Fourteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea

The fourteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-14) took place from 17-20 June 2013 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates heard panel presentations and discussed the impacts of ocean acidification on the marine environment with a focus on: the process of ocean acidification; impacts of ocean acidification and ongoing activities at the global, regional and national levels to address those impacts; and opportunities and challenges for addressing the impacts of ocean acidification on the marine environment, including through enhanced cooperation on scientific and technical aspects.

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Highlights for Monday, 17 June

The fourteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-14) opened on 17 June 2013 at the UN Headquarters in New York. In the morning, delegates heard opening remarks from the Co-Chairs, as well as the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and an Assistant Secretary-General from UN-DESA, followed by statements by countries and groups.

In the afternoon, the discussion panel on “The impacts of ocean acidification on the marine environment” began. Two panelists, Richard Feely, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, United States, and Wang Juying, National Marine Environmental Monitoring Center, China, presented on the process of ocean acidification. Another two panelists, Carol Turley, Plymouth Lab, United Kingdom, and Yoshihisa Shirayama, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, presented on impacts of ocean acidification.

The ensuing discussion covered, inter alia: the effect of acidification on sound absorption, particularly at lower frequencies; immediate actions that can be undertaken to reduce acidification, including reducing CO2 emissions, and addressing local environmental anthropogenic stressors that affect acidification; species migration patterns; levels of scientific certainty and scale of changes in projections; vulnerability of polar regions; and research on marine protected areas and species that are very resilient to ocean acidification.

Full web coverage available here: 17 June

Highlights for Tuesday, 18 June

On Tuesday, delegates at the fourteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-14) resumed their work with continued consideration of this year’s topic: the impact of ocean acidification on the marine environment.

In the morning, delegates heard five presentations from panelists on the impacts of ocean acidification and ongoing activities at the global, regional and national levels to address those impacts. These presentations addressed, inter alia: expert recommendations from workshops on ocean acidification; the impacts of ocean acidification in deep, coastal, and surface waters in the southwest Pacific; the experience of shellfish aquaculture operations in the US Pacific Northwest; and pathways to resilience in the 21st century.

In the afternoon, an additional five presentations addressed opportunities and challenges for addressing the impacts of ocean acidification on the marine environment, including through enhanced cooperation on scientific and technical aspects. These presentations addressed, inter alia: current and future tactics to address ocean acidification in coastal ecosystems beyond decreasing CO2; the work of the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre; the development of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network; tactics for addressing the impacts of ocean acidification from the perspective of developing countries, particularly Brazil; and challenges of capacity building and technology transfer for addressing ocean acidification in African countries.

The two open discussions covered issues including: the role of the General Assembly in coordinating the activities of international organizations working on ocean acidification; the role of marine protected areas as a source of resilience against ocean acidification; the socio-economic impacts of ocean acidification for fisheries, tourism and other sectors; the causes of varied coral reef resistance to ocean acidification; and the need for information sharing, technical assistance, and capacity building.

Full web coverage available here: 18 June

Highlights for Wednesday, 19 June

On Wednesday morning, delegates at the fourteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-14) resumed their work with continued consideration of this year’s topic: the impact of ocean acidification on the marine environment.

Delegates continued the general exchange of views that was started on Monday morning, and heard statements by countries, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on existing and planned activities, projects and collaborations, and steps to address ocean acidification, including from: the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the Secretariat of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); the Secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and OceanCare and the International Ocean Noise Coalition.

Delegates also discussed the process for the selection of topics and panelists so as to facilitate the work of the General Assembly, and issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the General Assembly on ocean affairs and the law of the sea.

Full web coverage available here: 19 June

Highlights for Thursday, 20 June

On Thursday, delegates at the fourteenth meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-14) completed their work.

In the morning, interested delegations met informally with the UN-Oceans coordinator to discuss new terms of reference for UN-Oceans. Plenary then commenced with a discussion of inter-agency cooperation and coordination focused around a presentation by UN-Oceans. Participants considered: the review of UN-Oceans’ mandate and the drafting of a new terms of reference; and the Secretary-General’s Ocean Compact. After a brief adjournment to provide delegates time to review the draft Co-Chairs’ summary of discussions, delegates discussed the draft and suggested corrections and clarifications to best capture this week’s discussions.

Co-Chair Amb. Milan J.N. Meetarbhan declared the meeting closed at 1:14pm.

Full web coverage available here: 20 June

IISD Reporting Services, 25 June 2013. Web site.

 


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