Ocean Action Hub

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One Ocean: 3 Local stories - One global effort

11 Apr 2019 - Who is responsible for the health of our ocean? Our ocean is one of planet Earth’s greatest and most important resources.

It provides food for four out of 10 people in the world. It protects us from even more dangerous effects of climate change, and it provides an income for billions of people.

Humans need a healthy ocean to survive and yet, we keep polluting, exhausting, and destroying this valuable resource.

We need to save our ocean before it’s too late, but who decides how we best take care of it? Who decides how many resources we should take from it now, or how they should be harvested?

Who can be relied upon to make decisions that benefit the entire ecosystem, rather than the people of one nation, city, or village? These are the questions that communities along the coasts of all continents face, and together they must work towards common answers.

Together, the stories of three coastal communities in India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Peru illustrate the global challenge that all people and nations share. As these populations adopt sustainable practices, they also point the way towards a healthier, more verdant, and more prosperous future.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://oneocean.undp.org/

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The Cook Islands prepares for climate change

9 Apr 2019 - For centuries Cook Islanders have used traditional knowledge to read their environment and provide food for their families. And nature has provided.

9 Apr 2019 - For centuries Cook Islanders have used traditional knowledge to read their environment and provide food for their families. And nature has provided.

But they have witnessed changes over the past decades. Fish spawning seasons have shifted and rainfall, wave, and wind patterns are less predictable. The islanders are seeing coral bleaching and some native fish and shellfish are disappearing. Crops are increasingly affected by storm surges.

While these trends are being observed first-hand, scientific data is key to fully understanding the changes and ensuring that Cook Islanders are better prepared.

The government of the Cook Islands is focused on filling the gaps and now, with the automatic weather stations and a new online app, the Cook Islands Meteorological Service is modernizing the capture, analysis, and distribution of climate information which is key to building a more climate-smart future.

Thanks to the collaboration of Met Service; the telecommunication’s company Cook Islands BlueskyNew Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)Fiji’s Meteorological Service; and the Pa Enua (outer island) governments, with the support of the UNDP and the Adaptation Fund, what was once a manual process is now a seamless, automatic one.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@UNDP/the-cook-islands-prepares-for-climate-change-a7eeb947fd7

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Learning from the clownfish and the sea anemone

29 Mar 2019 - Shoko Noda, UNDP Maldives - A healthy marine ecosystem is critical to everyday life in the Maldives, and the major industries dependent on it: tourism and fisheries. The recent decline in fish catch shows how it can have lasting consequences for these small islands where everything is connected to the sea.

29 Mar 2019 - Shoko Noda, UNDP Maldives - I still remember seeing ‘kumanomi’ for the first time on a dive in Japan. It was so beautiful. Kumanomi in my language, or clownfish in English, usually live in warmer waters than the ocean around Tokyo, so I was lucky to spot one that day.

When I started to dive in the Maldives, I was thrilled to see clownfish everywhere, swaying within the sea anemones, with which they have a symbiotic relationship. The clownfish in the Maldives is bright orange with a white stripe behind its eyes and black fins around its belly. I always look for this photogenic fish on my dives, though they love to play hide-and-seek in their sea anemone homes.

The attractive and charming clownfish are a popular pet, kept in aquariums across the world. I noticed them in many fish tanks in the Maldives too, and also being exported. Sadly, the clownfish, like other ornamental fish, are not caught in an environmentally-friendly manner. Extraction techniques of these fish from their underwater coral homes are harming the fish and their natural habitats.

A healthy marine ecosystem is critical to everyday life for these idyllic communities, and the major industries dependent on it: tourism and fisheries. The recent decline in fish catch shows how it can have lasting consequences for these small islands where everything is connected to the sea.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@UNDP/learning-from-the-clownfish-and-the-sea-anemone-bd505fe20509

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How to choose, cook and eat fish sustainably - Chef Andrew Zimmern

13 Mar 2019 - Make sure wherever you buy fish you ask the seller where it's is from and who caught it. If they don’t know, tell them: retailers need to know their sources.

13 Mar 2019 - Chef Andrew Zimmern: This year, World Wildlife Day is raising the alarm on marine biodiversity loss. That’s a BIG problem, and I know many of you are thinking someone else will fix this, or saying to yourself “this isn’t real,” or even worse, “I know it’s happening, but I can’t possibly make a difference.” You CAN! And I will get to that shortly.

Life below water has sustained human civilization for, well, forever. Today our oceans provide food, nourishment, and livelihoods for over three billion people. They absorb 30 percent of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and fully 90 percent of the heat from climate change. Most importantly, oceans produce 50 percent of the oxygen on our planet — in other words, for every second breath we take.

Our planet’s oceans and its species face growing threats, including climate change, marine pollution, habitat destruction, and unsustainable fishing.

These threats, these human activities, have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of women and men living in poverty, on local communities, cultural societies, and on our massive global economies which depend on the marine ecosystem. I have spent my career seeing it in the very places where the water meets the land. And where fisheries fail, oceans fail. Supporting healthy fisheries and eating sustainable seafood is an easy way to help keep our global economies and oceans healthier.

I have seen the reductions in species and the impact on what were some of the most productive sustainable fisheries from Newfoundland’s cod fishery to Senegal’s tribal hand netting of local reef fish. I hear the same story everywhere I go, from Mr. Cox the conch diver in Tobago to Jamma the Sakalava spear fisherman in Madagascar. A decade ago these fisheries were productive and hundreds of local families were supported, on the table and in their local economies. Now they aren’t. In Marzamemi, in Southern Sicily, where there were once dozens of local fisheries and canneries, there is now only one. An entire industry wiped out in a generation. And why?

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Island Life

12 Mar 2019 - Published by UNDP Maldives, the magazine focuses on the importance of individual and collective action towards a more sustainable Maldives.

12 Mar 2019 - Published by UNDP Maldives, the magazine focuses on the importance of individual and collective action towards a more sustainable Maldives. Features include a story on coral restoration: Save the Beach Maldives have joined forces with Meeru Island Resort & Spa to start a coral conservation project in the Meeru Seas. Today, their coral garden is thriving and teeming with fish.

READ ONLINE: https://issuu.com/undpmaldives4/docs/islandlife_issue4_webversion_061218

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WORLD WILDLIFE DAY 2019: THE 15 BIGGEST THREATS TO THE WORLD’S OCEANS

5 March 2019 - From coral bleaching to acidification, Newsweek discusses 15 of the biggest threats facing the oceans today—as well as what we can do about them.

AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SAVE THEM

5 March 2019 - For the first time, the UN’s World Wildlife Day is highlighting threats to marine life. The theme of World Wildlife Day 2019, which takes place on March 3, is 'Life below water: for people and planet'. The title is a nod to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water, which focuses on protecting marine species.

“Oceans regulate our climate, produce half the oxygen we breathe, provide nourishment for [more than] 3 billion people, and absorb 30 percent of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and fully 90 percent of the heat from climate change,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UN Assistant Secretary-General, in November when the theme was announced.

UN World Wildlife Day was established in 2013, with the first event taking place in 2015. Its mission is to “celebrate and raise awareness of the world's wild fauna and flora.” Activities, film screenings and art contests are taking place across the world to draw attention to this year’s theme, including an event at UN Headquarters in New York.

Oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and make up more than 99 percent of the planet’s livable habitat, but scientists say they’re in serious trouble. The first systematic analysis of marine wilderness, published in the journal Current Biology in 2018, found that the ocean has been extensively altered due to human activity, with only 13 percent left undisturbed.

The news followed the revelation that over half the world’s oceans are being industrially fished. A 2018 study, published in the journal Science, found that commercial fishing covered a bigger area than global agriculture.

This massive disruption to ocean ecosystems can be caused by such diverse threats as overfishing, agricultural chemical offspill and global warming driving up sea temperatures. While threats to rainforests and other land environments have long been known, public awareness about the precarious state of the ocean are a more recent revelation, thanks in part to cultural phenomena like the BBC’s Blue Planet series.

From coral bleaching to acidification, Newsweek discusses 15 of the biggest threats facing the oceans today—as well as what we can do about them.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.newsweek.com/world-wildlife-day-2019-oceans-pollution-global-warming-1349026?utm_source=GoogleNewsstandTech&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Partnerships

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UN celebrates World Wildlife Day and 'Life below Water'

4 Mar 2019 - High-level representatives from UN member states and international organizations gathered at UN Headquarters to celebrate World Wildlife Day.

4 Mar 2019 - High-level representatives from UN member states and international organizations gathered on Friday at UN Headquarters to celebrate the UN World Wildlife Day under the theme 'Life below water: for people and planet.'

The benefits of marine and coastal resources are enormous. Over 3 billion people depend on these resources for their livelihoods globally. The market value of marine and coastal resources and related industries is estimated at US$3 trillion per year, about 5% of global GDP. Alarmingly, despite its critical importance, life below water faces many threats, amongst them an area of primary concern for CITES, which is their unsustainable exploitation for international trade. Over 30% of commercially exploited marine fish stocks are overfished.

Jointly organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the event was attended by senior government officials, international organizations dealing with fisheries such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), conservation leaders, the private sector, celebrity advocates and youth representatives.  

The UN Secretary-General provided a message for World Wildlife Day 2019.

The speakers and expert panelists shared with the audience their experiences and views on the crucial contributions of life below water to sustainable development as well as the challenges faced in ensuring its conservation and sustainable use, while highlighting solutions to address them.

World Wildlife Day 2019, which falls on 3 March, focuses on marine species and aligns closely with the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about the breathtaking diversity of marine wildlife, the benefits it brings to our everyday lives as well as ways to ensure that it can continue to do so for generations to come.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/announcements/2019/un-celebrates-world-wildlife-day-and--life-below-water-.html

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World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Living Oceans

1 Mar 2019 - The winners were announced today in New York at an event to celebrate WWD2019, which falls on Sunday, 3 March.

1 Mar 2019 - The winners were announced today in New York at an event to celebrate WWD2019, which falls on Sunday, 3 March. The ocean and 'life below water' have sustained human civilization and development for millennia. Despite their importance for sustainable development, marine species are facing various threats and are in need of our immediate attention if we want to ensure that they can continue to fulfill that role during our lifetimes and for future generations. To emphasize the importance of this issue, Jackson Hole Wild, the CITES Secretariat and UNDP have come together once again to organize a film showcase for World Wildlife Day. This year, the theme 'Life Below Water: For People and Planet' spotlights threatened species, highlighting the problems we are facing and the ideas we can use to tackle them.

Judges, professional filmmakers, marine biologists and stakeholders from around the world chose the winners from more than 235 entries in 6 categories:Ocean Heroes; People and Oceans; Ocean Issues and Solutions; Marine Life; Ocean Short; and Ocean Micro-Movie.

Both winners and finalist films will be subsequently showcased extensively to raise global awareness of the importance of marine species and the critical challenges they face at community screening events presented by partners throughout the world, including free educational screening events for students as well as for local communities around the world to take action to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.

List of winners online here: https://www.cites.org/eng/news/UN-celebrates-marine-species-for-World-Wildlife-Day-with-moving-pictures_01032019

More online here: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2019/finalist...

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Meet Manal Rouphael, UNDP Ocean Action Volunteer

21 Feb 2019 - Meet Manal and read her story. She joined our Ocean Action Campaign as a volunteer in September and focused her activities back to her roots in Lebanon.

21 Feb 2019 - Meet Manal: she joined UNDP's Ocean Action Campaign as a volunteer in September 2018. Manal focused her activities back to her roots - Lebanon.

I spent the first 24 years of my life with a beach less than 10 minutes away from my house. I used to open my eyes every morning looking at the Mediterranean Sea, I never felt bored of this beautiful view, I never felt bored swimming every day in this endless blue water, I never felt bored driving next to the beaches nor sitting at the shores even though it was cold in winter. It is the perfect place to go no matter the time or weather. It is a place where you can just sit and think about life, and make decisions. It is the place where you want to be happy and relaxed. Being there gives you a feeling you could never understand until you are there.

Then I moved to the middle of the United States of America where the closest beach to me is over 15 hours driving.

Living far away from the sea has taught me to appreciate it more than I ever had. I miss it every single moment. 

However, even when I am visiting back home, I still miss it. Unfortunately, all I can smell and all I can see around me when I am standing by the shore is rubbish. #Lebanon’s waste crisis began in 2015 when a huge landfill site closed and government authorities failed to implement a contingency plan in time to replace it. Sadly, since then, everything has been dumped directly into the sea and coastal landfills which has been causing a major disaster for the shoreline ecosystem and public health. The level of sea pollution in Lebanon is dangerous. Urgent actions need to be taken!!

From there, I decided to volunteer and join the UN Development Programme’s Ocean Action Hub where I had the opportunity to promote Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) for Healthy Marine Ecosystems for People and the Planet among the environmental organizations, scientists, civil movements, and youth groups in Lebanon. The most important thing was to make these groups aware that they are not alone in trying to stop pollution and protecting the Ocean and that there is a global community for the ocean that they can join.

ACTIONS need to be taken and more volunteers are needed in order to promote SDG14 around the world. “Without a healthy Ocean, human life will suffer.”

I dream of a healthy Ocean/ living for our present and future generations. Let’s make it REAL!

READ ONLINE HERE: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ocean-action-hub/meet-manal-rouphael-undp-ocean-action-volunteer-from-the-usa-by-way-of-lebanon/954235631367573/

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Why aren’t fish coming back?

19 Feb 2019 - Mark Kurlansky - We have arrived at a point where a fishery that could be saved simply by good management would be extremely fortunate.

19 Feb 2019 - Mark Kurlansky - We have arrived at a point where a fishery that could be saved simply by good management would be extremely fortunate. The abused ocean is having difficulty sustaining life.

Sustainable is an ever more complicated word. In the mid-1960s, when I was a kid working on commercial fishing boats in New England, the fishermen were constantly talking about the problem of over fishing. They were among the first to raise the issue. But they were primarily complaining about foreigners in their waters, especially Russians and Japanese. After 200-mile exclusions zones were declared by most countries in the 1970s, the problem of overfishing foreigners was solved. Then came a worse problem of overfishing local fishermen.

To be clear, the problem of overfishing is not a failure of fishermen, it is a failure of government. Fishermen fish and governments regulate. Management has been so faulty that fishermen have been talking about regulating themselves, which is an interesting possibility, but oversight would still be needed.

In 1994 when the most historically important fishery in the world collapsed, the northern cod stock on the Canadian Grand Banks, government started taking fishery management seriously, at least in the northern hemisphere. Exploitation of southern countries and the devastation of those previously only slightly fished waters became a major classically colonialist problem.

But in the north, particularly in North America and Europe, fishing became tightly regulated. One would imagine the fish coming back. But this has not happened. It’s turned out to be far more complicated than originally thought. To simply order fisherman to take fewer fish became a wasteful policy forcing fishermen to throw away their catch. Then came reduced efforts, limiting the number of days at sea, the size of nets, the power of engines. Closing down certain grounds for a number of years. Sometimes using a combination of these proved most successful.

There have been a few victories and a few improvements. Cod, we are told, has become once again abundant on the banks in the North Sea. But when the actual numbers are looked at, while they have increased, they are still at levels once considered disastrous, nowhere near the levels once considered natural. It is a problem that biologists call ‘shifting baselines’. We become accustomed to such low numbers that improvements that are far below what was once considered healthy are hailed as success. We are getting to a point where few people remember what it once was, and so the goals become obscured.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@UNDP/why-arent-fish-coming-back-22811c280ea1

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