Marshall Islands and Palau sign on to second “Because the Ocean” Declaration

17 November 2016, UNFCCC COP22, Marrakech Morocco - Palau and the Marshall Islands were the two Pacific islands of 15 countries that signed the second "Because the Ocean Declaration" on the edges of the UN Climate Conference in Marrakech this week.

The first "Because the Ocean Declaration" was signed by 23 countries in Paris in December last year, which stressed the important role of the Ocean for the climate system.

This year it is signed during the Twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP22).

In this new declaration, the signatories call upon upon the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to address comprehensively the biological aspects of ocean and climate interactions as well as socio-economic related impacts, in their special report on ocean and the cryosphere due in 2019.

It also encourages UNFCCC Parties to consider, in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and their periodic reviews ("Global stocktakes"), mitigation of, and adaption to, climate impacts on marine ecosystems and on livelihoods and economic activities that depend on a climate-resilient and healthy ocean.

"For Palau, as for all island and coastal countries, the Ocean is life. Our long-term prosperity depends on the actions we take today to protect our marine ecosystems," said H.E President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau Jnr as he signed the second declaration.

"We all know that what is good for the oceans is good for the climate and fundamental for the food security and livelihoods of islands. So, like many islands, we are charting our own unique path to sustainable development."

"With the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, a marine reserve the size of France - Palau, like the Seychelles, Hawaii, New Caledonia and other islands, has taken a major step toward healthy oceans and reef systems that are more resilient to climate change."

The second declaration commits to address the climate and ocean interlinkages at a High Level UN Conference on the Ocean and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be held in New York in June 2017.

It also recognises the need to foster and develop new bridges to work with non-state actors on the role of the ocean, both in the Global Climate Action Agenda and in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

"2016 has indeed been a momentous year with the rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement, and the decision to convene the UN Conference on Oceans and Seas, co-chaired by Fiji and Sweden, both leaders on ocean conservation. We must take this political momentum and good will and transform it into action," said President Remengesau.

"Many of the most damaging impacts of climate change for the Pacific are felt first in our oceans and coastal environment."

A key point of the second declaration spans the need for financial support for ocean-related projects in line with the goals of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement.

The signatories to the second Because the Ocean Declaration are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Palau, Peru, Senegal, Seychelles, Spain and Sweden. There are also plans to seek signatories from further countries before the COP22 ends.

The UNFCCC COP22 is held from 7 – 18 November, 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco. - #4PacIslands
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