Ocean and coastal solutions are scientifically proven and central to adaptation, resilience, and sustainable development, yet underfunded. Ocean Action Day at the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 27) in Egypt brought together representatives of governments, businesses, experts, and practitioners to assess existing Ocean and climate action, and identify gaps that must be addressed.
Speakers during a 16 November event, ‘Climate Action to Build Coastal Adaptation and Resilience,’ underscored that while the Ocean is the world’s biggest carbon sink, developed countries are not meeting their commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Panel discussions addressed:
- scaling up coastal adaptation and finance, with speakers emphasizing diverse options that go beyond nature-based solutions, equitable trust building among stakeholders, and stronger regional diplomacy to exchange best practices;
- financing coastal adaptation, with panelists mentioning the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Healthy Oceans Action Plan, which finances technical assistance for Ocean health and marine economy projects, and the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles, which consider the sustainable conservation and use of the Ocean, seas, and marine resources;
- key takeaways for the Ocean at COP 27, with speakers highlighting the need for targeted nature-based solutions and Ocean action mandates that include financing, and calling for a deep-sea mining ban; and
- the Great Blue Wall initiative, which aims to create marine protected areas to counteract the effects of climate change.
The UN Climate Change High-level Champions, the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action, and the Ocean & Climate Platform organized the event.
Another event highlighted energy transition solutions tailored to insular environments, and featured exchanges of views and best practices from actors from across Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Experiences shared during the event titled, ‘Energy Infrastructure, Governance, Regulatory Framework to Drive Transition and Resilience for Islands,’ included: the Balearic Islands’ efforts to move towards renewable energies and energy sovereignty; the Canary Islands’ efforts to promote energy autonomy through the development of energy storage, electric vehicle use, green hydrogen production, and capitalization of geothermal energy; deployment of energy storage solutions in Kinmen and Orchid, Taiwan, that stabilized grids for over 30,000 households; a project in the Bahamas that uses battery-powered energy storage systems to provide low and resilient energy prices; and the Caribbean Climate Smart Fund, which seeks to attract investment in similar small-scale projects.
Panelists said the main challenges faced in developing or implementing resilient and sustainable energy solutions for islands are: ensuring local populations feel ownership over the energy transition as opposed to something imposed on them; creating capacity to develop and sustain energy solutions at the local level; and improving regulatory frameworks at the local, national, and regional levels. The event was organized by the Delta Electronics Foundation.
Also on 16 November, the event, ‘Unlocking Nature’s Potential to Combat Climate Change – The Case for Nature for Climate Action: Country Experiences, Lessons Learned and the Way Forward,’ sought to build on momentum stemming from pledges made during COP 26. It showcased the potential for stepping up implementation of nature-based solutions across multiple policy sectors, and launched the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, ‘Nature-based Solutions: Opportunities and Challenges for Scaling Up,’ and an initiative to coordinate global efforts to advance nature-based solutions. Also introduced was the Enhancing Nature-based Solutions for an Accelerated Climate Transformation (ENACT) initiative to coordinate action on biodiversity and nature-based solutions, launched by Germany, the Egyptian COP 27 Presidency, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Germany pledged to increase financing for international action on biodiversity by EUR 1.5 billion, and urged reflecting nature-based solutions in nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
The Blue Carbon Implementation Lab focused on the potential and challenges of harnessing the natural power of “blue carbon” ecosystems, which has received increased recognition and momentum, particularly with the launch during COP 27 of the Mangrove Breakthrough initiative by the Global Mangrove Alliance and the UN Climate Change High-level Champions. It showcased efforts to implement nature-based solutions for mitigation and adaptation, as well as the financial instruments and quality assurances required to scale up the potential of blue carbon. The event was organized by Conservation International and partners.
At the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) provided coverage of selected side events.
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