The Global Ocean is under threat

The Global Ocean remains under serious threat with new pressures stemming from climate change and ocean acidification. In order to reach the 2010 target on the application of the ecosystem approach adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the 2012 target under the Convention on Biological Diversity to establish and maintain 10% of the marine realm as comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative national and regional systems of marine protected areas, bold commitments and actions are needed to galvanise global, regional and national efforts to safeguard marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystems.

IUCN strongly supports the recommendations from SBSTTA14 to COP10 on coastal and marine biodiversity and urges their adoption.

Climate change and ocean acidification compound pressures on ocean health, and must inspire a new urgency to reduce other stressors on coastal and marine systems.

The Global Ocean serves as the main buffer to climate change and will likely bear the greatest burden of impacts. The Ocean is the largest carbon sink on the planet, currently removing around 25 % of atmospheric carbon dioxide each year and absorbing 95 % of the sun’s radiation. This heat has penetrated down to 2000 m deep, thus potentially threatening deep sea biodiversity and global ocean circulation patterns.

Ocean health influences the capacity of the ocean to absorb carbon, and the ability of organisms to adapt to climate change and ocean acidification. IUCN believes that integrated and adaptive management responses that span the global ocean will be required to safeguard coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystem services.

As we have learned from the catastrophic oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, it is far more cost-effective to take preventative measures to safeguard ocean health than to restore it.

IUCN – CBD COP 10 – Position paper – Gender, The Global Ocean is under threat. Position paper.

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