THIRD ‘BECAUSE THE OCEAN’ INITIATIVE OPEN FOR SIGNATURE
Edinburgh-Glasgow 31 October 2021: On the Opening Day of COP26, the resounding message is that ocean protection is climate protection.
HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Chile’s Environment Minister and COP25 President Carolina Schmidt, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna, Belgium’s Minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal Zakia Khattabi, together with Ministers and Ambassadors from Australia, Fiji, France, Indonesia, Panama, Spain, Seychelles, Sweden and the UK, launched the 3rd Because the Ocean Declaration today at a special event at the University of Edinburgh.
Update 12 November 2021:
Between 5 and 11 November, the Environment Ministers of Colombia (Carlos Correa), Costa Rica (Andrea Meza), Dominican Republic (Orlando Jorge Mera), Guatemala (Mario Rojas), and Honduras (Liliam Rivera) also signed the declaration. In addition Canada’s Minister for the Environment and Climate Steven Guilbault signed on 8 November, as well as Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney on 10 November, followed by Georg Børsting (Norway) on 12 November.
In addition, in his COP26 Ocean Action Day address on 5 November, Secretary John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s Special Climate Envoy said: “Thanks in part to the people in this room, more and more of us are realizing the links between ocean and climate — and changing behavior. Chile, for example, launched the “Because the Ocean” declarations starting in 2015 and hosted the 2nd Our Ocean conference. Fiji started the Ocean Pathway Partnership during its COP23 presidency. And in 2019, under Chile’s presidency, we had the “Blue COP25.” From now on, when the world talks about the climate crisis, the ocean crisis must be front and center in that conversation.”
The 3rd Declaration – described as “a plurilateral initiative in support of a multilateral ocean outcome at COP26” – calls for the adoption of a COP26 decision encouraging all Parties to the UN Climate Convention, to integrate ocean-climate-biodiversity linkages in their plans to implement the Paris Agreement, and to recognize the need for more ambition on all sides to tackle climate change and protect the ocean.
Signatories to the Declaration affirm that they will:
- strive for the acceleration of efforts to phase out greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping;
- further the development of clean offshore renewable energy sources, taking into account possible impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems;
- advocate for strengthening public and private sources of support for climate adaptation and mitigation in the ocean, including with multilateral development banks, climate funds, Official Development Assistance, and other international Financial Institutions; and
- work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to meet these goals and foster the exchange of knowledge and good practice.
The ocean is often described as the engine room of the climate system and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco today highlighted the essential role the ocean plays in climate regulation by absorbing more than 25% of CO2 emissions and 90% of the excess heat due to global warming. He also referenced the impacts on marine life caused by warming ocean waters, changes in ocean currents, and ocean acidification, as well as the effects of sea level rise on coastal environments, and the growing number of ocean-related extreme weather events.
The Sovereign Prince said, “We need to explore the role of the ocean fully and increase our knowledge of it. To develop conservation tools, to strengthen the resources employed to promote it, to improve its governance and to take greater account of ocean issues at all UN negotiations.”
Incredibly, despite the critical ocean-climate connection, it was not until COP25, held in Madrid in 2019 under the Chilean Presidency, that the integration of the ocean into the work of the UN Climate Convention really began. Now, out of the 120 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s) submitted ahead of COP26, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, 80 make reference to ocean action, leading COP25 President Carolina Schmidt to announce today, after handing over the COP Presidency to the UK, that “from now on, the COP is blue, and all COPs will remain blue”.
Today’s launch of the 3rd Because the Ocean Declaration is just the beginning as more countries are expected to join the initiative throughout COP26.
Click here to download the 3rd Because the Ocean Declaration.
With support rom the University of Edinburgh