After an exhausting but successful first week at COP25 in Madrid, the Because the Ocean team took a few deep breaths on Sunday 8 December, before gearing up for another busy week at the COP.
The Chilean COP25 Presidency wanted a Blue COP, and thanks to the participation of ocean experts and advocates from all over the world, a Blue COP it is.
It is virtually impossible to summarize the hundreds of events addressing the ocean-climate nexus which took place during the first week. Discussion on action arising from the Special Report of the IPCC on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), the Because the Ocean initiative’s Ocean for Climate Report, the Ocean & Climate Platform’s Policy Recommendations, IDDRI’s Opportunities for increasing Ocean Action in Climate Strategies, and the release of IUCN’s Deoxygenation report, were among the week’s highlights.
On Day 2, the Chilean Presidency organized a special event to announce its plan to launch a Platform of Ocean Solutions where Parties to the Paris Agreement and other stakeholders can share their commitments and plans to integrate ocean-related measures into their climate strategies. Prince Albert II of Monaco spoke at that meeting, together with COP25 President Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Minister of Science André Couvé, Valérie Masson-Delmotte of the IPCC, and Because the Ocean Initiative Secretary Rémi Parmentier, followed by Emily Pidgeon of Conservation International and Jessie Turner of the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification. Later that evening, the Because the Ocean Initiative organized in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of Spain, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the TBA21 Foundation, a reception at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum to celebrate the release of the Ocean for Climate report and the display of Irish artist John Gerrard’s Western Flag masterpiece. Prince Albert II of Monaco, together with Spain’s Minister of Culture José Guirao, Spain’s Minister for the Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera, Chile’s Minister of Science André Couvé, and Francesca Thyssen, Founder and President of the TBA21 Foundation spoke at this event attended by some 250 representatives of the worlds of art, business, academia and COP25 delegates and observers.
The rest of the week saw various interventions from representatives of the Because the Ocean initiative, presenting and discussing the recommendations contained in the Ocean for Climate report. Our Secretary Rémi Parmentier facilitated the opening of COP25 Ocean Day at the Spanish Pavilion on the morning of 6 December, and spoke that afternoon at the high-level session of 13th Meeting of the Nairobi Partnership dedicated this year to action arising from the IPCC Special Report.
On 7 December, Rémi also facilitated the opening of the EU Ocean Day in the EU Pavilion, with participation of the newly appointed EU Commissioner for the Environment and Ocean Virginijus Sinkevicius and COP25 President Carolina Schmidt, among others.
What to watch for in Week Two:
It is no secret that throughout the week, a draft text on the ocean and climate nexus to be incorporated within the COP25 Decision document has been circulating among certain delegations. Conversations on this are expected to gain momentum during Week 2, especially as ministers will arrive early in the week.
Increasing ambition in the global fight against climate change is the main outcome sought at this, the last UNFCCC COP before Parties to the Paris Agreement present their plans for the second ambition period of the Agreement (the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs) over the course of next year. The Republic of the Marshall Islands is one of the first countries to do so and has just launched the Madrid Ambition Drive for Survival (#MAD4Survival) social media campaign, launched just yesterday by President Hilda Heine on behalf of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).
Enhanced NDCs are critical given that the IPCC and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warn that the present trajectory of commitments would lead us much above the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1,5º identified by the IPCC.
The Chilean Presidency is preparing a special “Ambition Event” in the evening of 11 December, as a follow up to the Climate Action Summit organized by the UN Secretary General in New York last September. The hope is that countries commit to increasing their commitments and ambition for climate- (and ocean-!) safe planet.