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    Progress and gaps in marine scientific research, emerging challenges and ocean

    governance for Global Sustainability

    Dr. Luis ValdsHead of Ocean Sciences of the Intergovernmental

    Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

    12th meeting UN-ICP on Oceans 2011

    UN HQ (New York) 21.06.2011

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    1: Blue Planet

    2: Ocean Sciences in Agenda 21 and JPOI

    3: Progress and gaps in Agenda 21 and JPOI

    4: Science and Governance for Global Sustainability

    5: Conclusions and recommendations

    OutlineScience and Governance for Global Sustainability

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    Blue Planet The basis of life

    Ocean provides services

    Oceans and Seas are a precious and unique natural environment representing 71 % of Earths surface;

    They provide two thirds of the value of all the natural services provided by the planet, source of life, food, energy, medicine, etc;

    Oceans and seas are the worlds climate regulator;

    A place for transport, travel, trade and leisure;

    They are a source for discovery and research;

    And source of incomes for national economies (e.g. around 40% of share in the GDP of the EU).

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    Blue Planet The basis of life

    Ocean provides services

    Plankton is consubstantial to our social development

    NitrogenoOxgenoVapor de aguaCO2

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    Blue Planet State of Oceans

    Excessive nutrients from sewage outfalls and agricultural runoff have contributed to a rise in the number of dead zones (hypoxic or anoxic areas), resulting in the collapse of some ecosystems, 82% of global fisheries are either fully exploited or overexploited, 90% of the large marine predators are estimated to have already vanished due to unsustainable fishing, Approximately 3,000 species of plants and animals are transported in ships ballast water each day, being this one of the main vectors for the introduction of alien invasive species, An estimated 58% of global coral reefs are threatened, and many will be gone by 2040 due to the rising temperature of the ocean as well as ocean acidification, The oceans carbon sink function is changing ocean chemistry, stifling the growth of plankton, corals, and invertebrates that form the primary level of the marine food chain. Plastics and fire retardants are new pollutants which effects in the marine biota remains obscure. Climate change, loss of natural habitats and biodiversity, other marine pollutants, radionuclides, oil pollution, etc.

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    Science for global sustainability

    Ocean Sciences in Agenda 21 and JPOI: Opportunities and challenges in science and governance

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    Science for global sustainability Agenda 21 & JPOI

    JPOI marine related goalsEcosystem approach and Integrated mgmt

    Protection of the marine environment


    Biodiversity and Marine Protected Areas

    Global Marine Assessment

    Coordination of UN activitities on oceans

    Small Island and Developing States (SIDS)

    Agenda 21, chapter 17Integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas Marine environmental protectionSustainable use and conservation of marine living resources of the high seas and under national jurisdictionAddressing critical uncertainties for the management of the marine environment and climate changeStrengthening international, including regional, cooperation and coordinationSustainable development of small islands

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    Science for global sustainability

    WSSD Rio+20

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    Science for global sustainability

    Just to cite a few more global research programmes auspices by the UN system that started at that time (Rio and Johannesburg)

    Programme (year) Subject SponsorR

    egional Seas (1971)

    Ecology and management UNEP

    GLOSS (1985) Sea level IOCIPCC (1988) Climate change UNEP-WMOGOOS (1991) Ocean Observing System IOC-WMO-ICSU-UNEP IPHAB (1991) Harmful algal blooms IOCGCOS (1992) Global climate observing WMO-IOC-UNEP-ICSU

    OOPC, (1996) Climate Observations GCOS-GOOS-WCRP

    JCOMM (1999) Management and services WMO-IOC

    Glo-Ballast (2000) Invasive species IMO

    GEO-GEOSS (2002) Observations and Societal many

    IOCCP (2003) Ocean carbon IOC-SCOR

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    Progress and gaps

    The Implementation of ocean sciences as in the Agenda 21 and JPOI: Some facts on progress and gaps

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    Progress and gaps

    Integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas

    Examples Progress


    MSP published in 2009, got the recognition of decision makers as an outstanding product of IOC. This guideline is considered a standard reference for MSP and was translated to several different languages: Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and is being translated to Spanish and Portuguese. IOC continues as a leader in the promotion of methodologies for a better management of coastal areas. SPINCAM Regional Project is advancing in its implementation. The 5 participating countries (Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru) Trainig courses on Marine Spatial Planning (Europe, Mediterranean, Black Sea)Development of Indicators for ICAM (Uruguay, CPPS region, PERSGA Region, Mediterranean)Coastal Adaptation Techniques (West Africa)

    National regulations need to be adapted for an effective implementation of ICAM and MSPOn the other hand, Ecosystem approach based management for living resources still need to be developed fro an effective implementation

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    Progress and gaps

    Marine environmental protection

    Examples Progress


    Monitoring of HAB events protect human health and shellfish markets. Early warning Programmes of HAB were implemented in some developing countries.New analytical methodologies together with recent advances in dynamic models allow for a more accurate forecasting of HAB events. Ballast water convention will enter in force soon. Some countries have developed own rules and good practices in the management of ballast water

    HAB events seems to occur more frequently and are more persistent; combined effect of climate change and marine pollution in HAB dynamics needs to be investigated.Ships owners and port authorities are reluctant to facilitate data on ballast water management and to provide access to tanks for inspection or research. The implementation of ballast water treatments and monitoring will last for several years.

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    Progress and gaps

    Sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources of the high seas and under national jurisdiction. Biodiversity and Marine Protected Areas



    Restore fisheries to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yields by 2015Elimination of subsidiesSignificantly reduce biodiversity loss by 2010Establish representative networks of MPAs by 2012Protection of endangered species

    Targets are really difficult to achieve 82% of global fisheries are either fully exploited or overexploited, 90% of the large marine predators are estimated to have already vanished due to unsustainable fishing

    Only 1% of the global ocean is regulated as MPA

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    Progress and gaps

    Addressing critical uncertainties for the management of the marine environment and climate change. Systematic observation of the role of oceans as a carbon sink (Agenda 21)

    Examples Progress


    SOCAT (IOCCP database) provides an unprecedented global data set of ocean surface partial pressure of CO2, which serves as a foundation upon which the community will build as new surface pCO2 data become available and also provides a baseline for assessments of oceans response to changing climate and increased levels of atmospheric CO2.This compilation currently includes data from: more than 10 countries 1,859 cruises from 1968 to 2007 8.8 million quality-controlled measurements

    Ocean chemistry and Carbon cycle needs of more research in marine waters (and mainly in coastal areas). Carbon sequestration, carbon sinks and ocean acidification are key issues that remain obscure.Marine productivity and plankton responses to warming and acidification need of more research.The 2C increase of global mean temperature agreement adopted in COP 15 could be acceptable in terrestrial ecology but it is excessive in marine ecology

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    Addressing critical uncertainties for the management of the marine environment and climate change. Promote the systematic observation of the Earths atmosphere, land and oceans by improving monitoring (Agenda 21)

    Original goal: Full implementation in 2010

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    Progress and gaps

    Global Marine Assessment (JPOI)

    Examples Progress


    Regular Process IPBES IPCC

    The UN Regular Process was formally approved by the UNGA in 2010 after many years of work and coordination by IOC, UNEP and DOALOS. UN-DOALOS serving as Secretariat for the Regular ProcessEstablishment of a UN Group of experts to conduct RP in 2011Regional Workshops to scope issues and existing data/information in 2011Deadline for 1st global assessment is 2014 A similar assessment on Biodiversity (IPBES) was also approved by the General Assembly in 2010

    There are much to be done in order to complete the first global assessment in 2004.Lacks of financial resources could be criticalCapacities of countries to address the RP are unequal and existing gaps need to be addressed Coordination among UN agencies is also critical

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    Progress and gaps

    Data Management (crosscutting)

    Examples Progress


    Open databases are available to the scientific community. IODE and OBIS hosted in 2010:9.1 million data on temperature3.6 million data on salinity30 Million records of 114,000 species from 800 databasesNumber of users of data increasingJCOMM Data are accessible to the general public by Google Earth

    Oceanography is expensive, but the most expensive data is the data that is not used or shared. There are many scientist that are reluctant to share the data in open databases.Scientist must be convinced that the collective value of data sets is greater than its dispersed valueQuality of data and data formatting is still a pendant issue.

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    Progress and gaps

    Capacity building and international cooperation (crosscutting)

    Frameworks of cooperation

    POGO (The partnership for the

    Observation of Global Oceans)

    WAMS (World Association of

    Marine Stations)

    LME (Large Marine Ecosystems)

    Progress: Great potential to develop capacities in developed and developing countries Gaps: Some of these frameworks cooperation need of consolidation

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    Emerging issues

    Geoengineering is an emerging umbrella issue that incorporates a number of important developing activities. Geo-engineering is at such a nascent stage that its precise definition, or the scope of activities which may be considered to be geo-engineering, continues to be deliberated upon. Generally, geo-engineering is the deliberate, large-scale alteration of the global climate system with the goal of mitigating the impacts of climate change. Geo-engineering activities are seen as controversial and in need of legitimate scientific research

    Human activity and its footprint are moving progressively into deeper waters and there is a need to close the knowledge gap concerning especially vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems. The open ocean beyond the 200 nm limit comprises approximately 50% of the Earths surface. In the open ocean and deep-sea, there exists a variety of habitats and features of scientific and economic interest, including hydrothermal vents, polymetallic nodules, gas hydrates, transboundary fish stocks, and deep-sea coral reefs. Our knowledge of this life in the deep-sea environment is limited and no complete catalogues of the species or habitats present in these environments exist.

    Marine plastics are both a symptom of unsustainable development practices and a challenge for achieving sustainable development. Its presence in the oceans is a result of anthropogenic activities, both on land and at sea. Attention has been drawn to high levels of accumulation of plastics and other marine debris in high seas convergence zones, also known as ocean gyres, but the presence of plastic pellets in beaches around the world is also a cause of concern. As plastics are fragmented, they form smaller particles called microplastics, which have direct effects on wildlife.

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    Emerging issues

    Dead zones Marine noise

    Marine genetic resources Ice free Arctic

    ? ?

    ? ?

    A common gap in the UN system to address emerging issues is the difficulty to react in time and be proactive in the mobilization and implementation of the resources needed to be really effective.

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    Science and Governance for Global Sustainability The way forward

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    Science and Governance for Global Sustainability The way forward

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    UN alliance for a better governance of the oceans

    (UN OCEANS does not develop own programmes)

    UN coherence needs of high level leadership to improve ocean governance

    Ocean Governance within the UN system Who is who

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    OutlineScience and Governance for Global Sustainability

    UN Atlas of the Oceans (hosted by FAO)

    The Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection

    The UN family for ocean governance


    UN Oceans

    Ocean Governance within the UN system Who is who

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    Many progress in marine research were achieved since Rio 1992, but it is still necessary to attend the gaps and emerging issues that jeopardizes the management and sustainability of regional seas and oceans.

    In future, oceans will be continuously subject to natural and to human pressures for change. Known hazards and uncertainties include the impacts of climate change: sea level rises, risks of coastal flooding, acidification; and others such as the increases in plastic and other marine litter, tsunami, vulnerable ecosystem impacts in the Arctic, and overfishing.

    Ocean issues are global and affect all Nations. Many developing nations still lack the scientific and management technologies and knowledge to effectively manage their marine areas, as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Capacity building to ensure that all coastal states can plan and contribute to sustaining a viable ocean, including advice on how to apply to external funding agencies, remains a key priority.

    Ocean governance is imperfect and it is a challenge for the UN system. The demand for better governance will force the UN system to create interfaces for cooperation.

    Conclusions and recommendations C&R: 1/2

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    The demand of structured information from the UN Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects (approved by the UNGA in 2010) and IPBES (the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) will mobilize the regional structures to produce and deliver good scientific assessments.

    Sustainable development will depend on our ability to manage future ocean changes. Effective planning demands both reliable and systematic information on the ocean environment, and on intergovernmental mechanisms to formulate and to apply management decisions. For this, good scientific research and reliable forecasts are essential.

    Sustainable seas need long-term intergovernmental management based on reliable information and good science. Working with our governmental and non-governmental partners, the...


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