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Protecting the Ocean We Need - Securing the Future We Want

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Home to extraordinary biological diversity, the ocean is also the world’s largest active carbon sink. Blue carbon refers to carbon associated with the ocean. Blue carbon encompasses carbon capture by plankton, algae and bacteria; capture and long-term storage by complex plants and their ecosystems in coastal regions; and carbon pathways, pumps and trophic cascades associated with larger marine animals.

The Second Our Ocean Conference took place from 5-6 October 2015 in Valparaíso, Chile. The Conference was a follow up to the first Our Ocean conference initiated by the United State’s State Department in 2014.  The conference covered several thematic areas including marine protected areas (MPAs), ocean acidification, marine pollution, and sustainable fisheries. 

Illegal fishing is a major threat to the sustainability of the world’s fisheries. Estimates show that illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing account for up to $23.5 billion annually, and up to 20 percent of all of the wild-caught marine fish caught globally.

Illegal fishing is a major threat to the sustainability of the world’s fisheries. Estimates show that illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing account for up to $23.5 billion annually, and up to 20 percent of all of the wild-caught marine fish caught globally.

Responding to the final Agreement text announced at COP21 today, ocean groups were positive about a growing recognition for the importance of the ocean in climate change but disappointed by the lack of overall ambition in terms of reducing levels of dangerous CO2 in the atmosphere.

All eyes are on Paris with the UNFCCC’s COP21 underway.  World leaders, the private sector and civil society have gathered together to seek a new, binding treaty to address climate change and the world waits to see if they can achieve the ambition with the resolve required.

The Economist World Ocean Summit 2015 was recently held in Cascais Portugal from June 3rd-5th. More than 350 government ministers, business leaders, environmentalists and representatives from multilateral organizations from across the globe convened to discuss how to make the transition from a conventional ocean economy to a new ‘blue’ economy.

The first Pacific Ocean Alliance meeting was held in Suva, Fiji from May 25-7, focused on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

The Costa Rica Thermal Dome (CRTD), in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, is a unique oceanographic feature formed by the interconnection of winds and currents; and as a result, the Dome is a geographically mobile area with ambulatory boundaries. Its size and position vary throughout the year, yet approximately 70% of the CRTD occurs on areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), including its core, which is situated circa 9º N y 90º W. The remaining extension straddles the jurisdictional waters of the Central American countries.

 

A landmark resolution was adopted earlier today by a consensus of UN member states, to develop a legally-binding treaty for the conservation of marine life beyond national territorial waters – that area of the ocean shared by all.

Earlier today, His Holiness Pope Francis delivered the much-anticipated Encyclical Letter, “On Care for Our Common Home” addressing the need for collective action in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. Within this prophetic appeal, he addresses many issues contributing to the global environmental crisis and specifically highlights the current exploitation of ocean and marine ecosystems. This includes the impact of ocean acidification, made-made pollution, vanishing marine biodiversity and uncontrolled fisheries.

HRH Prince Albert of Monaco calls for "Throwing a Lifeline for the High Seas" in a June 12 blog in the Huffington Post:“After almost a decade of dialogue, workshops, and speeches, a resolution is about to be tabled at the General Assembly to begin negotiating a new agreement that would be the first of its kind; one that protects biodiversity in ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction, known as the high seas.

‘We need to create trust funds for marine protected areas in perpetuity’ – Sir, We live in a world with a growing population with increasing demands. Yet we are unsustainably exhausting our seas. The ocean economy, the “blue” economy, can only meet our increasing demand if we restore the ocean and manage it better for the goods and services it provides.

The focus of this year’s United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (ICP) meeting from 6 to 10 April was ‘Oceans and sustainable development: Integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely, environmental, social and economic’. 

U.N. will begin negotiating new treaty to protect marine life beyond national jurisdiction.

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