Ocean Action Hub

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Monitoring climate adaptation in Guatemala’s marine coastal zones
14 Dec 2020 - Oceans are acutely sensitive to climate change. Guatemala's new monitoring system will track changes in sea level and water temperature, fish catch and reef health.

14 Dec 2020 - Oceans are acutely sensitive to climate change. Guatemala's new monitoring system will track the changes, from sea level and water temperature, to fish catch and reef health. 

With around one-third of Guatemala cloaked in tropical rainforest, and dozens of volcanoes and UNESCO World Heritage sites, the “land of many trees,” is rightly famous for its life on land.

Yet this picture reveals only part of Guatemala's riches. Below the ocean surface is a world of immense abundance and importance.

The oceans on either side of the country are national and international treasures. Home to thousands of species, they play a crucial role in regulating the Earth's climate system, while also providing essential goods and services for sustaining human health and wellbeing: food, clean air and water, and livelihoods

The impacts of climate change on Guatemala's coasts

According to Germanwatch’s Global Climate Risk Index, Guatemala ranked 16th in the world for countries most affected by extreme weather events in the 20-year period 1999 to 2018.

Particularly vulnerable are the Pacific and Caribbean marine coastal zones, which straddle either side of the country (represented on the national flag by two blue stripes).

Here, the fingerprints of climate change are evident: rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and other impacts are directly affecting communities, ecosystems, and the economy.

The implications are considerable. These zones – which include over 120,000 km2 of marine space, greater than the land area of Guatemala – directly and indirectly support the livelihoods of 25 percent of the country’s population.

They represent economic activities of great national significance – for example, tourism, fishing and aquaculture, subsistence and export crop farming, and ports.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undp-climate.exposure.co/monitoring-climate-adaptation-in-guatamala-marine-coastal-zones

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How small islands can reimagine tourism for a green recovery

11 Nov 2020 - Innovation and digital transformation; Communities first and responsible tourism

11 Nov 2020 - Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have experienced great success in expanding their tourism industries, particularly over the past 10 years. The industry is an economic lifeline and driver of development for many SIDS. Their rich biodiversity and beautiful ecosystems attracted around 44 million visitors in 2019. However, global travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have devastated SIDS’ economies. Compared to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), export revenues from tourism represent about nine percent of SIDS economies. In countries like St. Lucia and Palau, tourism revenues make up 98 and 88 percent of total exports respectively.

It is a vital source of revenue for community livelihoods, disaster recovery, biodiversity and cultural heritage preservation. The sharp decline in international tourism is having a significant macroeconomic impact on island states. SIDS are facing a 3.6 percent decline in GDP in 2020, a rate much greater than the global average. Many SIDS, particularly in the Caribbean, are heavily dependent on export revenues from tourism to service their heavy debt burdens. Debt that is primarily a result of their disproportionate vulnerability to climate change. Many are now facing debt to GDP ratios over the thresholds for sustainable debt defined by the International Monetary Foundation. SIDS leaders have expressed the severity of the situation, warning that what was a crisis of liquidity is evolving into a solvency crisis.

The sudden decline in visitors has left many SIDS without a key revenue source to sustain the welfare of locals. The industry is a major source of both formal and informal employment across SIDS. In Caribbean island states, tourism accounts for 27 percent of employment, while in Atlantic Indian Ocean and South China Sea (AIS) and the Pacific regions these levels are 24 and 20 percent respectively. The job losses occurring as a result of the crisis are impacting the most vulnerable workers, including those dependent on micro, small and medium enterprises as well as women (54 percent of global tourism employment) and young people.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2020/how-can-small-islands-reimagine-tourism-for-a-green-recovery.html

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Splendor of the living mangrove

13 Aug 2020 - In Cuba, ecosystem-based adaptation is a cost-effective way to preserve and restore natural habitats and protect coastal communities.

“We ourselves were destroying this world, but now we have a project of environmental education, we work with all the schools and are linked to the population. Here you can breathe a healthy world.” —María Teresa, 54, Mayabeque Province, Cuba

Nature, now more than ever, needs us to pay attention to its warning signals and to take care of it, so it can take care of us.  

María Teresa, 54, is the administrator of the protected area of the Gulf of Batabanó, in Mayabeque, Cuba. She knows that in Cuba, loss and damage to protective mangroves makes coastal communities vulnerable.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undp-climate.exposure.co/splendor-of-the-living-mangrove?source=share-undp-climate

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Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge in ASEAN

21 Jul 2020 - Applications are open!

21 Jul 2020 - Applications are open! Apply to the ASEAN-wide EPPIC competition with your innovative solution to plastic pollution for a chance to receive $18,000 funding and support from UNDP.

Deadline: 20 August 2020

Apply here: http://plasticchallenge.undp.org.vn

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Time for Nature: A youth video campaign

25 Jun 2020 - We stand with young people. And we want to ensure their voices are heard. It's time to #SaveOurOcean.

25 Jun 2020 - We stand with young people. And we want to ensure their voices are heard. It's time to #SaveOurOcean.

Share a video using hashtag #ForNature and tags @UNDP and @UNEP and tell the world why it’s time #ForNature.

Full details: http://https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/time-for-nature.html

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The sea is the future

24 Jun 2020 - From illegal fisher, to reformed leader, fostering coastal and marine protection through a sea change of partnerships, empowerment and inclusion.

24 Jun 2020 - From illegal fisher, to reformed leader, fostering coastal and marine protection through a sea change of partnerships, empowerment and inclusion.

The Philippines is a major fishing nation, on which the livelihoods of more than 35 million people directly rely. Ocean health is key for the planet and its people to thrive.

For Quirsito ‘Bok’ Cajegas, a fisher in Davao Gulf, Philippines, staunch advocacy of marine conservation comes with the territory.

But it wasn’t always this way.



Before his reformation, Bok was a self-described illegal fisher. For 23 years, Bok employed illicit compressor fishing methods, and once opposed the establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Barangay Bato Sta Cruz, Davao del Sur.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undp-biodiversity.exposure.co/the-sea-is-the-future

Image: Philippine fisher compressor diving, Photo credit: Alex Hofford

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The Ocean is our Storekeeper - Kiribati

9 Jun 2020 - Climate-resilient farming promotes food security in the outer islands of Kiribati. People living on the Abemama atoll of Kiribati are surrounded by warming seas.

9 Jun 2020 - Climate-resilient farming promotes food security in the outer islands of Kiribati. People living on the Abemama atoll of Kiribati are surrounded by warming seas. For fishers like Teboboua, this means scarcer, smaller fish, and even more challenges in finding enough food to feed his family. For every I-Kiribati, ocean health is imperative for survival.

"Without a quality ocean environment, we are less likely to survive" - Teboboua Biribo.

Teboboua, aged 62, was born and raised in Abemama, Kiribati. With five children and an equal number of grandchildren, he emigrated from Abemama in 1995 in search of work, and returned in 2017.



"Upon my return with my family, I have learnt that climate change is a real issue that has threatened many lives throughout Kiribati. I have seen huge differences in Abemama compared to how it was in my youth."

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undp-climate.exposure.co/the-ocean-is-our-store-keeper

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UN entities and private sector join forces to tackle marine invasive species and reduce emissions

8 Jun 2020 - A ground-breaking Global Industry Alliance (GIA) has been launched to tackle two of the most pressing environmental issues of our time – invasive species and greenhouse gas (G

8 Jun 2020 - A ground-breaking Global Industry Alliance (GIA) has been launched to tackle two of the most pressing environmental issues of our time – invasive species and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The GIA brings together stakeholders in the private sector and the GloFouling Partnerships, a project led by United Nations entities to address the transfer of harmful aquatic species through biofouling.

The new GIA will accelerate the development of solutions to improve the management of marine biofouling, which is the build-up of aquatic organisms on ships’ hulls or submerged structures such as platforms and aquaculture installations. Biofouling can lead to the introduction of potentially invasive species to new environments, where they may threaten native species and cause irreversible damage to biodiversity. It also has measurable impacts on a number of economic sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture and ocean energy. Once established in a new ecosystem, invasive species are extremely difficult - if not impossible - to eradicate.

The new Global Industry Alliance (GIA) for Marine Biosafety brings together private sector companies from various industries affected by biofouling, including shipping, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas and ocean renewable energies. These maritime champions will work together with the GloFouling Partnerships Project, a joint initiative between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The key aims of the GIA are to leverage human, technological and financial resources; facilitate industry input into policy developments and a positive pull for reform processes; and the development and dissemination of technological solutions to improve biofouling management. 

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2020/un-entities-and-private-sector-join-forces-to-tackle-invasive-sp.html

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The Ocean and Covid-19

8 Jun 2020 - How has COVID-19 affected the ocean economy?

8 Jun 2020 - How has COVID-19 affected the ocean economy? On World Ocean Day UNDP's Andrew Hudson examines the Covid-driven changes to fisheries, aquaculture, shipping & tourism and UNDP's support.

The dramatic global economic slowdown caused by COVID-19 is having pervasive effects not only on jobs, economies and governments but also on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. In the near term, the impacts of COVID-19 on the health of the ocean have largely been positive due to the reduction in various sectoral pressures that lead to pollution, overfishing, habitat loss/conversion, invasive species introductions and the impacts of climate change on the ocean. While the ocean may enjoy some near-term benefits, the livelihoods and food security of tens or even hundreds of millions of people may be seriously affected.

There is already evidence that significant slowdowns are occurring in fisheries, shipping, coastal tourism, coastal development, and oil and gas extraction. In a recent informal poll conducted by the Economist during one of its World Ocean Initiative webinars, participants ranked the following ocean sectors as impacted most by COVID-19: tourism 70.7 percent, fisheries 10.4 percent, offshore oil and gas 7.2 percent, shipping 6.2 percent, offshore renewables 2.9 percent and aquaculture 2.6 percent.  

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2020/the-ocean-and-covid-19.html

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Outer islands; inner sanctum: Expanding the Seychelles' protected area network

 6 Apr 2020 - Will include its biodiverse coralline Outer Islands.

 6 Apr 2020 - Will include its biodiverse coralline Outer Islands.

The Republic of Seychelles is facing a perfect storm: on one hand, government and industry increasingly see the ocean as an important source of economic growth; on the other, they are tasked with countering the existential threat the ocean faces.

But this productive challenge has resulted in a success worthy of celebration.

On March 26, 2020, the Government of Seychelles announced a landmark achievement: protecting 30% of the country’s ocean territory.

The expansion of Marine Protected Areas to nearly a third of Seychelles’ ocean territory, totalling an area of 410,000 square kilometres - an area larger than Germany - is an exemplar of green practices supporting their blue economy.



CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undp-biodiversity.exposure.co/outer-islands-inner-sanctum