Building Things Up For RIO+20

By Daniel de la Calle


As we get slowly closer to the month of June and RIO+20 we begin to see more online information linking the summit and Ocean Acidification, which is encouraging.  I have also included some related news items to our usual list:

»In an article on RTCC (a Non-Governmental Organization and official observer to the United Nations climate change negotiations) Ms Wendy Watson-Wright, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at UNESCO writes about the effort the IOC/UNESCO is doing to increase awareness of Ocean Acidification.  “Because of its potential impacts on the marine food chain, biodiversity, food security and livelihoods of coastal community, we believe Ocean Acidification needs to be recognized as a critical ocean issue and acted upon by the international community in the context of the Rio+20 Conference discussions on sustainable development”, she says.  IOC is sponsoring and working on several actions, “to ensure that these issues remain high on the international agenda” and that Ocean Acidification becomes part of the declaration to be adopted at RIO+20.  
Together with the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme they are behind the third symposium on “The Ocean in a High-CO2 World” to be held in Monterey, CA USA in September 24-27.
You can watch this video:


»The International Pacific Research Center, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has released a study which suggests that the Caribbean and western Equatorial Pacific are specially vulnerable to human induced Ocean Acidification and “that severe reductions are likely to occur in coral reef diversity, structural complexity and resilience by the middle of this century”, says co-author Professor Axel Timmermann.  The study, funded by The Nature Conservancy, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and the National Science Foundation was published online in the January 22 issue of Nature Climate Change.

»An ABC News NOW piece on Ocean Acidification:


»The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in the Philippines released on January 24th a statement informing that most of the country’s coral reefs are in dire condition, a problem that puts the Philippine’s food security at risk.  Mundita Lim, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau Director in that country, affirmed that only 4% of their coral reefs, estimated at 26,000 square kilometers, are in “excellent condition”.  Of the 800 coral species in the world 500 are present in the Philippines, making its seas some of the most diverse in the world.  The reason for such deterioration has been a cocktail of illegal fishing practices, over-exploitation, pollution and raising water temperature and acidification.
The DENR plans to rehabilitate 5 hectares of reefs this year and more than 200 in 2013.  The Philippines will also be increasing its marine protected areas in the coming future.
More than 80% of the animal protein intake in the Philippines comes from the seas and 60% of the population lives by the coast.  Both DENR and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) officials have warned the Philippines and various countries about the need to reduce the impact of their land based activities on marine life.  The UNEP has organized a meeting in Manila on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment. The results will be one of the inputs in the RIO+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in late June.

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