Ocean Action Hub

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Backyard wildcats

2 Jan 2020 - Loss of wetlands has forced locally endangered fishing cats in Sri Lanka to move into the city, looking for food and survival.

2 Jan 2020 - Loss of wetlands has forced locally endangered fishing cats in Sri Lanka to move into the city, looking for food and survival. UNDP supports conservation efforts to protect the wetlands and these wild cats.

When one of the cats was caught on camera padding across Nugegoda junction in the city, it was enough to make headlines. After all, you didn’t expect to find the second largest wildcat in the country, confidently striding through an urban area. It also made Colombo the only known large city in the world where wild fishing cats have been recorded. For Anya, there could be no clearer demonstration that the animals had found a way to live among humans. However, this didn’t mean they were safe.

Though their rounds took them far and wide, the wetlands abutting the city were home for the cats. In Diyasaru Park alone an estimated six cats roamed free. 

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undpsrilanka.exposure.co/backyard-wildcatsnbsp

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Saving coral reefs from a changing climate future

19 Dec 2019 - UNDP and partners launch regional coral restoration project in Mauritius and Seychelles, in partnership with the governments of Mauritius and Seychelles to restore coral reef

19 Dec 2019 - UNDP and partners launch regional coral restoration project in Mauritius and Seychelles, in partnership with the governments of Mauritius and Seychelles to restore coral reefs in both countries. The six-year “Restoring marine ecosystem services by restoring coral reefs to meet a changing climate future”, project is supported by the Adaptation Fund with the amount of $10,000,000 USD.

"Climate change in Mauritius and Seychelles has intensified coral bleaching events and mortality over recent decades. Climate change projections predict that global coral bleaching events will increase in frequency and intensity", says Ms Amanda Serumaga, the UNDP Resident Representative.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.mu.undp.org/content/mauritius_and_seychelles/en/home/news-centre/announcements/saving-coral-reefs-from-a-changing-climate-future.html

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Seas at Risk Urges Ending Overfishing to Mitigate Climate Impacts

18 Dec 2019 - IISD - On the sidelines of the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UNFCCC, Seas At Risk and Our Fish convened a group of experts to discuss how endin

18 Dec 2019 - IISD - On the sidelines of the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UNFCCC, Seas At Risk and Our Fish convened a group of experts to discuss how ending overfishing can build ocean resilience and mitigate climate impacts. The group called for immediate government action to end overfishing, as a key climate action.

Speaking at an event on COP25’s Ocean Day, the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, stressed a healthy ocean ecosystem is critical for a healthy planetary ecosystem. He highlighted SDG 14 (life below water) target 14.4 on ending overfishing by 2020, saying that ending “overfishing is a very achievable target.”  UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Rashid Sumaila, said the combination of overfishing and climate change “is deadly for fish stocks and marine ecosystems.” He called for holistic, comprehensive solutions to address the ocean and climate crises, stressing that “ending overfishing would strengthen the ocean.”

Participants recognized that ending overfishing offers an immediate action that will restore fish populations, increase income and jobs for fishers and coastal communities, deliver more profitable fisheries, create more resilient ecosystems, and decrease carbon dioxide pollution and increase carbon capture.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://sdg.iisd.org/news/seas-at-risk-urges-ending-overfishing-to-mitigate-climate-impacts/

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There are enormous mountains under the sea. Here are five things you need to know.

Seamounts were once volcanoes

Seamounts are large submarine volcanic mountains, formed through volcanic activity and submerged under the ocean. Though they were once seen as nothing more than a nuisance by sailors, scientists have discovered that the structures of seamounts form wildlife hotspots. The steep slopes of seamounts carry nutrients upwards from the depths of the seafloor towards the sunlit surface, providing the sea life with nutrient-rich food. 

2/ Mount Vema is as high as 767 giraffes piled on top of each other

The Vema seamount was discovered in 1957 (some sources say 1959) by an Oceanographic Research vessel with the same name. From the ocean floor, it stretches 4 600m high. That is 4,5 times higher than the iconic Table Mountain in South Africa, or as high as 767 giraffes piled on top of each other .   Which also means that the peak of Mount Vema is just 26m below the ocean surface, so it will be possible for Greenpeace to go there with human divers and show the amazing biodiversity of the region. 

3/ The first explorers of Mount Vema were on a hunt for diamonds

The discoverers initially hoped to find large diamond deposits on Vema. Instead they found another kind of wealth: the Tristan rock lobster or Jasus tristani, a lobster species that is otherwise found only on the Tristan da Cunha archipelago about 1,000 nautical miles away. This kind of lobster enjoyed great fame among seafood lovers and sold for a good price, before it became virtually extinct at Mount Vema due to overfishing. The population of Tristan lobsters still hasn’t recovered to this day.

4/  Mount Vema is littered with abandoned fishing gear

Now, instead of Tristan lobsters, surveys in the area only find old discarded fishing equipment, a deadly trap for numerous animals. Abandoned fishing gear, called “ghost gear” continues to catch sea creatures as if they were still being used, snaring and entangling species that cannot free themselves and end up dying. This damages both marine life and the fisherman who lose part of their potential catch. 

5/ A Global Ocean Treaty could help protect this place

Seamounts like Mount Vema are often found miles from countries’ national waters, far out on the high seas. That makes it difficult to give them proper protection, as the gaps in existing regulations  can be easily exploited by destructive industries. This is why we are campaigning for a global treaty to protect the high seas, so that unique ecosystems like Vema’s can finally be protected effectively. 

Greenpeace is going from pole to pole to show the biodiversity, threats and possible solutions to protect our oceans, and Mount Vema is the next stop!

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Climate change in Asia and the Pacific. What’s at stake?
20 Sept 2019 - Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world.
With extensive coastlines, low-lying territories, and many small island states, its geography makes it highly susceptible to rising sea levels and weather extremes.

Heat waves, floods, and droughts affect every aspect of life, from nutrition and health, to safety and income.

Unlike developed countries, many nations in Asia and the Pacific cope with the effects of climate change while at the same time trying to raise living standards.

While Asia-Pacific’s poorer communities contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions, they are the ones feeling the consequences of climate change the most. Unpredictable weather patterns can lead to failing crops, spiking food prices, and spreading diseases that threaten to wipe out decades of development gains.

Continue reading online here: https://medium.com/@UNDP/climate-change-in-asia-and-the-pacific-whats-at-stake-47c7b0de5ade

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UNDP Thailand unveils nationwide campaign to combat single-use plastics
9 Sept 2019 - The campaign encourages Thai consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics at grocery stores, eateries and cafes across the country.

9 Sept 2019 - The campaign, 'No Plastic! Yes, We Can', encourages Thai consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics at grocery stores, eateries and cafes across the country.

An advocacy video urging consumers to adopt alternatives to plastic bags and disposable cups and straws went live on more than 300 digital billboards across the country on August 23, including landmarks, airports, BTS sky-train stations and major shopping malls in Bangkok.

The advert depicts a local grocery store that offers free food and drinks from their shelves, but challenges shoppers to find innovative ways to carry the food, without single-use plastic boxes or bags. 

The campaign will run till November 2019 and will feature awareness events and calls-to-action by celebrity advocates in Thailand.

Thailand generates two million tonnes of plastic waste every year, and over 50,000 tonnes of this plastic ends up in the oceans according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

At the UN’s Oceans Conference two years ago, the country pledged to take action on single-use plastics, including measures to encourage eco-friendly packaging and plastics substitutes in the retail sector. 

Globally, experts have issued warnings that the 13 million metric tonnes of plastic waste that leak into the ocean every year are crippling and depleting more than 1,300 marine species, and contaminating the food chain. 

According to estimates by UN Environment, by 2050, oceans will have more plastic than fish if present trends are not halted.

The advertising agency Dentsu Thailand developed the campaign concept and the video, as part of a year-long partnership with UNDP, and will roll out a social media campaign that reinforces the message on plastics across multiple media.   

The first phase of the campaign leverages the near-ubiquitous presence of digital billboards owned by Plan B Media, Thailand’s biggest outdoor media company. Plan B billboards are playing Thai- and English-language versions of the advocacy video throughout their operating hours.

Plan B and Dentsu Thailand entered into formal partnerships with UNDP in July this year, with the two companies committing time and resources on a series of campaigns that further the Sustainable Development Goals in Thailand. 

Plastic waste has been at the center of a recent outcry in Thailand after the death of the rescued baby dugong Marium who perished in August because of the plastic in her stomach.

“Thailand is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, but marine eco-systems are suffering and species dying because of the plastic waste that ends up in our oceans,” said Renaud Meyer, Resident Representative of UNDP Thailand.

“I’m pleased to work with our partners, Dentsu Thailand and Plan B Media, in raising awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the plastics issue among Thai consumers. I laud them for their commitment to working with us in achieving a sustainable planet without poverty and injustice,” said Meyer.  

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.th.undp.org/content/thailand/en/home/presscenter/pressreleas...

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Official website for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference is now live

4 Sept 2019 - Find out how to register for the event in Lisbon on 2 - 6 June 2020

4 Sept 2019 - Find out how to register for the event in Lisbon on 2 - 6 June 2020 here: https://oceanconference.un.org/

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Great Barrier Reef outlook very poor, Australia says

2 Sept 2019 - The Great Barrier Reef's outlook has been officially downgraded from poor to very poor due to climate change.

2 Sept 2019 - The Great Barrier Reef's outlook has been officially downgraded from poor to very poor due to climate change.

Rising sea temperatures thanks to human-driven global warming remain the biggest threat to the reef, a five-year Australian government report says.

Actions to save it "have never been more time critical", the report reads.

Stretching over 2,300km (1,400 miles), the reef was designated a World Heritage site in 1981 for its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance".

But in recent years the reef has been increasingly damaged by warmer seas which have killed off coral and affected its long-term health.

Unesco's World Heritage Committee is due to consider adding the reef to its list of sites that are "in danger".

The massive report documents the condition of the reef and its outlook for the future.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-49520949

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RESTORING KALPITIYA'S REEF

28 Aug 2019 - Protecting Sri Lanka's largest marine sanctuary and reviving its former glory.

28 Aug 2019 - Protecting Sri Lanka's largest marine sanctuary and reviving its former glory.

Up until recently, not a lot was known about the Bar Reef in Kalpitiya. But by the time we learned its value, we’d nearly lost it forever. 

The Bar Reef, located 2 km off the coast of Kalpitiya, is in fact the largest coral reef and the largest protected marine area in Sri Lanka. While it was declared a marine sanctuary in 1992, the reef remained relatively unexplored or otherwise affected by human activity due to the then ongoing civil war. However, the reef has since taken a dramatic turn for the worst owing to the effects of human activity both on- and offshore as well as natural causes. Today the reefs lie in an area surrounded by 10 buoys to demarcate the area as a No-Go Zone until the recovery of coral reefs. What’s more, a community effort with support from various national and international organizations is underway to help save it before it is too late. 

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: https://undpsrilanka.exposure.co/restoring-kalpitiyas-reef

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UNDP launches Accelerator Lab for the Pacific

23 Aug 2019 - Focus is on challenges including climate change and climate migration, costal zone and oceans management, waste management, government digitalization and the economy.

23 Aug 2019 - Focus is on challenges including climate change and climate migration, costal zone and oceans management, waste management, government digitalization and the economy.

It’s the dawn of a new era for innovation in the Pacific. Today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji launches it’s first-ever Accelerator Lab for the Pacific region. The Accelerator Labs represent UNDP’s new strategy and thinking in relation to development and advocating bolder innovation.

The new Lab will be one of 60 labs worldwide that seek to accelerate progress towards 21st century “frontier challenges”, which is building to be the world’s largest and fastest learning network around development challenges.

The Resident Representative for the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Levan Bouadze said “The challenges and complexities of our time leave us no choice but to invest in bold innovation and breakthroughs, to ensure no one is left behind.”

Together with our core partners, the State of Qatar, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of Italy, 60 Accelerator Labs serving 78 countries will work together with national, regional and global partners to find new approaches that fit the complexity of current development challenges.  

Traditional approaches to development are struggling to keep up with today’s social and environmental challenges therefore, the new Labs will try to address the following questions:

·         How do we better tackle complex and fast-moving “frontier challenges”?

·         How do we find the most relevant solutions that work locally?

·         How do we learn more quickly about what works and what doesn’t?

Essentially the Lab moves innovation from the margins to the center of UNDP’s programming work.

“Our current approaches are not making enough progress against 21st century frontier development challenges,” said Bouadze. Hence, the Lab intends to enable programmes to apply innovation approaches in their work, and shift mindsets on ‘how development is done’.

The Lab forms a learning network of 60 Accelerator Labs across the world where offices can learn rapidly from each other on what works and what doesn’t.

Furthermore, if multiple Labs are working on a challenge in parallel, they benefit from each other’s learning in real-time, creating a powerful collective learning effect.