The Ocean and Climate Dialogue was organized by Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) Resource Facility. It was held on 8 June 2022 via Zoom and was attended online by national and local governments, civil society, academe and research institutions, non-government organizations, private sector, and other interested parties from 14 countries in the East Asian Seas region and beyond.
The ocean makes up 71 percent of the planet and provides many services to countries and their coastal communities—from mitigating weather extremes to generating the oxygen we breathe, producing the food we eat, to storing the excess carbon dioxide (CO2) we generate. At the same time, the ocean bears the brunt of climate change as evidenced by rising sea surface temperature and sea level rise, all of which affect the health of marine species along the coasts, nearshore, and deep ocean ecosystems as well as people’s livelihood and well-being.
Recognizing this inextricable link between the ocean and climate, the Glasgow Climate Pact was adopted in November 20211 to anchor ocean-related issues and solutions in the multilateral climate change regime. The Pact highlights the “importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including in forests, the ocean and the cryosphere, and the protection of biodiversity […]” and its role in strengthening adaptation and mitigation action. The Pact also enjoins the relevant work programs and constituted bodies under the UNFCCC “to consider how to integrate and strengthen ocean-based action in their existing mandates and work plans and to report on these activities within the existing reporting processes.”
The Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) also identifies climate change and disaster risk reduction as one of its priority programs in the region. The link between ocean and climate change is also highlighted in the Preah Sihanouk Ministerial Declaration signed by PEMSEA’s country partners in December 2021 to reaffirm their commitment to blue economy and support global efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement with mitigation and adaptation as crucial underlying principles in accelerating blue economy.
As a follow up of countries’ commitments in the Preah Sihanouk Ministerial Declaration and as the region’s contribution to operationalizing the commitment in the Glasgow Climate Pact, the Ocean and Climate Dialogue was convened to examine how the region is executing the actions