Reflections on COP26

During COP26, the One Ocean Hub hosted 13 hybrid events together with various partners – highlighting why integrated and inclusive ocean governance is essential to tackling climate change. This page summarizes the key messages that emerged from our engagements at COP26, and our analyses of the additional research that is needed to support inclusive and sustainable decisions on the ocean-climate nexus. If you wish to know more or collaborate with us on any of these issues, please contact Senia Febrica.

You can also read more about our research on climate change here. The One Ocean HUb’s policy priorities for COP26, that guided our engagement, can be found here.

Our assessment of COP26 outcomes from an ocean perspective

After COP25 in Madrid in 2019 was labelled the ‘Blue COP’, expectations were high for COP26 to embed the ocean into future climate-related action at all levels. Against the benchmark of the expectations the One Ocean Hub had set out before COP26, this blog post will provide a rapid assessment of the significance for the ocean of the outcomes of the UN Climate Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 31st October to 13th November 2021. The assessment will address the following questions:

  • To what extent has the ocean been integrated in the international climate change regime?
  • Are COP26 outcomes on climate change mitigation good enough for the ocean?
  • Were there ocean-related developments in terms of adaptation, finance, technology transfer and carbon markets?
  • Were human rights standards taken into account in COP26 outcomes related to participation?

Read more here

Watch the recording of the Rapid Reaction Seminar webinar here.

In-depth reflection on human rights issues – read here

Sharing early lessons on coastal and marine
ecosystem restoration

The One Ocean Hub was invited by the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to contribute to a side event organised by the three Rio Conventions (CBD, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Convention to Combat Desertification) on “Supporting a Decade of Action on Ecosystem Restoration” on 6th November at COP26. The event discussed multiple pathways for ecosystem restoration as a viable economic activity that can help mitigate biodiversity and climate crises, as well as achieve multiple SDGs, as part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The One Ocean Hub shared early lessons learnt and impacts from the Algoa Bay project in South Africa at the nexus of ocean, biodiversity, climate change and human rights. These experiences also served to make recommendations on linking the UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration with the The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, with a view to prioritizing the knowledge gaps that have hindered more widespread action on marine ecosystem restoration. The presentation has been elaborated into a new Hub case study.


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Strengthening cooperation among UN bodies in tackling ocean and climate change

On 1st November 2021, the One Ocean Hub organised a roundtable to bring together UN bodies and researchers from different disciplines on the ocean-climate nexus.

The event was titled ‘SBSTA Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue Theme: Strengthening cooperation and collaboration among relevant UN bodies in tackling ocean and climate change’ for the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion.

The roundtable explored the need for joint interventions by the UN System and global organisations to build ocean resilience in the face of climate change, using sustainable and inclusive mitigation and adaptation strategies. This blog post summarises the key messages arising from the roundtable, and ongoing work under the One Ocean Hub that contributes to the implementation of these points.

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Watch the recording here.

Advancing children and young people’ rights to a healthy ocean in the context of climate change
Senia Febrica, Francesco sindico, bethany walsh, lindy brown, lisa mcdonald
and kelsey archer barnhill at the event. Photo: Laura merilainen

The One Ocean Hub sought to advance understanding of children and young people’s human right to a healthy ocean through its activities before and during the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26). These included organising an event for the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY) 16  and  a side event for the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion. In addition, the Hub provided input into the draft “Global Youth Statement on Water and Oceans”, prepared by Sustainable Ocean Alliance – a global community of youth, entrepreneurs, and experts, all collaborating to solve the greatest challenges facing our ocean.

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BLOG post: Exploring law, conflict and mediation at the ocean-climate nexus

The One Ocean Hub and its partners have explored the role of law, different sciences, arts and mediation in transforming conflicts at the ocean-climate nexus. This blog post summarises the key messages arising from two COP26 side events, focussed, respectively, on law and governance and on conflict and mediation. Both events interrogated the intersections of law, human rights and the impact of climate change on the environment and people. The events highlight the complexity of the ocean-climate nexus and the variety of negative impacts on human rights that can only be tackled through transdisciplinary approaches and through inclusive and just processes to climate change adaptation and mitigation, building resilience through knowledge co-creation and listening.

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Experts Panel: Exploring Law & Policy Strategies & Frameworks to Address Climate Related Ocean Change. Organised by: One Ocean Hub, The Ocean Foundation & the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification. Watch the recording here.


Promoting sustainable and just adaptation to climate change
MARK HAVER, BERNADETTE SNOW, STUART JEFFREY, elaine webster, david wilson
and john pinnegar speaking at the roundtable event. photo: lisa mcdonald

On 5th November 2021, the One Ocean Hub organised a roundtable discussion among leading academics on “The Ocean and Climate Justice: Impact, Adaptation and Mitigation” as part of the Scottish Government’s COP26 Climate Ambition Zone events. This blog post provides an overview of the key messages delivered at the roundtable.

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Watch the recording here.

Blog post: Connecting the One Health approach to the ocean-climate nexus
PHOTO: UNITED NATIONS DECADE OF OCEAN SCIENCE

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) aims at the development of good science to ensure the conservation of the ocean, the sustainability of its uses and the protection of ocean health. Nevertheless, there is no common understanding of what “ocean health” could encompass under the Decade, and definitions in the literature differ, depending on the scientific discipline concerned.

This blog post shares preliminary findings about some disconnects between the international processes and research on the health of the ocean, on the one hand, and the processes and research on the One Health approach, on the other hand. The blog post then makes the case for addressing this knowledge gap under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, as well as under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

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blog post: Climate Change Litigation at COP26: why it may matter also for the ocean-climate nexus?

This year at COP26, there were more climate change litigation events throughout the various COP venues, universities and the city than at any previous Climate COP. This blog post briefly reflects on some of the key issued discussed around COP26 on climate litigation, recent initiatives by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, and ongoing Hub research on their potential relevance for the ocean-climate nexus.

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blog post: One Ocean Hub supporting ‘Because the Ocean’ Third Declaration 2021

Because the Ocean’ is an initiative joined by a group of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that has spearheaded the link between the ocean and climate change. This blog post aims to explore how the One Ocean Hub’s research and activities support the pledges outlined in the third declaration of the ‘Because the Ocean’ Initiative adopted at COP26 in Glasgow, UK.

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Poster exhibition on inclusive ocean governance for decisive climate action

The One Ocean Hub organised a poster exhibition for the COP26 Universities Network’ Green Zone Exhibition at Glasgow Science Centre on 12th November 2021. The Hub was one of the 100 exhibitors, 200 events and 11 sponsors taking over the Green Zone space. The exhibition focused on inclusive ocean governance, integrating myriad human relationships with, and knowledge of, the sea.

A short film was played throughout the exhibition to communicate the Hub’s transdisciplinary research approach in uniting diverse stakeholders, including researchers, civil society, youth and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) to promote an inclusive approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The themes highlighted in the posters exhibited included the impacts of climate change on communities, prevention and minimization of negative impacts on marine ecosystems, efforts to build fisheries resilience, and human rights of children and young people in the context of climate adaptation.

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Webinar recordings

We warmly encourage partners and stakeholders to use the Hub’s webinar recordings for awareness-raising, capacity-building and education purposes. Please let Senia Febrica know if you wish to use our videos in your programmes.
 

  • Ocean and Climate Change: Building Adaptation, Mitigation, and Resilience’ webinar for the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Adaptation and Resilience Online Series on 27th September 2021. Watch the recording here.
  • Transitioning to the Blue Economy (the role of university partnerships in supporting sustainable development) Delivered in partnership with the Association of Commonwealth Universities at COP26 Blue Zone, 5th November 2021. Watch the recording here.
  • Rio Conventions Pavilion – Supporting a decade of action on ecosystem restoration. 6th November 2021, at – Rio Conventions Pavilion, Blue Zone. The event was part of the Green Climate Fund Global Environment Facility Pavilion at the UN Climate COP26. Watch the recording here.
  • Climate-Related Conflict: Arts-Based Mediation and Recourse to Redress, 10th November 2021. Organised by: One Ocean Hub, the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance, and the Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) at the University of Strathclyde. Watch the recording here.
  • Interview conducted by Ms Kelly Hoareau, the University of Seychelles, with Ms Angelique Pouponneau, the Chief Executive Officer at Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust as part of the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion Interview with Negotiators series. Watch the recording here.
  • One Health, the Ocean and Climate Change event for the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion. Watch the recording here.
  • UN Decades and SDG synergies at the Ocean-Climate Nexus for the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion. Watch the recording here.

Short film: One Ocean Hub – The Ocean and Climate Change 
screenshot

The One Ocean Hub produced a short film introducing its research efforts and approach at the ocean-climate nexus. It explains why integrated and inclusive ocean governance is essential in tackling climate change and ensuring a just transition to a low-carbon future in the face of the rapid and vast changes that climate change is causing to the ocean, ocean life and the lives of the people reliant upon it.

Edited by: Amanda Rogers, Cinetopia
Photos and video footage: Eric Nathan, Kerry Howell, Plymouth University, Sirkka Tshiningayamwe, Georgina Yaa Oduro, Casey Pratt, Shutterstock.

Watch the video here

Short film: ‘Cold water corals in a changing ocean’ – Narrated by the COP26 People’s Advocate Sir David Attenborough
Screenshot.

University of Edinburgh researchers have produced a short film explaining how cold-water corals are particularly vulnerable to the rapid acidification of the oceans caused by carbon dioxide emissions – a largely hidden impact of fossil fuel use.

Narrated by COP26 People’s Advocate, Sir David Attenborough, and featuring research from the iAtlantic and One Ocean Hub, the film also highlights the central role of the ocean when considering climate change impacts and mitigation.

During the COP26 opening ceremony, Sir David Attenborough addressed world leaders and proclaimed “We must recapture billions of tons of carbon from the air. We must fix our sights on keeping one and a half degrees within reach.”

Hub researcher Murray Roberts refers to cold-water coral reefs as ‘the cities of the deep sea’. “They’re home for thousands of other species. But their skeletons are particularly vulnerable to changing ocean acidity. As the oceans of the world take up more carbon dioxide they are becoming more acidic and this is eating away at the foundations of the reefs. Lose the corals and the cities crumble.” The video was also played during the closing session of the COP26 Virtual Ocean Pavilion.


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Our recent publications

…on climate change theme explore opportunities for climate mitigation and adaptation through transformative ocean governance (here and here) and the impacts of climate change on the distribution of commercially important fisheries (available here) and on this article Hub researchers have contributed to. A full list of our climate change related publications is available here.