World Ocean Conference

World Ocean Conference, a fight to get oceans into the climate change talks

Location: Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. 11th May 2009 to 15th May 2009

Officials from 80 countries and intergovernmental institutions gathered for the First World Ocean Conference (WOC), 11-15 May, Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, the world’s largest Archipelago, with an appeal to the international community to give oceans a more central role at the UN climate talks.

“It is time for ocean countries to voice their interests in making the ocean a key topic at all major climate change talks”, said Freddy Numberi Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister.

Ministers and Senior Officials from all over the world gathered in Manado, North Sulawesi at the World Ocean Conference (WOC) to discuss threats to our oceans, the effect of climate change and the role of oceans in climate change mitigation. The main highlights were the adoption of the Manado Ocean Declaration, a joint statement to work together in safeguarding the function of the oceans in climate change mitigation and adaptation by country delegates and ministers, and the Coral Triangle Summit where the Heads of states from the six countries involved in the Coral Triangle Initiative signed the first interstate agreement in the coral triangle towards conservation efforts, supported by the major BINGOs, as well as a Global Ocean Policy Day which provided an ample opportunity for a multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on oceans, climate and security among high-level government officials together with NGOs, industry and scientists to not only discuss the impacts of climate change but the adaptation and mitigation strategies as well as financing issues. Concurrently, there was a three-day International Symposium on Ocean Science, Technology and Policy with 33 topics under eight major themes where a total of 570 scientific papers were presented.

The adoption of the Manado Ocean Declaration

The Manado Ocean Declaration (MOD) signed 14 May, 2009 recognises that oceans and coasts provide valuable resources and services to support human populations, particularly coastal communities that heavily depend on them. Sustainable use of marine living resources will enhance global food security and reduce poverty for present and future generations. The declaration will be put forward to the UN FCCC and hopefully adopted at the COP 15 in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

“The message coming from Manado is clear-  the state of our oceans is a reality and it is only going to get worse in the face of climate change, but if we take concerted action now  we may have a better chance of being able to cope with the effects of climate change. The Manado Ocean Declaration is proof of the willingness and commitment to do just that” says, Don Macintosh, Coordinator for the Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Initiative.

Coral Triangle Initiative- from Manado to Copenhagen

The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI) was launched during the World Ocean Conference at a Leaders Summit. This represented new ground breaking commitments by the six governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste to an extraordinary joint effort to safeguard the world’s richest marine resources and thereby ensuring food security for millions of people who dependent on these resources. The Heads of States formally adopted one of the most comprehensive and specific plans for marine conservation, the CTI Declaration.

MFF together with partners from University of Rhode Island, NOAA, USAID and Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia held a one-day workshop on Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Actions for Coastal Areas as one of the key side events at the World Ocean Conference, Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia 11 May, 2009.

More then 40 national and international participants joined the workshop. The aim was to gather coastal and marine conservation policy-makers who are trying to decide how to proceed in addressing adaptation challenges in the region without creating new laws or programmes, and planners and/or project managers who want some practical approaches to act immediately, as well as communications and outreach professional seeking to make the connection between information, needs, and action. 

The one-day workshop provided an opportunity for sharing experiences and utilising participant real case studies.  Group exercises were conducted to explore in more depth the different starting points for understanding strategies to mainstream adaptation measures into projects, places and national policy. This was based on the newly launched Guidebook developed by Rhode Island, NOAA and USAID, and the MFF Guidelines for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into project design.

At the end of the workshop, MFF Secretariat and MFF Indonesia announced the first call for project proposal under the MFF programme. The majority of the participants were from Indonesia and elegible for MFF funding, and will now be able to effectively integrate climate change considerations into project design, implementation and evaluation.