Ocean Acidification: the other half of the CO2 problem


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP17)
Side Event

Organizer: The UN-Oceans Network
Date: 8 December 2011, 18.30-20.00
Venue: Room 4, International Convention Centre, Durban, South Africa



The issue of climate change currently holds the attention of the international community. While awareness has grown about a wide range of adverse climate change impacts, ‘ocean acidification’ and its potential harm to the environment and economic productivity at local and national levels is underappreciated by the public and many policy-makers.
Human communities will feel the effects of ocean acidification once it alters economically and socially important marine ecosystem services. Coastal communities relying on marine based ecosystem services for a significant portion of their livelihoods will bear the impacts of increases in ocean acidification soonest as the coastal marine resources decrease and marine biodiversity declines. Small island developing states (SIDS) and coastal communities are often characterized by a high dependence on coastal fishing and fish-processing industries and tourism, and will suffer both in terms of economic and food security.
The effects of ocean acidification on marine life, and ultimately their socio-economic effects, are potentially dramatic. Ocean issues are global and affect all Nations. Many developing nations and particularly SIDS still lack the scientific and management technologies, knowledge, policies and international commitment to effectively manage marine areas they depend on. Raising the awareness and therefore building the capacity to ensure that all coastal states can plan and contribute to sustaining a viable ocean remains a key priority.


This side event will provide an opportunity for

  • Sensitizing policy makers, stakeholders and the public on the importance of Ocean Acidification as a real menace for the living ocean its biomass and economic productivity;
  • Highlighting the initiatives that UN agencies (such as IOC-UNESCO, FAO, IAEA, UNDP, WB, etc) are taking to address ocean acidification, including in the formulation of key proposals that could be agreed by Member States at the UNFCCC.
  • Providing a forum for Member States to express perspectives and positions.
  • The output of the event will consist of records of the issues raised for UN-Ocean to react on with implementation though existing and new programs.

Contact for the Organization of the Side event:

Dr. Andrew Hudson, UNDP (andrew.hudson@undp.org)
Dr. Jorge Luis Valdés IOC/UNESCO (jl.valdes@unesco.org)



18.30- 20.00

Welcome and Opening remarks
by Side Event Facilitator Dr W. Watson-Wright, Assistant Director-General, UNESCO and Executive Secretary IOC


Interventions (10 mins each):

Dr. Carol Turley                                                                                                                                    Senior Scientist, Plymouth Marine Laboratory


Dr. Luke Brander
nvironmental Economist, Division of Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.


Hon. Gasper Vega
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment of Belize


Dr. Dorothee Herr 
Marine Program Officer, Global Marine and Polar Program, IUCN


Ms Mary Barton-Dock,

Director of Environment, The World Bank

General Discussion (30 mins)

  • Reset


OA-ICC Highlights

%d bloggers like this: