Ocean Action Hub

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Madagascar holds series of national consultations on SDG 14
12 May 2017 - Madagascar is advancing towards the achievement of SDG 14 with a series of national consultations with all stakeholders.

Madagascar is advancing towards the achievement of SDG 14 with a series of national consultations with all stakeholders on the management and conservation of marine resources for sustainable development.

View the photo story from the first workshop in Antsiranana, 5 May 2017

12 May 2017 - The Inter-Institutional Taskforce for the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), led by the Ministry of Economy and Planning, in partnership with UNDP and the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), launched a series of national consultations on SDG 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. These consultations are taking place in Antsiranana, Mahajanga and Toliara on 5, 8 and 12 May 2017 respectively, and constitute a consultative framework bringing together the national and local-level bodies concerned with ocean management and conservation, the communities in these coastal zones, private sector partners, as well as technical and financial partners around SDG14 and its interactions with the 16 other SDGs. The outputs from these workshops will also help prepare Madagascar's participation in The Ocean Conference, to be held in New York from 5 - 9 June 2017.

This series of workshops will both help define Madagascar’s commitments to the implementation of the SDGs, as well as link the international regulations adopted by the country to the establishment of a strategic reference framework for all the interventions contributing to the targets under this goal.

The Inter-Institutional Task Force for the Achievement of SDG14 was established in Madagascar to coordinate and structure the contributions of each stakeholder to this strategic reference framework, as well as to establish a good governance structure for the achievement of this SDG. This task force, supported by UNDP, brings together the National Committee for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (CNGIZC) of the Prime Minister, six government ministries, the Madagascar Network for Local Management of Marine Resources (MIHARI) representing local communities, WWF representing the support partners, and the Madagascar Shrimp Fishers Association (GAPCM) representing the private sector.

View the photo story from the first workshop in Antsiranana, 5 May 2017 here: http://www.oceanactionhub.org/reportage%C2%A0photo-consultation-nationale-la-voix-des-communautés-entendue-à-antsiranana​

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About The Philippines and SDG 14

The Philippines lies within the “Coral Triangle”, a global center of marine diversity, with diverse coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves, fisheries and marine mammals.

The Philippines is rich in marine biodiversity, located within the “Coral Triangle”, a global center of marine diversity, with diverse coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves, fisheries, and marine mammals. The Verde Island Passage has been identified as the “center of centers” of marine shorefish biodiversity due to its higher concentration of species per unit area than anywhere in Indonesia and Wallacea. According to an initial 2008 study, there are 123 marine key biodiversity areas in the country, which are host to 221 globally threatened species of fish, corals, mollusks, sea turtles, and marine mammals.

The Philippines is also home to nine marine biodiversity corridors, which provide transition areas between marine bio-geographic regions and are strategically important as gateways in sustaining balance between marine ecosystems and fisheries.

The primary response of the government to protect its rich marine biodiversity has been the establishment of marine protected areas (MPA) or fish sanctuaries, as mandated by two national laws, the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act (NIPAS) (RA 7586) and the Fisheries Code of the Philippines (RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654). There are currently only 33 MPAs under NIPAS, which are under national government management through a Protected Area Management Board, and 1,620 locally-managed MPAs under the Fisheries Code. However, destructive fishing, pollution from coastal and commercial development, unsustainable agricultural practices, conversion, extractive industries, and other threats continue to jeopardize the country’s fragile coastal ecosystem.

The Philippines is also considered one of the world’s top fish production countries. However, until the pressure on fishing is reduced and addressed in different parts of the country, a fish production shortage is foreseen as one of the major consequences to affect food security. Multi-sectoral efforts are underway to provide alternative, biodiversity-friendly livelihoods for fisherfolks.

Concerted efforts are being made to manage the seas and oceans sustainably while improving the lives of coastal communities in the Philippines, especially the marginalized fisherfolks, women, and indigenous groups. This will be achieved through collaboration of key national government agencies, civil society organizations (CSOs), LGUs, and the private sector.

To support The Ocean Conference, 5-9 June, the Philippine government will convene stakeholders including concerned agencies, CSOs, the private sector, international development organizations, and higher education institutions to lobby and set concrete commitments to achieve the SDG 14 targets at the national level. 

Photo © SMARTSeas PH

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Strengthening MPAs to Conserve Marine Key Biodiversity Areas in the Philippines

11 May 2017 - The UNDP/GEF SMARTSeas PH Project aims to accelerate the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks to include more marine key biodiversity areas.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Philippines, through the support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), partners with the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Biodiversity Management Bureau, to implement the SMARTSeas PH Project, a five-year project that aims to accelerate the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks to include more marine key biodiversity areas.

SMARTSeas has five demonstration sites in the Philippines including Verde Island Passage, Southern Palawan, Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, Lanuza Bay, and Davao Gulf. Each site will showcase different thematic areas in forming a sustainable MPA network.

Despite multi-sectoral efforts to abate the threats on marine and coastal habitat degradation, significant challenges remain, including effective management of MPAs, sufficient funding for marine conservation efforts, and a weak institutional framework to support the conservation, protection and management of the country’s marine ecosystem.

To address this, the project builds the capacity of the local government unit leaders and community organizations on MPA management by providing technical assistance to improve their management plans and reactivate MPA management bodies. The MPA management plans are inclusive of gender, indigenous people, and climate change adaptation components.

The SMARTSeas project includes the establishment of biodiversity-friendly enterprises as one of the major results of the project, as it aims to provide sustainable alternative livelihoods to coastal communities.

Local and national policy reviews were conducted to identify gaps in the legal framework that is required to sustain the conservation initiatives like SMARTSeas. Capacity building is also being carried out, including advocacy work on marine conservation, business and financial planning, and law enforcement. Science-based initiatives are also being undertaken, including a connectivity study in each site to determine the ecological interconnectedness of the individual MPAs that will form a network.

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Philippine Ocean Conference: National Consultation for Voluntary Commitments

Conference aims to develop voluntary commitments from relevant actors for The Ocean Conference.

16-17 May, 2017

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES

"Use ocean resources responsibly for a sustainable future"

To Conserve and sustainably use the oceans and seas and maritime resources for sustainable development.

The UN has launched a call for concrete actions to protect the ocean. There are more than three million people dependent on maritime and coastal diversity for their livelihood, yet today the over-exploited marine resource has depleted much of the world’s ocean resource. The time to act is “now”.

Being an archipelago and regarded as the astonishing "center of global marine biodiversity," the Philippines has more than half of its cities and municipalities in coastal areas. These communities are heavily reliant on the bounty of healthy seas for sustenance and income (Cinches, Rappler, 2015).

The Philippine Conference Rationale:

The Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in partnership with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Department of Agriculture will be hosting the Oceans National Consultation in the country.

The Philippine Ocean Conference aims to develop voluntary commitments (VCs) from relevant national, regional and local agencies as well as private sector, multilateral and bilateral agencies and the academe. Voluntary commitments will include targets and strategic actions to boost the implementation of existing commitments on ocean related-issues, ultimately contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14).

  • Day 1: Speakers from key agencies and organizations are invited to share knowledge and expertise on projects implemented and report results and outcomes in accordance to the SDG14 mandate. A Q&A portion will be facilitated to prepare participants to formulate and identify their commitment areas. In the afternoon participants will form six (6) breakout/ thematic workshop sessions representing the six sub-goals of SDG14 (below).  
  • Day 2: Each sub-group will present their conclusion/summary. A consolidated result of the National Consultation will be presented during a plenary session at the International Day for Biological Diversity Congress.

Objectives of the Philippine Ocean Consultation:

  1. To identify SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) voluntary commitment/s on SDG 14 (per target) and register these in the Ocean Conference website in a timely manner.
  2. To identify or create partnerships/linkages between and among stakeholders for the attainment of SDG 14 targets.
  3. To create/heighten awareness on the Philippine commitments on SDG 14 and the Ocean Conference, 5-9 June 2017

Thematic Workshop Specific Objectives:

  1. Marine Pollution
  2. Integrated Coastal Management
  3. Ocean Acidification
  4. Illegal, Unreported, & Unregulated (IUU) Fishing/Overfishing
  5. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
  6. Fisheries Subsidies

Expected Conference Outputs:

  1. To identify eligible voluntary commitments to achieve SDG 14 targets from relevant government agencies, local governments, NGOs/CBOs, private sector and multilateral and bilateral agencies.
  2. Identify partnerships among stakeholders towards achievement of SDG 14 targets in the Philippines.
  3. To discuss the necessary information for registration in the Ocean Conference website (https://oceanconference.un.org/commitments).
  4. To reach agreement on the registration of voluntary commitments (VCs).

Download PH_Oceans_PROGRAM.pdf > 

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National Ocean Consultation: Dominican Republic

10 May - Samana; 10 May - Puerto Plata; 12 May - Punta Cana; 15 May - Barahona; 17 May - Santo Domingo.

For full details contact UNDP Dominican Republic >

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FACTSHEET: The Dominican Republic and SDG 14 - Why it matters

Protecting its oceans and life below water (SDG 14) is of paramount importance to the country's sustainable development, with an economy heavily dependent on ocean-related activities.

The Dominican Republic is an island country surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. With 1,665 kilometers of shore, it has one of the longest coast lines in the Caribbean. Protecting its oceans and life below water (SDG 14) is thereby of paramount importance to its sustainable development, as the country’s economy heavily depends on ocean related activities.

  • Close to 14,000 tons of fish are caught annually, both from capture fisheries and aquaculture.
  • Reports of 2010 showed that up to 62,000 households threw their waste into rivers.
  • In 2015, 79% of wastewaters in the Dominican Republic weren’t collected by the sanitary sewer system.
  • The Dominican Republic has 14 marine protected areas, covering 43,474.8 square kilometers. 75.7% of this area corresponds to marine mammals’ sanctuaries, while the other 24.3% to marine sanctuaries.
  • As of 2016, there are 2 submarine national parks, with a total of 256.3 square kilometers.
  • In 2012, the country subscribed the Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities to adopt measures for protecting the marine environment in the Great Caribbean Region.
  • Close to 60% of the Dominican population lives in urban areas near the coast.
  • Tourism, one of the country’s economic pillars, relies on the wellbeing of its coastal areas and ecosystems.

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UNDP/GEF Humboldt Project, Peru

9 Feb 2015 - View the photo gallery by Raúl Arteaga Bengoa and Renato Contreras Farías.

9 Feb 2015 - Photo gallery by Raúl Arteaga Bengoa and Renato Contreras Farías online here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pnudperu/sets/72157640352068763/with/13151277054/

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NEW: FAQs on Voluntary Commitments for the Ocean Conference

How to make a Voluntary Commitment for the Ocean Conference

Learn how you can contribute to SDG 14 through the voluntary commitments!

One of the key outcomes from the Ocean Conference is a list of voluntary commitments to advance the implementation of SDG 14. The FAQs explain what voluntary commitments are and who can register them:

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Side Event on Voluntary Commitments for the Ocean Conference - UNHQ
Learn how you can contribute to SDG 14 through the voluntary commitments!

Friday 7 April 2017, 1:15-2:45pm 
Conference Room 2, UNHQ, New York


One of the key outcomes from the Ocean Conference is a list of voluntary commitments to advance the implementation of SDG 14. To stimulate the registration of voluntary commitments, the side event will explain what voluntary commitments are and who can register them, as well as displaying practical examples and demonstrating the online registration process. Experts from UNDP and UN DESA gave presentations and answered questions. 

Open to all participants attending the BBNJ PrepCom as well as all other accredited stakeholders.

The event is hosted by the Governments of Sweden and Fiji, in collaboration with the Office of the President of the General Assembley, UN-DESA, UN DOALOS and UNDP.