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Marine, coastal and island biodiversity  

Climate change imposes additional level of stresses, such as sea level rise, coral bleaching or increase in natural disaster, to the health of marine, coastal and island biodiversity and ecosystems, of which sustainability are already at risks due to many threats such as overfishing, destructive fishing practices, pollution and waste disposal, agricultural runoff, invasive alien species, and habitat destruction.

Concerns are also being raised on the impacts of ocean acidification, as a direct consequence of increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. Increasing acidity of sea water will reduce the availability of carbonate minerals in seawater, important building blocks for marine plants and animals, thereby potentially disrupting large components of the marine food web. According to state of the art scientific knowledge the viable limit for coral reefs may have been trespassed at a global temperature increase of 2°C.

Enhancing the ecological resilience of these vulnerable ecosystems to the impacts of climate change and the ocean acidification is thus critical for securing their ability to contribute to climate change adaptation. Investment in promoting resilience, including through reducing other pressures, will also effectively contribute to protecting the ecosystem services that are provided by these ecosystems.

To this end, concerted efforts at global, regional and national levels need to be mobilized for conservation and sustainable use, through the application of the ecosystem approach. Yet, the oceans are seriously under-protected, with still less than 1 per cent of the ocean surface being designated as protected areas, compared to nearly 15 percent of protected-area coverage on land. Therefore urgent calls are needed for political commitments, financial investment, and partnership building among different actors to move forward.

Cancun December 2010

December 1 Blue Carbon: Valuing CO2 Mitigation by coastal marine systems
December 2 Pacific Island Countries - taking action on climate change
December 4 The Oceans Day at Cancun: Oceans: Essential to Life, Essential to Climate
December 6 Oceans and climate: action plan for survival
December 7 Taking Action on Ocean Acidification: opportunities under UNFCCC

Nagoya October 2010

Oct. 26 Oceans and coastal adaptation: emerging issues
Chair: Biliana Cicin-Sain (Co-Chair, Global Forum of Oceans, Coasts and Islands)