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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

UNFCCC SBSTA 56, Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue 2022

Mr Chairman,


Ladies and Gentlemen

All courtesies observed and thank you for this opportunity to address today’s Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue.

We have long been calling for the Ocean to be better integrated into the UNFCCC’s work, specifically into its mitigation, adaptation and financial processes, including Nationally Determined Contributions, National Adaptation Plans and the Global Stocktake. With COP26 in Glasgow finally acceding to the call, it is now time to make good on our words to fully contribute to the global effort to combat the Climate Crisis.

From the inception of the Paris Climate Agreement, Mr Chairman, many parties have recognised the ability of ocean-based measures to advance climate mitigation and adaptation objectives. We are now seeing in updated NDCs specific mention of: scaling-up of offshore renewable energy; reduction of emissions from shipping and ports; reduction of emissions from offshore oil and gas; protection and restoration of blue carbon ecosystems; advancement of Marine Protected Areas; protection of coastal communities and infrastructure; development of the sustainable blue economy; and advancement of ocean-climate justice.

As we all know, coastal and marine ecosystems have highly significant carbon sequestration and storage capacity, and they provide a broad range of benefits in helping coastal populations adapt to a changing climate. The protection, restoration and conservation of these vital ecosystems represents an indispensable ocean-based climate solution for our achievement of emission reduction plans, as well as in building resilience in line with the Paris Agreement. From the mitigation benefits of seagrass to the coastal protection value of coral reefs and mangroves, well-designed Nature-based Solutions are cost-effective solutions for inclusion in climate action, policy and financing. 

Around the world, some 151 countries contain at least one coastal blue carbon ecosystem, and 71 countries contain all three. But so far, only 61 Parties have included blue carbon in their updated NDCs. It is clear that in the run-up to COP27, Member States will have to increase the ambition of their NDCs. One way of doing so, is for the remaining 84 Parties to include these carbon-rich ecosystems in their climate strategies.

Let us all accept that only a massive increase in financial resources, mindful of climate and marine biodiversity considerations, will allow us to follow zero-carbon pathways for our economies by 2050. In short, in support of a just and inclusive transition, the financial sector has huge room for improvement in facilitating the development of ocean-based climate solutions.

Mr Chairman,

The best of the ideas developed at this Dialogue, will contribute to the innovative solutions that we are seeking at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon at the end of this month. And these will lead us on to UNFCCC’s COP27 in Sharm El-Sheik in November, where we should expect to see the Climate Finance needle move decisively in the direction of adaptation, particularly for the benefit of developing countries.

Since this dialogue will be held annually, it will be helpful if the conclusions of each session are followed up on by the Secretariat to ensure continuity and allow us all to keep stock of progress. In particular, we look forward to the report of the Dialogue being presented in an appropriately high-level COP27 plenary session.

Mr Chairman,

The connectivity of the causes and effects of the Ocean-Climate nexus is at the very heart of dealing effectively with the Climate Crisis. In essence, dealing effectively with the required transition will involve a massive worldwide transfer of financial resources to the sustainable blue economy.

I thank you for your attention and look forward to meeting many of you very soon in Lisbon at the UN Ocean Conference.