustainable Blue Economy, including 62 concrete commitments related to: marine protection; plastics and waste management; maritime safety and security; fisheries development; financing; infrastructure; biodiversity and climate change; technical assistance and capacity building; private sector support; and partnerships.

The Conference, which convened from 26-28 November 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, focused on the theme, ‘The Blue Economy and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ Over 18,000 participants from 184 countries registered to participate in the three-day event, which was organized around nine themes: smart shipping, ports, transportation and global connectivity; employment, job creation and poverty eradication; cities, tourism, resilient coasts and infrastructure; sustainable energy, mineral resources and innovative industries; managing and sustaining marine life, conservation and sustainable economic activities; ending hunger, securing food supplies and promoting good health and sustainable fisheries; climate action, agriculture waste management and pollution-free oceans; maritime security, safety and regulatory enforcement; and people, culture, communities and societies – the inclusive blue economy.

The messages from the meeting were captured in the ‘Nairobi Statement of Intent on Advancing the Global Sustainable Blue Economy.’ In addition, participants were invited to announce “Leaders’ Commitments,” which resulted in pledges including:

  • marine protection: €40 million to protect corals and reefs and €60 million for the protection of marine areas in African countries (EU);
  • plastics and waste management: US$100 million earmarked for better oceans management and against dumping, and US$200 million over the next four years for the development of initiatives to combat marine litter and microplastics (Norway);
  • maritime safety and security: €250 million for naval vessel replacement and the purchase of two marine patrol aircraft (Ireland);
  • fisheries development: €40 million to support aquaculture value chains in African countries (African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, EU);
  • infrastructure: 600 projects leading to an investment of US$120 billion (India – Sagarmala Programme);
  • biodiversity and climate change: a US$10 million investment in the Pacific Initiative for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Resilience (Canada, together with the EU, New Zealand and Australia);
  • technical assistance and capacity building: US$20 million in increased technical assistance and capacity development in small island developing States (Canada); and
  • private sector support: US$150 million by the Government of Canada and the private sector to build a knowledge-based ocean economy (Canada).

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/sustainable-blue-economy-conference-concludes-with-62-commitments/

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World Bank Announces 'PROBLUE' Trust Fund to Support Healthy, Productive Ocean

26 Sept 2018 - The multi-donor trust fund aims to tackle marine pollution, manage fisheries and facilitate the sustainable growth of coastal economies. The trust fund aims to support a healthy and productive ocean, in line with SDG 14 (life below water).

26 Sept 2018 - On the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73), the World Bank Group announced the creation of a multi-donor trust fund to tackle marine pollution, manage fisheries and facilitate the sustainable growth of coastal economies. The trust fund aims to support a healthy and productive ocean, in line with SDG 14 (life below water).

The World Bank designed the trust fund named, ‘PROBLUE,’ to tackle challenges facing the ocean, including marine pollution, overfishing and coastal erosion. PROBLUE aims to address these challenges, promote a healthy ocean and sustainable blue economy and contribute to the World Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and increasing the income and welfare of the poor in a sustainable manner. The initiative is part of the World Bank’s Blue Economy program, which works to ensure the protection and sustainable use of marine resources. Other active projects in the Blue Economy portfolio include activities to tackle marine pollution and implement large regional fisheries programs in Africa and the Pacific.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: 

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Join the UN Community of Ocean Action on Sustainable Fisheries!

IISD - To follow-up on outcomes from its Ocean Conference, held in 2017, the UN launched nine thematic multi-stakeholder “Communities of Ocean Action”, including one on fisheries.

IISD - To follow-up on outcomes from its World Ocean Conference, held in June 2017, the UN launched nine thematic multi-stakeholder “Communities of Ocean Action.” The communities are meant to generate new voluntary commitments and support collaboration across the many stakeholders implementing the Sustainable Development Goal on the ocean (SDG 14 on life below water).

The Communities are open to stakeholders that have registered voluntary commitments. Registration of new voluntary commitments are welcomed on an ongoing basis here: https://oceanconference.un.org/commitments. They are each be guided by two focal points who work in coordination with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

By its conclusion in June 2017, the UN Ocean Conference generated over 1,400 voluntary commitments towards sustainable use and conservation of the ocean. The commitments address the range of targets listed under SDG 14, reinforcing the ‘Our Ocean, Our Future: Call for Action,’ the major outcome document from the Conference.

You can join a UN Community of Ocean Action by registering a voluntary commitment on one of the following nine issues here: MangrovesCoral reefsOcean acidificationMarine and coastal ecosystems managementSustainable fisheriesMarine pollutionSustainable blue economyScientific knowledge, research capacity development and transfer of marine technologyImplementation of international law as reflected in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Additional resources:

[UN Ocean Press Release]

[SDG Knowledge Hub on Ocean Conference Outcomes

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Chilean Researchers Create ‘SoluBag’ to #BeatPlasticPollution

22 Oct 2018 - Researchers in Chile have created a bag that can dissolve in water. The bag has the potential to contribute to reducing marine plastic pollution.

22 Oct 2018 - Researchers in Chile have created a bag that can dissolve in water. The bag has the potential to contribute to reducing marine plastic pollution.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment), over 60,000 microplastic particles are contained in every square kilometer of the sea, although this figure is even higher for some parts of the world. These microplastic particles come from plastic waste that ends up in the ocean and then breaks down into smaller pieces as a result of wave erosion, bacteria and other environmental effects. Marine life may consume these microplastic particles, which then enter the global food chain.

Roberto Astete and Cristian Olivares, who designed the soluble bag, were working on experiments related to biodegradable detergents. During their experiments, they discovered that using a derivative of limestone, rather than oil byproducts, changes the structure of plastic from indestructible to soluble. This discovery led to the creation of the SoluBag.

A traditional plastic bag takes more than 150 years to degrade. The SoluBag can be disposed of in water in a few minutes.

Chile became the first country in South America to join other countries in banning the use of plastic bags as a step towards tackling plastic pollution. More than 50 countries have taken similar steps as part of the UN Clean Seas campaign.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/chilean-researchers-create-solubag-to-beatplasticpollution/

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Report Finds Poor Outlook for Pacific Coral Reefs

5 Oct 2018 - UN Environment/SPREP report concludes that “the outlook is poor” for Pacific coral reefs due to human-induced threats and climate change.

5 Oct 2018 - According to the report, coral reefs in the Pacific remain “less stressed” compared to reefs elsewhere, with strong potential for coral, fish and invertebrate populations to recover following damaging events.

However, the report concludes that while many Pacific reefs appear healthy and resilient now, “the outlook is poor” over the longer term as a result of increasing human-induced threats and global climate change.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP, or UN Environment) launched a report titled, ‘Status and Trends of Coral Reefs for the Pacific,’ which highlights the role of the region’s coral reefs in the life and culture of eight million Pacific islanders. The report will contribute to reporting for the SDGs and is a response to the priorities identified in the SAMOA Pathway and Pacific Oceanscape Framework.

The report is the culmination of a two-year process initiated at the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) Pacific Workshop, which took place in 2016. The preparation of regional periodic coral reef assessments is the main substantive activity of the GCRMN. UNEP and SPREP developed the report in partnership with the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and the Centre for Island Research and Environmental Observatory (CRIOBE), with financial support from the Governments of France, Sweden and the US. The report is also expected to inform the mid-term review of the SAMOA Pathway and development of the Pacific Coral Reef Action Plan 2020-2030, which SPREP coordinates.

The report analyzes long-term trends in coral reef health using primary data, including 20,000 surveys collected for 129 islands that cover nearly three decades. Although overall coral cover in the Pacific is relatively stable in comparison with other world regions, the report finds a statistically significant decline in coral cover across the Pacific reefs. In addition, coral reefs in the Pacific remain “less stressed” compared to reefs elsewhere, with strong potential for coral, fish and invertebrate populations to recover following damaging events. However, the report concludes that while many Pacific reefs appear healthy and resilient now, “the outlook is poor” over the longer term as a result of increasing human-induced threats and global climate change.

CONTINE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/report-finds-poor-outlook-for-pacific-coral-reefs/

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UNEP, UK Launch Plastic Challenge Badge for Girl Guides and Scouts

11 Sept 2018 - The Badge curriculum will first focus on youth groups and schools in Kenya, reaching an estimated 50,000 young people.

In future months, the initiative is expected to expand to empower millions of young people to tackle plastic pollution. The UK Government has provided US$50,000 in funding for the initial project.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and UN Environment Programme Executive Director Erik Solheim launched a Plastic Challenge Badge for Girl Guides and Scouts at the UN offices in Nairobi, Kenya. The Plastic Challenge Badge aims to promote education and action on reducing plastic consumption and kick-starting behavior change through hands-on environmental stewardship.

The Badge curriculum will first focus on youth groups and schools in Kenya, reaching an estimated 50,000 young people. In future months, the initiative is expected to expand to empower millions of young people to tackle plastic pollution.

Solheim praised the Plastic Challenge Badge in his remarks at the launch. He emphasized that the partnership with the UK Government and Guides and Scouts will not just fight plastic pollution but also contribute to investing “in the young minds that will preserve the planet for future generations to come.”

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/unep-uk-launch-plastic-challenge-badge-for-girl-guides-and-scouts/

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Conference Considers Ways to Move from Science to Action during Ocean Science Decade

21 Sept 2018 - The meeting at UNESCO headquarters invited the global ocean community to deliver “the ocean we need for the future we want.”

21 Sept 2018 - The High Level Scientific Conference, ‘From COP21 towards the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030),’ synthesized recent scientific progress on ocean and climate interplays, and evaluated the latest ocean-climate trends within the context of increased ocean action. Participants also reflected on ways to move from science to action during the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The conference took place from 10-11 September 2018, in Paris, France, at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The conference gathered inputs from multiple stakeholders, and invited the global ocean community to deliver “the ocean we need for the future we want.”

The session on ‘What does the Science Tell us Today about the Ocean?’ discussed how climate change has impacted the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life and how these changes will affect the livelihoods of people that rely on these resources. Panelists reflected on the challenges of making biological observations in the ocean, challenges for marine ecosystem modeling and the effects of land use change on ocean health.

The UNFCCC, SDG 14 and the BBNJ “are 80% about the ocean.”

The session on ‘An Intergovernmental Organization Perspective on Ocean, Climate and Biodiversity Knowledge’ focused on how the ocean is being integrated into the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and how ocean science is being integrated into UN frameworks, notably with regard to marine ecosystems and biodiversity. IPCC Co-Chair, Hans-Otto Pörtner, highlighted reports that will cover the ocean in the IPCC Sixth Assessment cycle, such as the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC) scheduled for approval in 2019. He recalled that the two most vulnerable marine ecosystems identified in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) are warm water coral reef systems and Arctic sea ice systems, outlining how disturbance of ecosystem functions can lead to loss of biodiversity and food chain disruption. IPBES President, Robert Watson, stressed that climate change and biodiversity are not isolated issues, and noted the need to understand the interplay between land, ocean and atmosphere. Panelists also described challenges to communicate the urgency of ocean conservation to decision makers in the context of multilateral negotiations, especially related to the deep sea. During discussions, panelists recommended further coordination between the IPCC and IPBES.

The session on ‘From Science to Action: How can the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Make a Difference?’ focused on the opportunities for the Decade to scale up science-based solutions to address the impact of climate-related changes on ocean, ecosystems and society. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) Chair, Peter Haugan, highlighted how the IOC Ocean Global Science Report will provide a benchmark for SDG 14 (life below water) with regard to science capacity. Panelists called for ocean literacy investments and further engagement with the marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) process, agreeing that the Decade can help with the implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the UNFCCC.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/conference-considers-ways-to-move-from-science-to-action-during-ocean-science-decade/

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Tech Company Develops Aquadrone to Tackle Plastic Pollution

5 Sept 2018 - RanMarine Technology has developed the WasteShark, an aquadrone that can “suck up” garbage from the water.

5 Sept 2018 - SDG KNOWLEDGE HUB - RanMarine Technology has developed the WasteShark, an aquadrone that can “suck up” garbage from the water. The aquadrone aims to stop plastic pollution at the source, eliminating floating debris before it drifts into the world’s oceans.

Preventing and reducing marine pollution, particularly from land-based activities, is the aim of SDG target 14.1. SDG 14 (life below water) focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

RanMarine Technology modeled the WasteShark after the whale shark, a filter feeder that consumes plankton and small crustaceans by sucking them through its long, flat mouth. The WasteShark has “an enormous mouth” that is designed to skim the water and track down trash, operating based on the same principles as the whale shark. The aquadron is best suited to collect trash in areas known as “waste chokeholds” such as canals, harbors, ponds and rivers.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/tech-company-develops-aquadrone-to-tackle-plastic-pollution/