Ocean Action Hub

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Mangroves restoration for healthy ocean in Timor-Leste

15 Jan 2018 - 150 youth volunteers spent three days together in a fishing camp learning about mangrove conservation and commited to promote ecotourism, biodiversity, and raising awareness about mangrove conservation.

15 Jan 2018 - The initiative is the youth tribute to the national heroes who sacrificed their lives for Timorese independence. 

With fond memories of the national heroes of Timor-Leste, on 7 December 2018, approximately 150 youth volunteers teamed up and spent three days together in a camp, ‘Peace Fishing Camp’ in Hera of Dili. The camp concluded with the renewed spirit and the commitment to promote ecotourism, biodiversity, and raising awareness about mangrove conservation

The fishing camp, with the slogan, ‘Healthy Ocean, Bring Peace to Everyone,’ was jointly organized by Kail BA DAME, Leste-News, Independent-News, and Com Norma (Inc) in partnership with national and international agencies, including UNDP’s Coastal Resilience Building Project. Mr. Acacio Guterres, Director General of the Fisheries, and Roni Pati Tpoi from the UNDP among others shared and sensitized youth about mangrove conservation. Mr. Guterres in his address, asked all youths to continue this mission.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.tl.undp.org/content/timor_leste/en/home/newscentre/articles/2018/mangroves-restoration-for-healthy-ocean-.html

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Small grants, big results: Celebrating 25 years of fostering biodiversity in Belize

8 Jan 2018 - To preserve Belize’s coral reef systems, Fragments of Hope has planted over 119,000 corals. Here UNDP celebrates 25 years of GEF SGP partnerships that foster biodiversity in Belize.

8 Jan 2018 - To preserve Belize’s coral reef systems, Fragments of Hope has planted over 119,000 corals. Here UNDP celebrates 25 years of GEF SGP partnerships that foster biodiversity in Belize, including these initiatives:

What goes up must flow down

From the rivers to the deep blue sea, climate change has had a lasting effect in Belize. The coral reefs are dying, and one solution to this colossal dilemma is coral restoration. Fragments of Hope have created a programme funding coral restoration. It has planted over 119,000 corals and provided training and employment, especially for women.

Searching for the invisible fish

The Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye are unique tourist attractions located at the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. The reef is tranquil in variations of blue and green, and a casual visitor might not notice that it has suffered from overfishing.

The Belize Audubon Society has helped 37 fishers and their families create businesses that reduce their reliance on fishing and they also teach sustainable fishing.

Seaweed, the life of the sea

Seaweed plays an integral role in fish health but its population has been declining due to the deterioration of the seas around Belize. The coastal town of Placencia was seeing drastically reduced catches and its economy was suffering.

The Placencia Producers Cooperative Society came up with a solution — seaweed farming — which has provided a new source of income for fishers. Seaweed is harvested and processed as soap, lotion, and even a drink.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/@UNDP/small-grants-big-results-2b61397c61c7

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Protecting the fish that swim in sunlight

25 Dec 2018 - In November, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to launch a National Action Plan for sustainable fisheries of large pelagic species

25 Dec 2018 - Twelve years ago, in a restaurant in Puntarenas on the pacific coast of Costa Rica, a group of long line fishermen sat down to eat with three UNDP conservation specialists.

The conservationists wanted to stop illegal fishing inside the Cocos Island Marine Protected Area, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The fishermen were worried about their livelihoods, already under threat because of declining fish numbers.

The meeting didn’t go well and not many hands were shaken after dessert. But it had far-reaching consequences that neither side could have envisioned that day.

According to data estimated by the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (INCOPESCA), the country's fishing sector employs about 2,000-3,200 people. But if you factor in the families they support, the number rises to between 10,000-16,000 and that’s without the thousands of other jobs associated with fishing, such as transportation.

How could the goals of conservation also meet the needs of fishermen and their families?

Fast forward twelve years, and the perspectives of both the conservationists and the fishermen have changed. In November, not far from that restaurant in Puntarenas, Costa Rica became the first country in the world to launch a National Action Plan for sustainable fisheries of large pelagic species

Pelagic fish, such as mahi mahi, swordfish, and sharks, live in sunlit waters of about 200 metres.

The plan will improve fisheries, increase the supply of sustainable seafood, and ensure the social welfare of people who depend on fishing. Running in tandem with UNDP's support of the Green Commodities Programme, which focuses on the sustainability challenges of highly-traded commodities, it will directly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Costa Rica.  

It’s the result of twelve months of negotiations involving more than one hundred representatives of government, academia, civil society, fishermen, exporters, restaurants and supermarkets.

And it’s transformed people who were once adversaries into allies, working for a more sustainable, inclusive and promising future for Costa Rican fisheries.                          

During the presentation one of the fishermen approached the same UNDP officer he met all those years ago and said; “I want to thank UNDP for the trust it has given us, and for helping us build a formal plan.”

CONTINUE READING: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/Costa_Rica_First_Coun...

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10 tips for happy and eco-friendly holidays

24 Dec 2018 - This holiday season can be different.

24 Dec 2018 - At this time of year we focus on buying gifts for special people in our lives, but we rarely think the consequences of our spending.

Take single-use plastic bags. If we keep using them at the rate we are, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050. Clothes are one of the largest wasteful contributions to landfills, and they add microplastics and nanoplastics to our oceans. In the US, people throw away 13 million tons in unwanted gifts every year. About 34 percent of that is clothing.

In 2016 the world generated almost 45 million metric tons of electronic waste, equivalent to almost 4,500 Eiffel Towers

This holiday season can be different. Let the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), inspire us to move from linear to circular consumption, where we consider the entire life cycle of the things we buy, and create new shopping and festive holiday habits.

Our top 10

1. Use reusable bags

2. Use non-disposable bottles for liquids

3. Make sure takeaway food packaging is eco-friendly, and preferably made of compostable materials. For outdoor parties use biodegradable or compostable cups.

4. More than a third of all food is wasted. Learn to shop and store food in ways that ensure it doesn’t end up in landfills, producing methane.

5. Choose clothing made from organic cotton.

6. Create your own fashion trends by buying gently-used items at thrift stores.

6. Buy products made by local artisans. This promotes local economies and saves transport emissions.

7. Properly dispose of waste for recycling. Recycle gift wrap (and try to use recycled materials in the first place), recycle glass, aluminum and plastics.

8. Donate everything you don’t need; many things can be refused and shared.

9. Exchange gifts that aren’t ‘things’, such as an art gallery membership, a massage, or even make your own gifts from local materials.

10. Finally, in the spirit of the season, consider ways in which you might help people who are going through hard times, such as those who live in poverty, those displaced by migration, or who a victims of violence

Let us live our lives guided by the ideals of the 2030 Agenda. This can be a time to raise awareness, to take care of the planet, to help those who are most in need and leave no one behind.

CONTINUE READING: https://medium.com/@UNDP/10-tips-for-happy-and-eco-friendly-holidays-d44...

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The Blue Forest: A Kenyan community fights climate change with mangroves
21 Dec 2018 - Mangroves have a role to play when it comes to climate change.

21 Dec 2018 - Just off the southern coast of Kenya, a forest grows from the ocean. This dense mangrove ecosystem - stretching across the mouth of Gazi Bay - serves myriad functions: a nursery for young fish, the source of firewood for two local villages, a tourism attraction with a snaking boardwalk, a spiritual site, and a natural dike to protect the coast.

It is also is a raw, respiring ingredient to fight climate change.


"Mangroves have a role to play when it comes to climate change," says Josphat Mwamba Mtwana, who is the Project Coordinator of Mikoko Pamoja, a community-led project that has been protecting and restoring Gazi Bay's mangrove forests since 2013.

Mikoko Pamoja protects 117 hectares of state-owned mangroves, representing almost 16% of mangroves in the bay. Each year, the project plants a further 4,000 mangrove trees in eroding areas. These two measures actively combat climate change.

How? Mangroves are natural carbon-scrubbers. As they respire, mangroves suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. They store CO2, which is one of the key greenhouse gases causing climate change, in their above-ground and below-ground components, and in the soil beneath their spider leg roots. Long-term storage of CO2 is a process called carbon sequestrationand as such, a mangrove forest acts as a 'carbon sink'.

CONTINUE READING HERE: https://equatorinitiative.exposure.co/the-blue-forest

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Meet Phan Mai Thanh Ngân (Ngân), UNDP Ocean Action Volunteer from Vietnam

19 Dec 2018 - Ngân joined the Ocean Action Campaign to #respect and help #SaveOurOcean in August 2018. Learn about her story and why she joined the campaign.

19 Dec 2018 - Ngân joined the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP Ocean Action Hub’s global campaign to #respect and help #SaveOurOcean in August 2018. Learn about her story and why she joined the campaign.

My full name is Phan Mai Thanh Ngân. You can call me Ngân for short. I am from #Vietnam. As a volunteer for the Ocean Action Hub of the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP, I am delighted to share with you my wonderful experience here.

The first time I saw the sea in person was when I was 7 years old. At that moment, though I was not old enough to have a profound knowledge of the important role of the sea in human life, I told myself that I would #protect that breathtaking view. I said that because I fell in love with the beauty of the sea on the first sight. That beauty greatly attracted a 7-year-old girl like me. 13 years passed, the passion of a little girl towards the sea did not fade away. Instead, such enthusiasm is growing. Now, I wish to conserve the #ocean not just only because of its exquisite beauty. The ocean, in fact, has many other values to appreciate besides its stunning beauty.

One of the actions that I have taken to protect the ocean is doing #volunteer work regarding ocean issues. I feel extremely lucky to come across the volunteering opportunity for the Ocean Action Hub. It is my honor to make a contribution to UNDP in general and Ocean Action Hub in particular by calling for commitment(s) in the official UN database so that we can far more easily achieve SDG14 targets and better the ocean health.

I find it absolutely worth doing.

Firstly, before working as a volunteer, I did not know much about areas of action we could do to protect the ocean and I also could not imagine the tremendous efforts that a lot of organizations around the world are making to save the ocean. Via this experience, I have gained deep insight into ocean issues. While I am in search of organizations working on ocean issues, I read a lot of materials that those organizations share on their website and social media channels, thus I can identify specific information about such organizations as well as widen my ocean-related knowledge. Secondly, thanks to this task, I get acquainted with friends who share the same concern towards the ocean with me. It does help extend my social network. Thirdly, it is the essence of this volunteer work that encourages me to devote myself to complete it.

I believe that the more commitment(s) organizations make in the official UN database, the brighter the future of our dear ocean is.

Ocean issues currently no longer occur on a small scale, within a country’s border. Instead, it is a worldwide issue that calls for the unity of Ocean Partners from different parts of the world to alleviate. Therefore, while carrying out the task as an intermediary to send emails to various organizations and invite them to join in the global effort to save the ocean, I feel my work really meaningful.

“ Small or big, every action counts!”

Perhaps, my contribution to the ocean health is not as tremendous as other people’s, I am still proud of myself as I know that I am trying my best to do what I can do for our dear ocean. No matter you work as an individual or as a big team, your contribution, whatever small or big, plays a significant role in the ocean conservation. So, let’s do it to respect and help #SaveOurOcean.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ocean-action-hub/meet-phan-mai-thanh-ng%C...

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What is the circular economy? Stepping up the fight against waste to #SaveOurOcean
17 Dec 2018 - The circular economy is a system in which re-using and recycling is maximised and waste and negative impacts are minimized — a closed loop where as little as possible is thrown away.

17 Dec 2018 - The best research available estimates there are over 150 million tonnes of plastics in the ocean today. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean will contain more plastics than fish, by weight, by 2050.

Our waste problem is, put simply, enormous. And while initiatives such as forbidding plastic straws, encouraging alternatives to plastic coffee cups, and hosting ocean cleanups are very important contributions, they are not addressing the root of the issues, and are not moving the needle nearly enough. Recycling is not a panacea for our waste woes.

To get a grasp on the problem, we need new thinking and we need to scale-up. Now. But where lie the solutions? How are we to move the proverbial needle to where it needs to be?

First, we must more deeply realise that a thriving planet — with healthy ecosystems and biodiversity — are crucial to development and a sustainable future. From reducing poverty to achieving zero hunger to securing economic growth and sustainable cities, we need a healthy environment.

Second, we need to recognise the world’s capacity for economic growth is not unlimited. In fact, just as my two kids, six and eight years old will stop growing in 10 years, in the same way, a linear economy is probably limited in its growth as well. This is outlined by economist Kate Raworth (who has previously co-authored UNDP’s Human Development Report) in her book Doughnut Economics. Raworth argues that that we have reached our planetary boundaries and that unlimited growth might not be sustainable.

Third, we need to step-up action at-scale. It is through sound government policy and business leadership, that we will make a difference.

Indeed, the private sector — multinational corporations down to small- and medium-sized enterprises — are key partners.

What is the circular economy? In contrast to the linear, extractive model I mentioned earlier, the circular economy is “an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design”. It describes a system in which re-using and recycling is maximised and waste and negative impacts are minimized — a closed loop system in which as little as possible is thrown away.

The concept is not new and has been gaining interest over the past years. However, we remain far from realizing our goals.

“We have an opportunity with the circular economy to rethink how we use resources like plastic and become a more responsible custodian of the planet. By using resources more efficiently and creating policies and economic infrastructure that encourage recycling and reuse, we can advance both Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement.” — Achim Steiner, Administrator of the UN Development Programme

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://medium.com/undp-in-asia-and-the-pacific/stepping-up-the-fight-against-waste-and-embracing-the-circular-economy-32ae747a3a11

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Strengthening the first line of defence: Mangroves protect vulnerable communities in Bangladesh

14 Dec 2018 - UNDP, with Bangladesh’s Forest Department, has been working with communities on a unique programme expanding a flourishing greenbelt of mangroves.

14 Dec 2018 - In 1970, the world’s deadliest storm, known as the Great Bhola Cyclone, killed between 300,000 and 500,000 people in what is now Bangladesh.  In 1991, a violent cyclone accompanied by tidal surges up to 30 feet high took an estimated 138,000 lives.  In 2007, Cyclone Sidr claimed over 3,400 lives.

Last May, Cyclone Mora affected over 3 million people, killing at least six, damaging or destroying 52,000 homes, and leaving hundreds of thousands in need of shelter.

Of the world’s seven tropical cyclone basins, the Bay of Bengal is perhaps the most dangerous, its funnel shape and shallow waters fostering some of the most destructive storms in history.   

For those living along Bangladesh’s densely-populated, low-lying coastline, the risks are growing, as climate change drives rising sea levels, warmer oceans and increasingly ferocious cyclones.

"I live on a small island. When storms hit, they damage houses and land and pour saline water into the paddy fields and crops. Already I’ve shifted my home once due to river erosion and it is further in danger because the mighty river Meghna is only one kilometer away." Adition Chandra Das, Rahmanpur, South Sakuchia, Monpura, Bhola 

In a bid to increase natural protection for vulnerable residents, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), together with Bangladesh’s Forest Department, has been working with communities on a unique programme expanding a greenbelt of mangroves and promoting more-resilient, multi-species forests.

After two years, the programme, with support from the GEF-Least Developed Countries Fund, is making strong headway, embracing both participative design and community-based management in its implementation.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undp-adaptation.exposure.co/strengthening-the-first-line-of-defence

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Rise out of challenge with a commitment for the future: Nyugah Innocent from Cameroon's story will melt your heart
13 Dec 2018 - ​I was almost giving up as it's a little difficult researching on phone but the thought of what my little effort would do to save marine life has kept me going.

13 Dec 2018 - One of our Ocean Action Volunteers from Cameroon, Nyugah Innocent Fomusoh, recently reached out to us with the following message. His message with his commitment to help #SaveOurOcean even amidst a very challenging situation inspired us with awe. We hope this will melt you heart as well.

The UNDP Ocean Action Hub has been working with over 200 dedicated volunteers covering over 100 countries/territories around the world on our Ocean Action Campaign aimed at respecting and helping #SaveOurOcean.

*** Innocent’s text message to us ***

Good day to you,

This is Nyugah Innocent Fomusoh, Ocean Action Campaign Volunteer from Cameroon. I apologize for the delay registered in completing Wave 1 and 2 of the campaign. I had research a few Organizations through online search but as a result of the ongoing crisis and prolonged electricity and network blackout in Kumbo in the North West Region of Cameroon, I was forced to flee unprepared and couldn't leave with my PC.

I was almost giving up as it's a little difficult researching on phone but the thought of what my little effort would do to save marine life has kept me going.

I have drafted a short note to send out to all my networks and contacts. Could you please review it and provide any suggestions on recommended changes.

Thanks a lot for all your guidance.

With gratitude

Nyugah Innocent

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.facebook.com/notes/ocean-action-hub/rise-out-of-challenge-wi...

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Building Coastal Resilience through Innovation

10 Dec 2018 - How can new and scaled up investments in coastal areas build the resilience of countries and communities and increase their capacity to cope with climate change?

10 Dec 2018 - Insurance and infrastructure generally rank toward the very bottom of the list of fun and interesting things people like talking about. Beaches and coral reefs, on the other hand, are more engaging subjects. This one reason why climate risk insurance and insuring “natural infrastructure”—such as mangroves, coastal wetlands and coral reefs—has become quite a hot topic, including at the G7 Environment Ministers meeting this year.

Why the strong interest?

Coastal zones are absolutely critical to people’s lives and the planet. They are avenues to trade and communications; they provide resources and livelihoods; and they are often centers of economic growth, through industries like tourism, shipping, fishing and mineral extraction.

The ocean economy, covering broad categories of employment and ecosystem services, is estimated at US$3—6 trillion a year. And these areas are, of course, centers of population: half the world’s population lives within 60 kilometers of a coast.

But these critical zones are under intense threat.

Our changing climate is making sea levels rise and flooding more frequent. Storms are intensifying in severity, underground water sources are increasingly contaminated by salt water intrusion and coastal waters are increasing in temperature and acidity.

These increasing climate effects means we need to constantly renew our understanding of the risks we face in order to protect ourselves. The World Bank recently estimated the impact of extreme natural hazards to be equivalent to losing US$520 billion in annual consumption globally, forcing some 26 million people into poverty each year.

How can we cover the costs of these natural hazards and climate change impacts?

Government funding has not kept pace with the growing need to both reduce risks and build resilience to natural hazards such as tropical storms. Public budgets aren’t healthy enough to finance post-disaster cleanups, and most importantly, to fund the planning and implementation of preventative measures.

Fortunately, the World Bank report indicates that in the countries it studied, approaches such as insurance policies would help save US$100 billion a year and reduce the overall impact of natural hazards on well-being by around 20 percent.

New streams of finance: UNDP and The Nature Conservancy joint study

At the G7 Environment Ministers meeting in Halifax, Canada, in September, UNDP and The Nature Conservancy presented a joint study looking at how new and scaled up investments in coastal areas can build the resilience of countries and communities and increase their capacity to cope with climate change.

It examines some of the most innovative approaches to the mobilization of private capital for coastal resilience—particularly in Small Island Developing States. These approaches include:

  • insurance for natural capital: provides immediate funding for post-storm restoration of coral reefs and the services they provide; scalable from one pilot site in Cancun, Mexico, to multiple countries, providing insurance coverage that protects millions of people and billions of dollars in built infrastructure;
  • regional risk pools: reduces the costs governments have to pay to insure countries against storms by up to half; currently covers 18 of 37 small island states and could expand to cover additional sectors like fisheries and utilities;
  • green (or, more recently, “blue”) bonds: provides upfront capital for investment in coastal resilience, contingent on cash flows for repayment; huge potential for growth, contingent of clearer standards for what counts as “green” or “blue” investments;   
  • debt restructuring: provides cash flow for coastal resilience investments and could increase government budgets in indebted countries; scalable from a US$22 million innovation in Seychelles to potentially US$2 billion in restructurable debt across a dozen island states and well beyond that for coastal states.

Each of these mechanisms has the potential to be scaled up and make coastal areas around the world an attractive investment for certain private sector actors. But so far none have moved beyond pilot stage. This is the critical point: we urgently need to move beyond the science, beyond the pilots, to the roll out these credible ideas to threatened coastal communities.

But how do we most effectively scale up these projects to deliver them as widely as possible?

First, and fundamentally, we need the correct enabling environment for policy and financial structures. This means doing foundational work with local and national institutions to foster the conditions in which innovations can thrive and deliver.

Next, better data and metrics are needed to identify what programs work and why—we need to quantify how these program’s impact the environment and in turn peoples’ livelihoods.

And finally, we need all the right practitioners in the same room together. Governments, donors, the development sector and investors: all need to come together and share a vision for future resilience. Achieving the necessary, critical scaling of financial resources is above all else an issue of partnership.

CONTINUE READING: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/Building_Coastal_Resi...