Against the backdrop of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September 2019, and as the global community marks the beginning of the new decade and the countdown of just 10 years until the world evaluates its achievement of the 2030 Agenda, countries have been implementing actions to adapt to the pressing issue of climate change. Over much of the 20th century, global mean sea level rose at a rate between 1.3 and 1.7 mm/year and since 1993 at a rate between 2.8 and 3.6 mm/year (IPCC, 2013). Typhoons are intensifying, extreme rainfall and drought events are becoming more frequent, and coastal zones experience increased saline water intrusion because of sea level rise and changes in river flow patterns.
Coastal regions are home to a large and growing proportion of the world’s population, with approximately 3 billion people currently living within 200 km of the coastline. Many coastal cities and deltas are subsiding at rates sometimes much higher than sea level rise because of anthropogenic and natural causes, and urban infrastructure is under immense pressure. The flow regimes of rivers are changing because of dam construction and other changes in river basins, which can increase or reduce flood and drought risks, depending on operational management.
For developing and vulnerable countries, ensuring adequate adaptation strategies and building resilience for vulnerable communities are crucial, as these communities bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change while exhibiting specific vulnerabilities related to a lack of finance, limited alternative livelihoods, social safety nets, and food security. If no adaptation measures are taken, projections indicate that sea level rise will increase the risk of storm surges and inundation, displace millions of people, and cause potentially enormous losses of lives, property, infrastructure and habitats.
The worldwide ocean economy is valued at approximately USD 1.5 trillion per year. The sustainable use of resources provided by the ocean and coastal areas is critical for continued economic growth for many countries vulnerable to climate change. Ocean economy sectors need to implement adaptation strategies and solutions to respond to the impacts of climate change to limit risks to economic and social development.
One of the greatest threats to oceans is man-made pollution. 80 percent of plastics found in the ocean originate from land-based sources and 8 million tons of plastic enter the sea every year. Marine pollution from industrial, agricultural and other land-based activities threaten marine life and habitat and have severe impacts on economy and society.
Climate finance is critically important to address climate change. Developed countries pledged to mobilize 100 billion USD a year in overall climate finance by 2020 for developing countries, but actual investments have not reached that mark. Over the next decade, countries will need to explore different opportunities and sources for climate finance such as leveraging private sector finance, exploring blue bonds, and developing climate risk insurance schemes.
This high-level conference on Sustainable Ocean Economy and Climate Change Adaptation will bring leaders, decision-makers, practitioners, scientists, experts and communities together to:
- Discuss key opportunities to promote sustainable use of ocean resources and key challenges posed by climate change and environmental pollution.
- Identify opportunities to accelerate actions to protect ocean ecosystems for economic development and enhance the resilience of vulnerable countries and communities.
- Share experiences, best practices and research results to enhance shared knowledge of successful sustainable ocean economy and climate change adaptation strategies and actions.
- Encourage networking for South-South and North-South collaboration, foster cooperation and develop synergies between initiatives.
The conference expects to draw participation from more than 400 domestic and international delegates including:
- Leaders and decision-makers from developing and developing countries
- Experts, practitioners and representatives from NGOs and CSOs from developing and developed countries
- International organizations and international finance institutions
- Representatives from research institutes, thinktanks and global centres of excellence
- Mass media
More information, please kindly visit the conference website: http://conference.undp.org.vn/
For media inquiries, please kindly contact:
Phan Huong Giang
Media and Communications Analyst
Climate Change & Environment
United Nations Development Programme