Ocean Action Hub

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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/

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Breakthrough as New Caledonia votes to protect coral reef

15 Aug 2018 - The Pacific Island is home to one of the world’s most pristine coral reefs, boasting more than 9,300 marine species

15 Aug 2018 - The Pacific Island is home to one of the world’s most pristine coral reefs, boasting more than 9,300 marine species

New Caledonia has agreed to tougher protections around a huge swathe of some of the world’s last near-pristine coral reefs, in a move conservationists hailed as a major breakthrough.

The Pacific nation, a French overseas territory, is home to a rich array of wildlife including 2.5 million seabirds and more than 9,300 marine species such as dugongs and nesting green sea turtles, many of which thrive in and around remote zones off the island nation’s coast.

The archipelago boasts some of the world’s healthiest reefs, including Astrolabe, Petrie, Chesterfield and Bellona, which are considered exceptional examples of coral ecosystems.

After years of work, the New Caledonia government on Tuesday voted to set up marine protected areas (MPAs) surrounding the reefs, and to strengthen an existing one around Entrecasteaux, which is already a Unesco world heritage site.

The move will see 28,000 square kilometres (10,810 square miles) of waters safeguarded from commercial and industrial fishing and other exploitation, helping conserve habitats and allow marine life to feed and reproduce undisturbed.

Tourist activity around the reefs is also set to be more rigorously controlled.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/14/breakthrough-as-new-caledonia-votes-to-protect-coral-reef?CMP=share_btn_tw

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Winner of 2019 Stop Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing award announced

25 Feb 2019 – UNDP/GEF partner the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) was awarded the top prize in Bangkok for fighting IUU in the world's largest tuna fishery.

25 Feb 2019 – UNDP/GEF partner the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) was awarded the top prize in Bangkok for fighting IUU in the world's largest tuna fishery.

“This achievement recognises FFA’s work in Monitoring, Control and Surveillance initiatives to deter IUU fishing in the Pacific. Well done to the team at FFA, past and present, and all of our FFA member countries. And the award is particularly timely given FFA has just kicked off our 40th anniversary celebrations,” said FFA Director General, Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen

“This award is a reflection of the work we do to protect the rights of FFA members over the tuna within our Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), and the foundation of the economic and social benefits that flow from that. We have to ensure that there is long term sustainability of oceanic fish stocks to secure our peoples’ future livelihoods and regional food security.”

A panel of judges used a range of key criteria including demonstrated success and innovation in reducing IUU, the feasibility and cost of IUU mitigation activities, the potential for replication and approaches to education and capacity building.

“In preparing our submission for the award, the FFA Secretariat felt we were well able to demonstrate high level performance against all the criteria” said Dr Tupou-Roosen. “Our integrated approaches to combatting IUU are coordinated through the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre at FFA and encapsulated in our Regional Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Strategy.” 

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.ffa.int/node/2217

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Conservation Effort to Preserve Life Below Water in Fiji

18 Oct 2018 - My Fiji Shark, a new initiative to support marine ecotourism, conservation and SDG 14 was launched today by UNDP and others.

18 Oct 2018 - Suva, Fiji – A new initiative designed to support marine ecotourism and the Sustainable Development Goal 14 was launched today, marking a new era in marine conservation. The South Pacific Tourism Organisation in partnership with Beqa Adventure Divers (BAD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Australian Government proudly launched the My Fiji Shark Initiative in Suva this morning. 

With coastal pollution, overfishing and population growth, the oceans and the marine ecosystem are witnessing profound damage making the SDG 14 crucial for Fiji. There is optimism amongst scientists that new approaches to sustainable management and marine conservation can be found if traditional knowledge is complemented by science and technology. Hence, the My Fiji Shark Initiative is a new innovative model to support the partners’ efforts to realize this and raise the profile of marine conservation in the region.

“This initiative is a tool to mobilise resources through tourism to implement the SDG 14 ‘Life Below Water’ and support the ‘Blue Pacific’ identity as a driver for sustainable development in the region,” said Christopher Cocker, SPTO Chief Executive Officer.

“Our partnership is a demonstration of public-private sector engagement in the conservation of our marine resources.” Beqa Adventure Divers is a credible business with research work spanning over a decade to support the Shark Reef Marine Reserve.

“I recall the former President Toribiong of Palau saying, ‘If you look at the sharks in the ocean, they are the kings of sea, if you get the King you get the Kingdom’ when you adopt a shark, you have earned your place in the Fiji Shark Kingdom,” said Cocker.

The initiative is working closely with the Shark Reef Marine Reserve managed by Beqa Adventure Divers, a local shark research, conservation and ecotourism operator, to raise the profile of marine conservation in the region through a shark adoption program.

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director and Head of Pacific Regional Policy and Programme, Bakhodir Burkhanov said, “Businesses globally have a big role to play in achieving the SDGs. Indeed, it will not succeed without private sector engagement and contributions. This initiative is all the more important as it targets SDG financing from – and with – the private sector.”

“'My Fiji Shark’ supports work towards achieving the SDG 14 on Life Below Water, specifically linked to marine ecotourism and involving an ‘Adopt a Shark’ campaign. It is symbolic that our first SDG private sector financing model and cause-related marketing campaign are about oceans and marine species.”

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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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At UN, Pacific leaders warn climate change poses security threat to their countries and marine resources
27 Sept 2018 - Ensuring sustainable development and surmounting the ‘devastating impacts’ of climate change were on the top of the agenda at the UN General Assembly.

27 Sept 2018 - Ensuring sustainable development and surmounting the ‘devastating impacts’ of climate change were on the top of the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where King Tupou VI of Tonga was joined by a host of other Pacific Island leaders calling for action on what they saw as “the defining issue of our time”.

Ensuring Sustainable development and surmounting the ‘devastating impacts’ of climate change were on the top of the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, where King Tupou VI of Tonga was joined by a host of other Pacific Island leaders calling for action on what they saw as “the defining issue of our time”.

“In contributing towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its landmark Goals (SDGs), including the internationally agreed blueprint for the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS), the SAMOA Pathway, Tonga has made both accords an integral part of its national planning processes,” he said on Wednesday.

He emphasized the importance of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, which he pointed out will review the SAMOA Pathway in 2019.

“Climate change continues to pose significant security threats to us as island States,” he said, noting with concern “the devastating impacts of climate change on our marine environment.”

He welcomed the establishment at the initiation of German and Nauru of the Group of Friends on Climate and Security “to further highlight the nexus between the threats of climate change with threats to international peace and security.”

He stressed that despite the effects of sea level rise, Tonga’s territorial boundaries, established under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea, should remain unchanged.

“Our Sovereignty must not be compromised by climate change and we welcome the work of the International Law Commission on this critically important and timely issue for consideration of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly,” he said, referring to the Assembly’s standing body that deals with legal issues.

He was looking forward to the 24th Session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December to address the adverse impacts of climate change and the need for innovation in adaptation for small island developing States.

“Finally,” he said, “sustainable development, whether it be, [among others], through good health and well-being, climate action, life below water, or affordable and clean energy, can only be realized through international peace and security.”

“We continue to look to the Security Council to protect the innocent from threats to international peace and security in whatever form, be they traditional threats such as armed conflict, or newer threats like climate change, to ensure no one is left behind,” concluded King Tupou VI.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/09/1020811

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