On June 5-9, the OA Alliance, along with many of its members, participated in the UN conference to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The conference convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York, coinciding with World Oceans Day.
We were proud to have California Secretary for Natural Resources, John Laird, announce the OA Alliance voluntary commitment, as well as related ocean action commitments across the states of Washington, Oregon, and California, to assist in the implementation of United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 14.3 addressing ocean acidification and the threats it poses to their coastal resources. You can read more from Secretary Laird about the experience here.
The OA Alliance, along with members Chile, France, the State of California, the State of Washington, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Taylor Shellfish and Scripps Institute for Oceanography hosted a side event on June 8th, which included formal remarks from the following UN Members:
- Honorable Dr. Puakena Boreham, Minister of Natural Resources, Tuvalu
- Catherine Chabaud, delegate for Marine and Coastal Affairs at the French Ministry for Ecological Transition
- Ambassador Isauro Torres, Director for Environment and Oceanic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile
Speaking to the importance of our work, Chilean Ambassador Torres described why Chile had joined the OA Alliance, remarking,
For us the process of acidification is a high concern, taking in consideration the economic, environmental and social consequences for a country that has more than 4000 kilometres of coastlines, home to many species and ecosystems that need to be protected. The ocean is also home to key economic activities. Chile is one of the 10 main ocean economies of the world, employing more than 100,000 people in direct jobs in the fisheries sector both industrial and artisanal.
Bill Dewey, from Taylor Shellfish, discussed how the oyster industry had been impacted on the Pacific Coast of the United States and steps they took to adapt by increasing their monitoring and research, treating hatchery waters for increased pH levels, breeding OA-resistant oysters and experimenting with different plants like seaweed and seagrass to help absorb carbon dioxide in the water column.
Jenn Phillips, from California Ocean Protection Council, presented the OA Alliance toolkit and encouraged the gathered governments, business, and organizations to begin taking actions now to protection vulnerable resources and communities now.
At a second event with our partners at The Ocean and Climate Platform, Ken Alex, Senior Policy Advisor to California Governor Jerry Brown, spoke about the need to elevate ocean acidification and other climate-related changes to higher political levels across national and subnational governments, underscoring the importance of moving from research to immediate actions on the ground to adapt and build resiliency.
We want to say a big thank you to all the OA Alliance members and partners who called on UN member nations to act on ocean acidification by making deeper commitments to reduce carbon emissions and protect the economic and cultural resources at risk in coastal communities around the world.