Ocean Action Hub

Resource title

Declaration of a National Climate Emergency for Tokelau

Resource title

Illicit trade in marine resources keeps billions out of Pacific economies every year

27 Feb 2020 - One in five fish caught in the central western Pacific, which includes the exclusive economic zones of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Cambodia, is illegally traded.

27 Feb 2020 - One in five fish caught in the central western Pacific, which includes the exclusive economic zones of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Cambodia, is illegally traded. Annual losses are estimated at US$6 to 10 billion.

The Pacific Ocean’s marine resources are a source of income, foreign exchange, employment and nutrition to many countries. However, illicit trade of these valuable resources is robbing Pacific Ocean economies of these benefits.

A new paper, The Scale of Illicit Trade in Pacific Ocean Marine Resources, estimates 24 per cent of Pacific Ocean’s marine catch is unreported every year. That’s 15 million tonnes of fish. Up to 50 per cent (or 3.7 million to 7.2 million tonnes) of this unreported catch is illegally traded in international markets every year, directly leading to US$4.3 to 8.3 billion of loss in gross revenues every year to the formal economy.

 

However, these financial losses increase in magnitude if you count the economic activity that would have followed from fish entering the formal economy in that country—with the upshot that the economic impacts of illegal trade in unreported catch could be much bigger than previously thought.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.eco-business.com/opinion/illicit-trade-in-marine-resources-keeps-billions-out-of-pacific-economies-every-year/

Resource title

Global heating supercharging Indian Ocean climate system

19 Nov 2019 - Indian Ocean dipole events, linked to bushfires and floods, are becoming stronger and more frequent, scientists say.

19 Nov 2019 - Global heating is “supercharging” an increasingly dangerous climate mechanism in the Indian Ocean that has played a role in disasters this year including bushfires in Australia and floods in Africa.

Scientists and humanitarian officials say this year’s record Indian Ocean dipole, as the phenomenon is known, threatens to reappear more regularly and in a more extreme form as sea surface temperatures rise.

Of most concern are years in which the sea surface off the coast of Africa warms up, provoking increased rains, while temperatures off Australia fall, leading to drier weather.

It is similar to El Niño and La Niña in the Pacific, which cause sharp changes in weather patterns on both sides of the ocean.

Caroline Ummenhofer, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts who has been a key figure in efforts to understand the importance of the dipole, said unique factors were at play in the Indian Ocean compared with other tropical regions.

While ocean currents and winds in the Atlantic and Pacific can disperse heating water, the large Asian landmass to the north of the Indian Ocean makes it particularly susceptible to retaining heat. “It’s quite different to the tropical Atlantic and tropical Pacific events. There you have you have steady easterly trade winds. In the Indian Ocean that’s not the case,” Ummenhofer said.

“There is a certain season where you have easterly winds. Otherwise you have seasonally reversing monsoon winds, which makes for very different dynamics.”

Recent research suggests ocean heat has risen dramatically over the past decade, leading to the potential for warming water in the Indian Ocean to affect the Indian monsoon, one of the most important climate patterns in the world.

“There has been research suggesting that Indian Ocean dipole events have become more common with the warming in the last 50 years, with climate models suggesting a tendency for such events to become more frequent and becoming stronger,” Ummenhofer said.

She said warming appeared to be “supercharging” mechanisms already existing in the background. “The Indian Ocean is particularly sensitive to a warming world. It is the canary in the coalmine seeing big changes before others come to other tropical ocean areas.”

Australian climatologists have pointed to this year’s dipole as at least one of the contributing factors in the bushfires. Jonathan Pollock, of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, said this dipole was “up there as one of the strongest” on record.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/nov/19/global-heating-supercharging-indian-ocean-dipole-climate-system

Resource title

Pacific islands seek $500m to make ocean's shipping zero carbon

24 Sept 2019 - Coalition of six nations aims to raise funds and achieve full decarbonisation by 2050.

24 Sept 2019Coalition of six nations aims to raise funds and achieve full decarbonisation by 2050.

A coalition of Pacific island nations wants to raise $500m (£400m) to make all shipping in the Pacific Ocean zero carbon by the middle of the century.

The Pacific Blue Shipping Partnership, announced on Tuesday by the governments of Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, has set an emissions reduction target of 40% by 2030, and full decarbonisation by 2050.

The partnership intends to raise money through grants from multinational institutions, concessional loans, direct private sector investment and through issuing regional “blue bonds”.

The money would be used to retrofit existing passenger and cargo ferries with low-carbon technologies, and to buy new zero-emissions vessels. Pacific island populations are dependent on shipping for travel, medicines, their livelihoods and connection to the outside world.

Such countries are precariously dependent on imported fossil fuels and acutely vulnerable to price shocks or supply disruptions. The region imports 95% of its fuels. Imported petroleum accounts for an average of 40% of GDP in Pacific island countries, with the transport sector the largest fuel user.

In archipelago states of small island populations spread over vast ocean distances, sea travel is vital for linking communities and for economic development. The lack of regular connectivity between islands is a major constraint on domestic, social and economic development and on international trade.

The climate crisis is making travel significantly more difficult and disrupted. Rising sea levels and the increased frequency of dangerous weather are making sea journeys more difficult and slower, leading to more frequent cancellations of journeys and damaging ageing transport infrastructure such as ports and refuelling facilities.

A joint Fiji-Marshall Islands government briefing paper said that compared with other major economic sectors, “investment in the sustainable development of sea transport for Pacific island countries has been extremely limited to date”.

“A transition to sustainable, resilient and decarbonised sea transport at this scale will require substantial investment, including at least $500m to support implementation of the 10-year work programme.”

The Marshall Islands environment minister, David Paul, told a forum at the UN climate action summit in New York that securing funding would spark a “rapid transformation of our … shipping sector”.

CONTINUE READING: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/24/pacific-islands-seek-500m-ocean-shipping-zero-carbon

Resource title

Climate change in Asia and the Pacific. What’s at stake?
20 Sept 2019 - Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world.
With extensive coastlines, low-lying territories, and many small island states, its geography makes it highly susceptible to rising sea levels and weather extremes.

Heat waves, floods, and droughts affect every aspect of life, from nutrition and health, to safety and income.

Unlike developed countries, many nations in Asia and the Pacific cope with the effects of climate change while at the same time trying to raise living standards.

While Asia-Pacific’s poorer communities contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions, they are the ones feeling the consequences of climate change the most. Unpredictable weather patterns can lead to failing crops, spiking food prices, and spreading diseases that threaten to wipe out decades of development gains.

Continue reading online here: https://medium.com/@UNDP/climate-change-in-asia-and-the-pacific-whats-at-stake-47c7b0de5ade

Resource title

New threat from ocean acidification emerges in the Southern Ocean

27 Aug 2019 - The oceans act as a carbon sink and have already absorbed more than 40% of anthropogenic carbon emissions.

27 Aug 2019 - The oceans act as a carbon sink and have already absorbed more than 40% of anthropogenic carbon emissions. The majority of this CO2 has been taken up by the Southern Ocean making these waters hotspots of ocean acidification (OA).

Lead author of the paper published in Nature Climate Change, Dr. Katherina Petrou from the University of Technology Sydney, said that although changes in  pH have been shown to impact marine calcifying organisms, the consequences for non-calcifying  are less clear.

"Previous studies reported a range of responses to OA [in phytoplankton] yet rarely considered how environmental pH shifts might affect silicification rates in diatoms," she says.

"Diatoms are unique phytoplankton in that they need silicic acid to produce silica cell walls. Under the microscope they look like beautiful glass jewellery boxes, but importantly, this dense, glass-like armour promotes sinking, which makes diatoms an important conduit for transport of carbon to the where it can be stored for millennia."

Diatoms are responsible for around 40% of ocean productivity which means they play a major role in supporting marine food webs, sustaining life for millions of creatures, including humans.

"The only genuine way to circumvent this outcome, is to cut our greenhouse gas emissions and limit the acidification of our oceans," the researchers say.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://phys.org/news/2019-08-threat-ocean-acidification-emerges-southern.html

Resource title

UNDP launches Accelerator Lab for the Pacific

23 Aug 2019 - Focus is on challenges including climate change and climate migration, costal zone and oceans management, waste management, government digitalization and the economy.

23 Aug 2019 - Focus is on challenges including climate change and climate migration, costal zone and oceans management, waste management, government digitalization and the economy.

It’s the dawn of a new era for innovation in the Pacific. Today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji launches it’s first-ever Accelerator Lab for the Pacific region. The Accelerator Labs represent UNDP’s new strategy and thinking in relation to development and advocating bolder innovation.

The new Lab will be one of 60 labs worldwide that seek to accelerate progress towards 21st century “frontier challenges”, which is building to be the world’s largest and fastest learning network around development challenges.

The Resident Representative for the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Levan Bouadze said “The challenges and complexities of our time leave us no choice but to invest in bold innovation and breakthroughs, to ensure no one is left behind.”

Together with our core partners, the State of Qatar, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of Italy, 60 Accelerator Labs serving 78 countries will work together with national, regional and global partners to find new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges.  

Traditional approaches to development are struggling to keep up with today’s social and environmental challenges therefore, the new Labs will try to address the following questions:

·         How do we better tackle complex and fast-moving “frontier challenges”?

·         How do we find the most relevant solutions that work locally?

·         How do we learn more quickly about what works and what doesn’t?

Essentially the Lab moves innovation from the margins to the center of UNDP’s programming work.

“Our current approaches are not making enough progress against 21st century frontier development challenges,” said Bouadze. Hence, the Lab intends to enable programmes to apply innovation approaches in their work, and shift mindsets on ‘how development is done’.

The Lab forms a learning network of 60 Accelerator Labs across the world where offices can learn rapidly from each other on what works and what doesn’t.

Furthermore, if multiple Labs are working on a challenge in parallel, they benefit from each other’s learning in real-time, creating a powerful collective learning effect.

Resource title

If the ocean goes, so do we: Pacific preps for UN Ocean Decade 2021

24 Jul 2019 - The stakes are high for the Pacific, where the pulse of an ailing ocean is sounding a warning for the future of its 12 million people.

24 Jul 2019 - The stakes are high for the Pacific, where the pulse of an ailing ocean is sounding a warning for the future of its 12 million people.

Whatever the issue- stronger storm surges, rising temperatures in an already warm ocean, overfishing, plastic and marine pollution, or undersea mining, the impetus is quickening towards a framework that offers something for everyone who has anything to do with the ocean.

It's that sense of urgency towards making every moment of the the UN decade for the Ocean count which has brought together a unique blend of civil society activists, oceans scientists, journalists, and development specialists to a three day regional workshop at the Noumea headquarters of the Pacific Community.

Deputy Director General Cameron Diver says the secretariat, working with other regional agencies on the Pacific response to the UN Oceans Decade, has the team that will turn around a worrying report card on the Oceans.

A focus on regional approaches and consensus gives this region of small island coastal states bloc power on the global stage; and it's a strength Diver says he will also lean on when it comes to the effort, engagement and transformation that needs to happen.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.spc.int/updates/blog/2019/07/if-the-ocean-goes-so-do-we-pacific-preps-for-un-ocean-decade-2021

Resource title

Mobilizing Urgent Action and Political Will For Ocean and Climate Change

18 Jul 2019 - There is an urgent need for action on the ocean and climate change nexus. Addressing the future of ocean and related climate impacts will require direct action and political

18 Jul 2019 - There is an urgent need for action on the ocean and climate change nexus. Addressing the future of ocean and related climate impacts will require direct action and political will says UNDP's Krishneil Narayan.

"Our ocean, which covers three quarters of the earth’s surface, is one of the greatest and most important resources of our planet. It provides food for four out of ten people in the world and is a source of income for billions of people, including those of us living in Pacific island Countries (PICs).

Although small in terms of land area, the PICs have some of the largest Exclusive Economic Zones in the world and this makes the ocean an important resource for island nations. 

The ocean plays a significant role in the global climate system, generating oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Climate change is leading to alterations in the oceans, including sea-level rise and ocean acidification, which put marine ecosystems and coastal communities at risk.

People need a healthy ocean to survive and yet, we keep polluting, exhausting, and destroying this valuable resource. Addressing the future of ocean and related climate impacts will require direct action and political will.

The Paris Agreement currently recognizes the important role of ecosystem services to climate change and its role as a carbon sink. The ocean is the most critical of all ecosystems due to a combination of its composition and scale. There is no solution to global climate change without action on the world’s ocean.

The Ocean Pathway Partnership was launched in Bonn, Germany during the COP23 Climate Change Conference under Fiji’s presidency. It is currently co-chaired by Fiji and Sweden and provides timely leadership in highlighting the role of the ocean in the global climate change processes."

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.pacific.undp.org/content/pacific/en/home/blog/2019/mobilizing-urgent-action-and-political-will-for-ocean-and-climate-change.html

Resource title

Addressing bioinvasions – GloFouling project starts work in the Pacific

16 Jul 2019 - Marine invasive species can be hard to eradicate and represent a major threat to the Pacific's marine biodiversity and SIDS' ecological integrity.

16 Jul 2019 - In a spate of activity since its formal launch in March, the initial phase of the Glofouling Partnerships project is now well and truly underway with a series of technical workshops in the Pacific.

The key message delivered to participants was that once introduced, marine invasive species can be hard to eradicate – and invasive species represent a potential major threat to the Pacific Ocean’s biodiversity and the ecological integrity of Small Island Developing States.

The GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships project https://www.glofouling.imo.org/ aims to protect marine biodiversity by addressing bioinvasions by organisms which can build up on ships’ hulls and other marine structures.

Participants from South Pacific countries took part in a five-day regional workshop (3-7 June) in Suva, Fiji. This provided an opportunity to outline the main instruments which aim to prevent the spread of invasive species and address fouling on ships: the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, the Anti-Fouling Systems (AFS) Convention and the IMO Biofouling Guidelines. Implementation of these conventions and guidelines can help prevent the transfer of invasive aquatic species into the Pacific region.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://seanews.co.uk/news/industry-related-news/addressing-bioinvasions-glofouling-project-sets-to-work-in-the-pacific/

socrates