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Global Forum Activities on Climate Change


The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands has a strong interest in climate change and its impacts on ocean and coastal ecosystems and communities. The Global Forum has made climate change a major theme of its work and has strived to build a coalition of concerned organizations to address climate change issues as they relate to oceans and coasts at a global level. Activities of the Global Forum include:


4th Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands Advancing Ecosystem Management and Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management in the Context of Climate Change, April 7-11, 2008, Hanoi, Vietnam


Ocean leaders participating at the 4th Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands Advancing Ecosystem Management and Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management in the Context of Climate Change, April 7-11, 2008, Hanoi, Vietnam urged the international community to focus on the relationship between oceans and climate change and the predicted profound effects on ecosystems and coastal populations around the world, especially among the poorest people on Earth and in small island developing States.

The conference underlined that ocean and coastal managers are at the frontline of climate changes. The climate issues that ocean and coastal leaders around the world will need to face will ineradicably change the nature of ocean and coastal management, introducing increased uncertainty, the need to incorporate climate change planning into all existing management processes, the need to develop and apply new tools related to vulnerability assessment, and the need to make difficult choices in what in many cases will be “no win” situations, involving adverse impacts to vulnerable ecosystems and communities.

The Global Forum Expert Working Group on Oceans, Climate, and Security produced a policy brief for the 4th Global Conference. In its brief, the Working Group recommended that Global Conference participants focus on the following major areas of focus:

1. Identify appropriate policy responses to scientific findings on the effects and differential impacts of climate change on     different regions and peoples of the world
2. Address the “climate divide” and encourage international commitments and funding mechanisms to respond to the     differential effects of climate change on different regions and peoples
3. Encourage a wide range of adaptation efforts
4. Understand and address global oceans changes, e.g., ocean warming, ocean acidification, changes in current     systems, changes in polar regions.
5. Properly manage mitigation efforts that use or rely on the oceans
 --alternative energy
 --carbon storage and sequestration
 --restoration and sustainable management of coastal ecosystems

The Global Forum made use of the suggestions put forth by the Working Groups, as well as the major points coming out of the Conference in developing its submissions to a number of international meetings. The Global Forum submitted interventions to the UN Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (ICP9) (June 2008), the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 9) (May 2008), the UN Ad Hoc Open-Ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (April-May 2008), and the 16th Meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (May 2008).

Side Event at ICP-9: “Advancing Ecosystem Management and Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management in the Context of Climate Change” (Co-sponsored with the Permanent Mission of the Seychelles to the UN) June 23, 2008


Global Forum Submission to ICP-9: Global Oceans Conference in Hanoi Urges International Attention to Ocean/Climate Issues

Global Ocean Policy Day at the World Ocean Conference, 11-15 May 2009, Manado, Indonesia

The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, with funding support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) (through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)) and from the United Nations Environment Programme, co-organized the Global Ocean Policy Day with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Sea Level Rise Foundation, NAUSICAA, and the World Ocean Network.

The Global Ocean Policy Day, held on May 13, provided the major opportunity during the World Ocean Conference for multi-stakeholder dialogue among high-level government officials, international organizations, NGOs, industry, and scientists on the importance of the oceans in climate change, mitigation strategies, adaptation strategies, and financing issues. The Global Ocean Policy Day was preceded by panel discussions and other events on the major conference themes, organized by the Global Forum and other collaborators. Key decision-makers, scientists, ocean and coastal managers, and other practitioners led these sessions.

Preparation for the panel sessions and for the Global Ocean Policy Day involved the preparation of a number of Policy Briefs (aimed at high-level decision-makers and the public) on the major climate/oceans themes. A volume containing the Policy Briefs, Oceans and Climate Change: Issues and Recommendations for Policymakers and for the Climate Negotiations was distributed at the World Ocean Conference. The Global Ocean Policy Day also produced a Co-Chairs’ Statement that was disseminated to the decision-makers present at the Manado Conference and to the press.


Bonn Climate Change Talks, 1-12 June 2009


The Global Forum sponsored a side event "At the Frontlines of Climate Change: Oceans, Coasts, and Small Island Developing States" on Friday, June 5, 2009. Over 50 participants from government delegations, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations attended the event, which focused on the relationship between oceans and climate change. Panelists discussed the urgent need for the UNFCCC to further emphasize the importance of marine and freshwater ecosystems and resources and their vulnerability to climate change and to fully incorporate integrated and ecosystem-based principles and approaches, including integrated water resources management, in the shared vision for long-term cooperative action and in the adaptation, mitigation, financing, and technology strategies and measures.

Presenters included Ambassador Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations and Chair, Alliance of Small Island States, Veerle Vandeweerd, Director, Environment and Energy Group, United Nations Development Programme, Felix Dodds, Executive Director, Stakeholder Forum, Biliana Cicin-Sain, Co-Chair and Head of Secretariat, Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, Francois Gemenne, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Manuel Cira, World Ocean Network and NAUSICAA, and Ian Noble, The World Bank. Coverage of the event was provided by Earth Negotiations Bulletin and can be viewed at http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb30/enbots/05.html.

In addition, the Global Forum made a formal submission to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC with recommendations for inserts into the negotiating text that reflect the importance of considering oceans and coasts in climate change issues related to mitigation, adaptation, and financing.


The Global Forum and partners organized a side event on Oceans and Climate at the Barcelona UNFCCC negotiations, which took place in Barcelona, Spain from 2-6 November. The session considered the implications of different scenarios of emission reductions for oceans, coasts, and small island States, featured the latest scientific information on these issues and the perspectives of countries that are most affected. The data underscored the imperative for the UNFCCC negotiators to adopt a most precautionary approach. Please see the Side Event Leaflet.

Barcelona Climate Change Talks, 2-6 November 2009

The Forum’s “Projected Impacts on Oceans and Coastal Communities of Alternative Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Scenarios: the Need for Utmost Caution” panelists included:

• Biliana Cicin-Sain, Co-Chair, Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands
• Bill Eichbaum, VP of Marine and Arctic Policy, WWF-US (Oceans/Climate Imperatives)
• Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Professor, University of Queensland (Impacts on Coral Reefs and Peoples)
• Martin Sommerkorn, Senior Climate Change Advisor, WWF Arctic Program (Arctic Climate Feedbacks)
• Carol Turley, Head of Science, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (Ocean Acidification)
• Ambassador Dessima Williams, Chair, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Permanent Representative of   Grenada to the United Nations
• Hendra Yusran Siry, Government of Indonesia
• Manuel Cira, World Ocean Network

Panelists discussed the environmental, social and economic implications of alternative stabilization levels of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere on oceans and coastal communities, including their scientific basis. Panelists also analyzed and compared possible consequences for the marine environment of GHG stabilization levels if business as usual continues, versus stabilization levels of 450 and 350 parts per million (ppm) CO2. Statements by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the California Secretary of Natural Resources, Mike Chrisman, were presented, supporting strict emission reduction targets.

“Coastal communities, in both developed and developing countries, as well as in small island developing States (SIDS), are at the frontline of climate change impacts,” said Cicin-Sain. Communities from the Arctic to the tropics are impacted by increasing temperatures, sea ice melting, ocean surface warming, and changing ocean currents. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg discussed the impacts of climate change on coral reefs and coastal communities and concluded that “in order to preserve tropical coastal ecosystems, and the livelihoods of over 500 million people, carbon dioxide levels must be stabilized at or below 350 ppm.”

Ambassador Williams urged negotiators to “exercise utmost caution. We cannot credibly say that 2°C or thereabout is acceptable. We must have no more than 1.5°C. AOSIS also believes that mid-term targets are important and proposes reducing GHG equivalents to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 in order to reach an overall reduction of 95% by 2050.”

The panel also called attention to “Oceans Day,” being held at the UNFCCC 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen on December 14, 2009. Oceans Day will address the emerging Copenhagen agreement and discuss the way ahead for implementation of the agreement in the context of oceans and coastal communities.

Dr. Hendra Yusran Siry reported on the extensive efforts by the Indonesian government, in cooperation with various partners, to ensure that oceans and coasts are referred to in the appropriate sections of the UNFCCC negotiating text.

“It is essential that negotiations at Copenhagen remain on a track for binding agreements for major GHG reductions.” said Eichbaum. “There are 10 key substance elements that need to be dealt with in the final outcome of the Copenhagen process and therefore must be covered by a clear decision – the Copenhagen Deal. Copenhagen MUST deliver agreement on the future framework for global climate action.”

MORE INFORMATION

For more on Bill Eichbaum’s 10 key substance elements, please visit:
http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/index-marine.html

Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg’s full report is available at:
http://www.worldwildlife.org/climate/Publications/WWFBinaryitem12504.pdf

Dr. Martin Sommerkorn’s full report is available at:
http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/wherewework/arctic/WWFBinaryitem13542.pdf

5th Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands: Ensuring Survival, Preserving Life, and Improving Governance, May 3-7, 2010, UNESCO, Paris, France

The 5th Global Oceans Conference will specifically address the challenges and opportunities posed by the emerging international consensus on a new climate regime (as developed through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Copenhagen, December 2009). Mitigation, adaptation, and financing issues will profoundly affect oceans, coasts, and small island States, which are at the frontline of climate changes. Thus, it is imperative that the importance of marine and freshwater ecosystems and resources and their vulnerability to climate change are emphasized and that integrated ecosystem-based principles and approaches be fully incorporated in the shared vision for long-term cooperative action and in the adaptation, mitigation, financing, and technology strategies and measures.

The Conference leaflet is available in the languages noted below:
Arabic
Chinese
English
French
Russian
Spanish