Policy News

Eleven Nations Sign ‘Because the Ocean’ Declaration

On the eve of the official opening of COP21, government representatives and civil society attended Because the Ocean, a high-level event at the Climate-Ocean Tara Pavilion.


11 countries signed the “Because the Ocean” declaration, which calls for:

1) A special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the ocean,
2) A UN conference on Ocean and Seas to establish a regular review and benchmarking of SDG 14, the UN Ocean Sustainable Development Goal, and
3) The development of an ocean action plan under the UNFCCC.

“Today we are here to celebrate the ocean, and to celebrate the fact that the ocean is taking its place in the climate debate. Because the ocean is the single most important driver of our climate and Earth systems, and in fact responsible for half the oxygen we breathe. Because by absorbing 90% of the excess heat and 25% of the carbon we produce, the ocean has been and continues to shield us from far more intense and accelerated climate change impacts, we must cherish and protect the ocean. Because the ocean will – today and every day – extract 4 kg of CO2 per person on the planet from our atmosphere, we must care for the blue part of our planet”, said Jose Maria Figueres, Co Chair of the Global Ocean Commission.

The event was organized by the Global Ocean Commission in partnership with the Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry, the French Ministry of Ecology, the Institute on Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and Tara Expeditions.

Declaration signatories include:

• HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
• President, President Anote Tong, Kiribati
• President Tommy Remengesau, Palau
• Heraldo Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile
• Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, France
• Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada
• Isabella Lövin, Minister of Cooperation and Development, Sweden
• Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Fiji
• Oslin B. Sevinger, Minister of Regional Planning, Infrastructure and Integration, Aruba
• Dra. Amparo Martínez Arroyo, Director General, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, Mexico Rebekah Riley Deputy Permanent Representative, Delegation to the OECD, New Zealand

Several other countries whom could not attend have already announced that they are joining this initiative, and it is expected that the number grows through the duration of COP21.

The “Because the Ocean” initiative was born from six partner organizations:

• The Global Ocean Commission
• The Government of Chile
• The Government of France
• The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
• The Policy research Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDRRI)
• The French ocean advocacy organisation Tara Expeditions

A video about the declaration can be viewed here.

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