Urgent Action on Ocean and Climate Change Needed: Friends of the Ocean

URGENT action on ocean and climate change is needed to save small island states, coastal communities and marine life all over the world.

This was the message emphasised at the ‘Friends of the Ocean – Update and Moving Forward’ side event in the Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion at the UN’s Framework for the Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.

A statement issued by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), stated that Pacific island countries, small island states and countries with vulnerable coastal communities, had stood firmly beside the Fijian Government as it pushed for urgent and critical action on ocean linkages to climate change, through its Presidency at last year’s Climate Change Conference.

“Warming oceans and sea level rise are causing some of the biggest and strongest storms that we’ve seen in the last 10 years to ever hit our shores. And this is the new normal. But, while we’re seeing the impacts of climate change above water on land, our challenge is to find out what this is also doing under the water in our oceans,” said Taholo Kami, The Ocean Pathway Special Representative of the COP 23 Presidency Secretariat.

“We formed ‘Friends of the Ocean’ because we felt that some countries were ocean-friendly, but perhaps weren’t clear of what the objectives of the Ocean Pathway was,” said Mr Kami.

“We thought by creating a safe space for parties and stakeholders to be able to discuss the different perspectives and approaches to dealing with ocean issues within UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), that we could continue this momentum at COP24, and particularly in the lead up to COP25 which we want to be the Ocean COP,” he added.

The 30 countries of the ‘Friends of the Ocean’ process have something in common – their passion to do work for the ocean, and they have come together calling for the Paris Agreement Work Programme to be scrutinised so as to allow the introduction of Great Ocean initiatives within UNFCCC in the future.

The statement adds that this side event is the second time the ‘Friends of the Ocean’ have met since their first meeting and formation in Bangkok from September 1-4.

During the side event discussions, Mr Kami said it was their hope that the Paris Agreement rule book would work in their favour.

The Ocean Pathway was successfully launched during COP 23 in Bonn, Germany with a two track strategy for 2020 supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement. This includes increasing the role of the ocean considerations in the UNFCCC process and significantly increasing action in priority areas impacting, or impacted by, ocean and climate change.

[Source; fijitimes.com, 11th December 2018]

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