Marine Newsletter #1 2013 – January

Highlights from the Marine Division at GRID-Arendal for January 2013

Featured Projects

'Blue Forests' GEF Project
This four year project – implemented by UNEP and executed by GRID-Arendal – aims to demonstrate how the incorporation of carbon and other ecosystem services values into local and national financial markets and coastal management plans can ensure the long-term protection of Blue Forest ecosystems.

Partners to the project met at the United Nations Offices, Nairobi (UNON) on the 17th and 18th of January to discuss the Full-Sized Project Proposal (FSP) that will be submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) later this year. The workshop marked the first formal meeting of the project partners: Blue Ventures, Conservation International, Duke University, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The workshop enabled concerns to be raised and identified the priorities to be addressed moving forward. The responsibilities and expectations of each project partner and component were discussed, and an immediate plan of action to ensure that these are incorporated into the project proposal was agreed.

Interventions of the 'Blue Forests' GEF project are planned in Indonesia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Ecuador and Abu Dhabi (see below). 

For more information, please contact Steven Lutz.

Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project
The Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), supported by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) recently launched a pioneering 'Blue Carbon' project that connects the local natural coastal ecosystem management with climate change mitigation.

The project aims to assess the carbon and ecosystem services of Abu Dhabi’s coastal habitats, gain an understanding of their geographic extent and assess blue carbon in a climate and policy framework for the development of potential mitigation initiatives in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, the outcomes hope to provide improved management options for the preservation and restoration of the coastal ecosystems. These coastal ecosystems include mangrove forests, sea grass meadows, saltwater marshlands and coastal sabkha (salt flats).

The Abu Dhabi Demonstration project is facilitated by AGEDI and supported by an expert team from GRID-Arendal, UNEP, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Forest Trends, and a world class team of coastal carbon scientists.

AGEDI has indicated that they will be joining the 'Blue Forests' GEF project (see above) as an Executing Partner through in-kind support, which includes the identification of the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project as one of the GEF project's featured interventions.

For more information, please contact Christian Neumann or Steven Lutz.

Data and Products

State of the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Environment Report
The Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) was established in 1975 as a coherent legal and institutional framework for cooperation through which all Mediterranean countries decided to jointly address common challenges of environmental degradation while linking sustainable resource management with development. It was soon followed by the Barcelona Convention and seven Protocols addressing issues relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources as well as to many policies and measures aiming to improve its management.

The Contracting parties to the Convention have mandated the UNEP/MAP-Barcelona Convention to prepare periodic State of the Environment reports. This State of the Mediterranean Environment report sets a new course while building on previous thematic reports.

The report provides information on the overall nature of the Mediterranean ecosystems and defines recurrent and new pressures – such as aquaculture and desalination – that affect the state of its environment. It also assesses the availability and quality of information and identifies knowledge gaps so as to provide guidance for scientific research and monitoring efforts undertaken by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention. Lastly, the report offers an important insight on vital services provided by marine and coastal ecosystems to their inhabitants.

The report is available here.

For more information, please contact Joan Fabres.

World Ocean Assessment Website
The United Nations World Ocean Assessment launched its new website on 28 January. This UN programme will carry out a global review of marine assessments and report to the General Assembly by the end of 2014. Until now, there has been no system to provide an integrated, world-wide view of what is happening to the oceans and seas and our uses of them.

The World Ocean Assessment website was designed and built by GRID-Arendal, with financial and in-kind support provided by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, the Australian Government, UNEP and GRID-Arendal. A key feature is the incorporation of an editorial system to handle author's contributions, peer-review and production of final content for the report. The website also includes information about the experts involved, the resources that will be used to produce the report and information about a series of workshops that have been taking place around the world to gather information, enlist experts and identify capacity-building needs for developing countries in regards to the conduct of marine environmental assessments.

For more information, please contact Peter Harris.

Map of the Month

Status of ratification of Barcelona Convention and its Protocols
The main regulatory instrument aimed at the protection of the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment is the "Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean" (Barcelona Convention) which entered into force in 2004. The Barcelona Convention’s main objectives are "to prevent, abate, combat and to the fullest extent possible eliminate pollution of the Mediterranean Sea Area" and "to protect and enhance the marine environment in that Area so as to contribute towards its sustainable development".

Today all 21 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the European Union, are Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention. The map, made by Riccardo Pravettoni, shows the ratification status of the Convention and its seven Protocols in the various countries.

Click on the image to view or download the full map.

For more information, please contact Joan Fabres.


Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences related to the marine environment where representatives from GRID-Arendal have participated:

  • First field campaign of the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon project's carbon assessment, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11-31 January – conducting interviews, taking photos and videos, and carrying out research.
  • Project Preparation Grant Validation Workshop for the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded project on "Standardise methodologies for carbon accounting and ecosystem services valuation of Blue Forests", Nairobi, Kenya, 17-18 January.
  • 3rd Technical Training Workshop under the West Africa Training and Capacity Building Programme for the Establishment of the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf Beyond 200 Nautical Miles, Arendal, Norway, 21 January-1 February – focusing on the preparation of a Submission with particular emphasis on the required technical documentation needed.
  • Launch of Arctic Reflections, Brussels, Belgium, 28 January – a book capturing the experiences of 17 young professionals from 12 different countries that visited Svalbard in July 2011 as a part of an expedition organised by the British Council and GRID-Arendal.

Upcoming events

4-8 February
Dakar, Senegal: Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Capacity-Building Workshop for West Africa, organised by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
For more information, please contact Wouter Rommens.

12-13 February
Oberursel, Germany: Blue Solutions Kick-off Workshop, organised by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). This project seeks to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan in the field of marine and coastal biodiversity.
For more information, please contact Morten Sørensen.

Did you know that...

...the dugong population in the Arabian Gulf is believed to be the second largest in the world after Australia? Dugongs are found in 43 countries in tropical and sub-tropical zones, along the western Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Source: Blue Carbon - First Level Exploration of Blue Carbon in the Arabian Peninsula
...the Mediterranean basin, if considered as a single area, is by far the largest global tourism destination? It attracts almost a third of the world’s international tourists (306 million out of 980 million worldwide) and generates more than a quarter of international tourism receipts (190 out of 738 billion Euro worldwide).
Source: State of the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Environment Report

Picture of the MonthPartners to the project for ‘Standardized Methodologies for Carbon Accounting and Ecosystem Services Valuation of Blue Forests’ meeting at the United Nations Offices, Nairobi (UNON).
Photo: Yannick Beaudoin, GRID-Arendal.

Our favourite website of the month

Ocean Health Index

Disclaimer: GRID-Arendal does not necessarily endorse the content of external websites, and provides them for information purposes only. If you would like your website to be featured here, please contact Rannveig Nilsen.

EarthWire Marine

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For previous editions of this Marine Newsletter, please visit our Marine Division website.

Friday 01 Feb 2013