The Pacific edition of the regional workshop series organized by the Because the Ocean initiative on the integration of the ocean into Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, followed by the Climate & Ocean Negotiators Symposium organized by the Government of Fiji, ended in Suva, Fiji after four days of intense work and deliberations.
The workshop welcomed representatives of the governments of Australia, Chile, Cook Islands, the European Union, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Samoa, Sweden,Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. as well as experts from several organizations, including the Pacific Community (SPC), GIZ and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN FAO, the Ocean & Climate Platform (POC), the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Conservation International, the Ocean Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, IUCN, the Varda Group, and the University of the South Pacific, among others.
The event was made possible thanks to support received from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (FPA2), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), the Ministry of Economy of Fiji, SPC, the NDC Partnership, the Pacific NDC Hub, the Ocean & Climate Platform, and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC).
The ocean represents the largest part of the geography of Small Islands Developing States, also known as Great Ocean States, thus incorporating the ocean in their Nationally Determined Contributions is extremely important, For example, in its recently released revised NDC, the Kingdom of Tonga who also joined the Symposium participants on 8 and 9 May in Suva included its target of doubling by 2030 its 2015 number of marine protected areas.
Key takeaways from the workshops include:
- There is strong appetite and on-going plans to incorporate the ocean within revised NDCs throughout the region.
- Commitment, ambition and implementation of Parties in their NDCs requires support, both at the financial and technical levels.
- It is expected that the launch of the SROCC in September will help filling the knowledge gaps and raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges concerning the incorporation of the Ocean into the work of the UNFCCC.
- PSIDS welcome the development of supplementary technical guidelines/advice to UNFCCC processes, in particular on the potential for linking the ocean with: NDCs, NAPS, National Communications and GHG Inventories.
- This support is important to build and reinforce the capacity of PSIDS and must be developed in a way that promotes the ownership and sustainability of climate and ocean action to the countries for the benefit of local communities and their livelihoods.
- Detailed discussions took place among the countries on key ocean issues of relevance to the Pacific and pragmatic options were presented for each of the following areas, in addition to initial steps identified to progress the design and implementation of actions:
- opportunities and risks arising from the role of the ocean in carbon sequestration and storage, and the significance of blue carbon ecosystems for adaptation and mitigation;
- clean and sustainable blue energy, especially for large ocean States
- decarbonized maritime transportation of people and goods; and
- sustainable fisheries management, conservation and adaptation to climate change.
- It was recognized that whilst mitigation is the primary objective of NDCs, adaptation measures to climate impacts on the ocean and coasts are an essential component that deserves incorporating into NDCs and other UNFCCC elements.
- Strategic coherence must be reciprocal: incorporation of the ocean in the work of the UNFCCC must be accompanied by stronger integration of climate change scenarios and concerns in international governance and management discussions.
- Workshop participants commended the COP25 Presidency for convening a Blue COP in Santiago and look forward to supporting Chile’s efforts throughout its presidency.
The aim of the “Ocean NDCs workshop series” is to prepare recommendations on the integration of the ocean within NDCs and other UNFCCC vehicles. These recommendations should be released around the time of the release of the Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate by the Intergovernmental Panel of experts on Climate Change (IPCC), in September 2019.
Presentations made by experts at the Suva workshop are available in the Resources section of the Because the Ocean initiative website. The finalized workshop report will also be posted in that section when ready.