NAMAs – Why include the ocean?
As a part of the agreed outcome of UNFCCC COP18 in DOHA, developing country Parties will voluntarily develop Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in the context of sustainable development with the financial support of developed countries. NAMAs refer to any action that reduces carbon emissions in developing countries while reducing poverty and creating alternative livelihoods and is prepared under the umbrella of a national governmental initiative. They can be policies directed at transformational change within an economic sector, or actions across sectors for a broader national focus. NAMAs are supported and enabled by technology, financing, and capacity-building and are aimed at achieving a reduction in emissions by 2020.
There are currently no NAMAs relating to protecting oceans. A current search of the NAMAs Registry yielded no results for NAMAs that address the protection of oceans, plankton, fish, sea grass, reefs, or mangroves. A group of entities with an interest in protecting ocean ecosystems has set up the Oceans NAMA Network with the purpose of generating discussion around assisting developing countries to create ocean NAMAs. A list of member bios that are part of a collaborative discussion group are listed at the bottom of this page. We hope that this discussion group will expand to include all nations with territorial ocean waters. We also aim to develop mechanisms that will help protect the wider ocean commons outside territorial waters over time.
The ocean is the largest ecosystem on earth and correspondingly is the largest carbon sink on earth. Oceans and ocean ecosystems are being severely impacted by CO2 through the processes of acidification and warming. Sea grasses, plankton, fish, mangroves, and reef ecosystems are negatively impacted. At the same time there are resulting negative impacts to food security, jobs in the marine harvest industry and increased poverty as marine protein becomes more scarce and prices increase. This is particularly the case in developing countries.
The ocean space under the territorial control of most coastal nations surpasses their land based territories. This is particularly true when considering island nations.
It is well established that restoration of sea grass, mangroves, and plankton not only sequester CO2, but enhances biodiversity and ecosystem resiliency which in turn addresses conservation concerns. Restoration of ocean ecosystems provides additional benefits in particular by providing food security, alleviating poverty through job creation, improving distribution of economies, and lowering the cost of protein.
Oceans and ocean restoration must play an official role in UNFCCC. Individual nations can and should make this a reality through the development of NAMAs that address restoration of ocean ecosystems as a valid and valuable method to enhance carbon sequestration, improve ecosystem resiliency, improve food security, improve job security and help alleviate poverty.
Our aim is to:
- establish a presence at international negotiations such as the UNFCCC COP20 in Lima that represents issues relating to ocean protection and using the ocean as a major carbon sink;
- if requested, provide support and assistance to any developing country requiring technical assistance;
- develop templates for NAMAs that can be used by any country for protecting diversity in their territorial waters by carrying out activities such as mangrove planting and sea grass planting;
- create added value by developing mechanisms that attract payment for environmental services for increasing diversity and protecting ocean ecosystems; and
- working with relevant international standards to develop strict measuring, reporting and verification systems to ensure that any interventions are based on sound environmental principles and serve to enhance ocean ecosystems.
Specific to Small Island Developing States:
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are especially vulnerable to climate change. Ocean acidification and increased ocean stratification due to warming are changing ecosystem dynamics and impacting fish stocks. Sea level rise is a serious problem – in the case of some low lying SIDS nations, it is likely to be life-threatening to the people and damaging to ecosystems. The strength and frequency of extreme weather events is of increasing concern. It is acknowledged that SIDS only contribute minimally to greenhouse gas emissions but SIDS are demonstrating leadership to the rest of the world in relation to both mitigation and adaptation activities.
On average SIDS nations have 28 times the sovereign ocean space compared to land space. The ocean provides a large proportion of the protein for citizens of SIDS nations, is a key employer through the tourism and fishing industries, and plays a significant role in the day to day life of the people of SIDS nations.
A review of the NAMAs that have been developed for SIDS nations shows that NAMAs have been developed for forestry, housing, transportation, renewable energy, and land management. However, there are currently no ocean-related NAMAs for either ecosystem restoration or ocean energy generation being put forward for financing.
Given the importance of oceans and ocean ecosystems to SIDS nations, NAMAs must be developed to provide a funding mechanism to support programmes that restore ocean ecosystems including restoration and conservation of mangroves, sea grass beds, reef systems as well as pelagic sea life from plankton to fish. It is well established that restoration of ocean ecosystems improves food security, job security, and biodiversity and alleviates poverty while providing greater insight into ocean ecosystem function and carbon sequestration. Further NAMAs must be developed to support generation of renewable energy from ocean-based sources allowing SIDS Nations to minimize their reliance on fossil fuels at the same time as decreasing CO2 emissions.
You can support us by:
- signing up to the Ocean NAMA network by attaching your name and affiliation to the Declaration;
- attending our launch at Lima in December 2014; and
- contributing to the running costs for setting up the network
Ocean NAMA Network Member Bios:
Please contact us at email@example.com for more information.
 Bopp et al, Biogeosciences, 10, 6225–6245, 2013 www.biogeosciences.net/10/6225/2013/, doi:10.5194/bg-10-6225-2013