Webinar on “Keeping up Momentum for Ocean and Climate Action in 2020”

Peace Boat was invited to speak about the upcoming United Nations World Oceans Day, during an event on May 27 organized by the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification (OA Alliance) in collaboration with United Nations partners. The event, which took place online as a webinar, looked at how governments and UN agencies are keeping up momentum for the ocean and climate action as the world navigates the present COVID-19 pandemic and was moderated by Jessie Turner, Project Coordinator OA Alliance. The OA Alliance, of which Peace Boat is a proud member, brings together governments and organizations from across the world dedicated to taking urgent action to protect coastal communities and livelihoods from the threat of ocean acidification and other climate ocean impacts. Together, OA members are elevating urgency and ambition for climate action, integrating ocean into climate commitments, and translating knowledge into policy actions. 

During the webinar, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson, emphasized that now is the time to better share our ideas and resources and to bring out our most innovative and entrepreneurial talents to the table. He further reiterated the importance of taking the high-road for a Blue-Green recovery as well as holding governments, development banks, agencies, and corporations accountable during the process. Elena Perez, Ocean Action Agenda Lead at the World Economic Forum, then shared about the upcoming Friends of Ocean Action’s Virtual Ocean Dialogues which seek to connect communities for ocean resilience, innovation, and action. These online dialogues happening between June 1-5 when the UN Ocean Conference was originally scheduled, will continue conversations on ocean protection efforts and solutions for the wellbeing of communities and humans around the world, as the preparations for the UN Conference continue. 

Francois Bailet, Senior Legal Officer at the United Nations Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), and Emilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US introduced UN World Oceans Day as another way to keep momentum during this period. This year’s celebration of the ocean focuses on the theme of ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean and will take place as a virtual event in partnership with Oceanic Global. With over 200 organizations involved, UN World Oceans Day is an opportunity for many groups and individuals to share ideas and resources to better protect our oceans. While the event is focused on June 8th as the official day, there are over two weeks of events planned, most of which are taking place online. Peace Boat is a member of the Friends of World Oceans Day (FoWOD) group and is organizing several events together with partners.     

After the introduction to the World Ocean’s Day, Programme Management Officer at the UNFCCC Secretariat, Dr Joanna Post, spoke about the Ocean and Climate Dialogue which was launched at, last year’s Conference of Parties (COP) in Madrid and is a major step forward in elevating and integrating ocean across the UNFCCC, as well as how the postponement of COP 26 is being managed. Dr Post’s UNFCCC update reflected innovative efforts to integrate ocean conservation across the UNFCCC in the years to come. Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin from the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO closed the webinar by presenting the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The multilateral management plan has already been approved by the General Assembly and it is undergoing a second review of its implementation plan. Echoing the words of Ambassador Thomson, Secretary Ruyabinin reiterated the need to manage the health of our oceans through science and multilateral cooperation. Secretary Ryabinin shared some concluding remarks on how important it is to keep the momentum going so people can continue to be inspired by our oceans and all the ecosystems and species they host. 

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