Life Below Water: Sustainable Development Goal 14

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

ResearchBlogging.org

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an intergovernmental set of aspiration Goals with 169 targets. The Official Agenda for Sustainable Development outlined 17 Sustainable Development Goals and its associated 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. It all started when I recently attended the Mary Robinson SDG Symposium in Ballina, County Mayo. This covered detailed discussions of SDG 5- Gender Equality, SDG 10- Reducing Inequalities and SDG 16- Peace. For the first time the UN has included a Sustainable Development Goal about the oceans in its new sustainable development agenda. We have a very special interview from Andrew Hudson, Head of Water & Ocean Governance, UNDP  about the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the oceans (Life below Water) and Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water (Clean water and sanitation).

Sustainable Development Goals_E_Final sizes

1) Why are the oceans important to our planet and what are the main threats or challenges affecting it?

Andrew Hudson: “The oceans cover over 70% of the planet and represent over 99% of the earth’s living space.  They provide food security for billions, are the major transport hub on earth for traded goods (via shipping), are probably the single most sought after tourism amenity, produce half the world’s oxygen. Oceans are the major regulator of the earth’s climate through their absorption and release of heat energy, absorbing some 87% of the extra energy that greenhouse gases create in the atmosphere and 30% of the anthropogenic CO2 we emit. The ocean economy – shipping, fishing, aquaculture, oil and gas extraction, tourism – is valued at several trillion dollars per year, and that is only for the marketized benefits, it doesn’t include the immense non-market benefits the ocean provides such as climate regulation.

The principal five threats to a sustainable oceans are: overfishing, coastal habitat loss (corals, seagrass, mangroves, etc.), pollution (especially by nutrients and plastics), invasive species (especially those carried in ship’s ballast water and on hulls) and ocean acidification (since the 30% of anthropogenic CO2 that dissolves in oceans creates carbonic acid, lowering the pH/increasing the acidity of the oceans).”

2) For the first time the UN has included a Sustainable Development Goal about the oceans in its new sustainable development agenda. What are the SDGs and in particular Goal 14: Life below water and Goal 6: Water?

Andrew Hudson: “SDGs 6 (water) and 14 (oceans) are in many ways complementary.  SDG6 sets ambitious targets such as universal access to clean water and sanitation services, dramatically increasing the treatment of wastewater, improving water use efficiency, and protecting freshwater ecosystems.  SDG6 and 14 calls for reducing marine pollution, protecting coastal ecosystems, ending overfishing including elimination of destructive fisheries subsidies, achieving 10% of the oceans under marine protected areas, improving resource and market access for small scale fishers, and enhancing ocean economic benefits to the poorest people and those who live in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).”

SDG143) What is the role of the UNDP Ocean Governance programme in implementing the SDGs Goals 6 and 14?

Andrew Hudson: “Through its Ocean Governance Programme, UNDP is working with other UN agencies, the Global Environment Facility, international financial institutions, regional fisheries organizations and others to improve ocean management and to sustain livelihoods at the local, national, regional and global scales through effective ocean governance. UNDP’s Ocean Governance Programme is strongly aligned with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 on Oceans – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The active portfolio and pipeline of UNDP projects and programmes support the majority of SDG14 targets. We support the creation of an enabling policy environment for ocean restoration and protection through the development of ocean and coastal management strategic planning tools and methodologies.  We support the codification and application of the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis/Strategic Action Programme planning approach to address aquatic ecosystem degradation at the scale of Large Marine Ecosystems (LME). We also promote bottom-up approaches to maintaining aquatic ecosystem services at smaller planning scales (municipalities, provinces, local watersheds) – Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). We help build upon and advance existing or anticipated regional or global multilateral agreements to address threats to large-scale ocean sustainability such as from shipping and highly migratory tuna stocks. We support countries in the creation of new Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and the strengthening of existing MPAs through the UNDP Ecosystems and Biodiversity programme.”

Continue reading “Life Below Water: Sustainable Development Goal 14”

Protect, Respect and Remedy

Following a long, and at times difficult, period of consultation and development, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, Professor John Ruggie, has produced his final report on Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. This is a significant landmark and should cause all businesses whose activities have a real or potential impact on human rights to sit up and take notice.

Professor Ruggie started his work in 2005 and put forward his draft “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework in 2008; which was unanimously accepted by the UN Human Rights Council and has been adopted by a range of public and private actors since. Three main principles:

  • Protect – the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication
  • Respect – the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to act with due diligence to avoid infringing the rights of others and to address adverse impacts that occur; and
  • Remedy – both State and business responsibility to provide greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.

An article published in the Guardian asks the question “Business and human rights: does reality match the rhetoric? Companies say they support human rights but a new sustainability report suggests that few have detailed policies”

While the relationship between business and human rights will always be a journey, not a destination, for many companies it seems that the hurdles are just getting higher.

Years of consultation with human rights experts, global corporations, local communities and government officials finally led to the development of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Thousands of stakeholders worldwide agree: human rights due diligence and providing access to remedies are core responsibilities of businesses. Great. Now what?

The Tomorrow’s Value Rating 2013 (TVR) an annual study conducted by DNV Two Tomorrows, underlines the difficulties of moving from agreement to execution. Over half of the assessed companies support the UNGPs, but they are unclear about how they actually implement them.

One difficulty in moving the agenda forward is the challenge of agreeing what constitutes good human rights performance, and how this is understood at a collective or industry level. This discussion is a crucial next step in understanding the practical applicability of the UNGPs. The TVR found that progress is slow, and we are still far from where we want to be.

For example, in the oil and gas sector only three of the 10 companies covered have a standalone human rights policy and management of human rights appears to be often reactive rather than proactive. Whereas the UN was a good facilitator for defining the interface between business and human rights, perhaps we should look at other structures to enable the execution of the next, practical steps? The TVR identified two challenges that companies struggle with: sector-specific implementation, and local specificities.

via Guardian Sustainable Business Blog

Some background to the UNGPs, developed by Harvard professor John Ruggie can be found below:

Links

Business and Human Rights Resource centre

UN Guiding Principles Portal 

Oil and Gas Sector

Let’s talk about sand

Denis Delestrac made his debut in non-fiction filmmaking in 2001. His latest feature documentary, “Sand Wars” is an epic eco-thriller that takes the audience around the globe to unveil a new gold rush and a disturbing fact: we are running out of sand!

In his talk he explains us where sand comes from and where it ends up. Our perception is that the resource sand will always be available for us but thanks to his investigations we realize that this is not true and that sooner or later we will be running out of sand – and consequently won´t have beaches anymore. See the trailer for Sand Wars on the trailer at the website.

Protecting Grenada’s Marine Life

From their earliest memories, Cecil McQueen and Coddington Jeffery have always loved the water. One a fisherman, the other a scuba diver, they both have spent their childhood and adult lives on the Eastern Caribbean island of Grenada. McQueen and Jeffery are the first two wardens of the Molinière-Beauséjour Marine Protected Area (MPA) along the southern coast of Grenada. The Grenada Fisheries Division, with support from the Chemonics implemented USAID Caribbean Open Trade Support program, has created three MPAs around Grenada to raise awareness about environmental threats to marine life and also provide these areas with the same protection given to many national parks.

Happy Earth Day 2013

CIEarthDay

As part of Earth Day 2013, Monday 22nd April 2013, Conservation International’s (CI’s) Chairman and CEO Peter Seligmann took part in a Twitter conservation, where followers had the opportunity to send in their own pressing questions about conservation issues important to them! Representing seabed related issues, I decided to ask two questions about rhodoliths and deep sea habitats.

The question on rhodoliths was referring to a recent discovery of the world’s largest rhodolith beds off the coast of Brazil- which cover an estimated 21 000 square km area- an area nearly the size of El Salvador! (Original news article here, with blog post here.)

Rhodolith beds off eastern Brazil
Rhodolith beds off eastern Brazil (© Rodrigo L. de Moura)

Another user asked about the which areas CI will be focusing their conservation efforts in future. A particularly interesting answer to the question was:

Reflecting on Peter’s answer, this coupling between research and education, industry and governments seems to me to be the key to responsible environmental management. Of course this is indeed difficult to do in practice. You can follow more about the organisation’s work on their website, with the full twitter conversation here

Mikono ya Wavuvi or “In Fishermen’s Hands”

This year at the Beneath the Waves Film Festival, the short film Mikono ya Wavuvi meaning “In Fishermen’s Hands” won the People’s Choice Award. “Coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, and globally, millions of people depend on the resources they provide. In East Africa, along the coast of Kenya, fishing is often the only option for work, and as a result, communities are highly reliant on coral reefs for food and livelihood. This has resulted in increasingly degraded coral reefs, where very few fish remain and sea urchins take over. Consequently, some fishermen have identified a need for change. This has resulted in an exciting movement for the establishment of community-managed areas closed to fishing, locally called a “tengefu”, which is a Swahili term meaning “to set something aside“. This is a short film about marine conservation in Kenya and the struggle between fishermen saving the ocean or saving their livelihood.”

via Mikono ya Wavuvi (In Fishermen’s Hands) on Vimeo.

“The Beneath the Waves Film Festival aims to encourage, inspire, and educate scientists, advocates, and the general public to produce and promote open-access, engaging marine-issue documentaries. The goal is to facilitate widespread science communication by bringing together marine films from around the world for open discussion, while also providing hands-on educational opportunities for researchers interested in film and media outreach.”

via Beneath The Waves Film Festival.

Further Links

Mikono ya Wavuvi Facebook page

Beneath the Waves Facebook page