Wednesday, December 23, 2015

22 Countries Join ‘Because the Ocean’ to Support Action on Climate Change and Oceans

10 December 2015: At the Paris Climate Change Conference, 22 countries supported the 'Because the Ocean' Declaration and agreed to work towards three objectives to advance action on climate change, oceans and sustainable development.

The Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry, the French Ministry of Ecology, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Global Ocean Commission (GOC), the Institute on Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and Tara Expeditions organized the 'Because the Ocean' event on the sidelines of the Paris Climate Change Conference.

“The ocean will—today and every day—extract four kilograms of carbon dioxide per person on the planet from our atmosphere,” explained Global Ocean Commission (GOC) Co-Chair José María Figueres at the event. He highlighted the ocean's role in shielding the earth from “intense and accelerated climate change impacts,” noting that it absorbs 25% of carbon and absorbs 90% of excess heat, and urged countries to “cherish and protect the ocean.”

“Because the Ocean sustains life on earth and our collective well-being” the signatory countries urge action to enhance global ocean resilience to the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. The Declaration describes the ocean's contribution to economic wealth and climate-related impacts on the ocean, observing climate change seriously affects marine life and causes irreversible damage to coral reefs and related ecosystems and species. The Declaration emphasizes the importance of the ocean for small island developing States (SIDS) and for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Because the Ocean will work towards: 1) a special report on the ocean by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); 2) development of an ocean action plan under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including continuing to meet as a group to address the challenges identified in the Declaration; and 3) the UN Ocean Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Conference in Fiji in June 2017, which is expected to establish a regular review of SDG 14 on oceans and marine resources.

Eleven countries signed the Declaration at the high-level event. An additional four countries joined the initiative at a private ceremony hosted by Prince Albert II of Monaco on 4 December. Seven more countries signed the Declaration at a ceremony hosted by the Chilean delegation.

The participating countries are Aruba, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Fiji, France, Guinea Bissau, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Palau, Senegal, Seychelles, Spain, and Sweden. [GOC Press Release, 10 December] [GOC Press Release, 30 November] [Because the Ocean Declaration] [IISD RS Coverage of Paris Climate Change Conference] More