Nairobi Convention Coastal and Marine News Roundup for Western Indian Ocean: 25 – 29 March, 2019

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Revved up climate action’ needed to counter ‘prolonged’ and deadly storms like Cyclone Idai: UN

Cyclone Idai and the mounting death toll is “yet another alarm bell about the dangers of climate change” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, warning that vulnerable countries like Mozambique, would be hit the hardest unless urgent action is taken by nations across the world. 

The Secretary-General has convened a Climate Action Summit this September, to try and mobilize countries around the urgent need to reduce global warming to well under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement……read more

Seychelles’ Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) announces the second Blue Grants Fund projects!

Whilst there is ambition to increase marine protected areas globally, the question remains as to how to bridge the financing gap that exists to meet the ambition for effective marine protection. Seychelles’ innovation with tools such as SeyCCAT was identified as a dynamic tool to do so at Monaco’s Blue Initiative (MBI) on the 24-25thMarch 2019. Whilst Seychelles continues to explore financing options for the 30% of the marine protection areas of the marine spatial plan, SeyCCAT is an independent trust fund, with a mandate to provide a sustainable flow of funds to support projects that will support marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, and other activities that contribute substantially to the conservation, protection and maintenance of biodiversity and the adaptation to climate change………read more

Disentangling drivers of the abundance of coral reef fishes in the Western Indian Ocean

Understanding the drivers of the structure of coral reef fish assemblages is vital for their future conservation. Quantifying the separate roles of natural drivers from the increasing influence of anthropogenic factors, such as fishing and climate change, is a key component of this understanding. It follows that the intrinsic role of historical biogeographical and geomorphological factors must be accounted for when trying to understand the effects of contemporary disturbances such as fishing……read more

Can the Western Indian Ocean region be a game changer for India?

From a geo-strategic and geo-economic point of view, the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) holds immense value and provides numerous opportunities for countries in the region. The discovery of vast array of natural resources in seabed mining, deep-sea excavations, rare earth materials, oil plants, and large deposits of natural gas, in the WIO region’s ten countries has been a strong pull factor, drawing India and WIO countries in joint undertakings. Various Indian private players continue to invest in diverse along with increased cooperation in extractive resources sector.

For India, using multilateral engagement forums like Indian Ocean Rim Association and Indian Ocean Naval Symposium to make the WIO region secure and socio-economically well-managed is vital in order to ensure that the India Ocean littorals are not exploited for their resources or for their geo-locational relevance in a matter prejudicial to India’s economic or security interests……….read more

South Africa: Key Challenges in Advancing an Ecosystem-Based Approach to Marine Spatial Planning Under Economic Growth Imperatives

In 2017, South Africa became the first African country to draft Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) legislation. The underlying legal framework supports the achievement of ecological, social and economic objectives, but a national policy to fast track the oceans economy provides a challenge for ecosystem-based approaches to MSP. During the 2018 International Marine Conservation Congress, we convened a session to present particular challenges that will likely apply to any developing country seeking to increase profits from existing, or proposed, marine activities. Here we present six multi-disciplinary research projects that support ecosystem-based approaches to MSP in South Africa, by addressing the following knowledge gaps and specific key challenges: (1) the lack of data-derived measurements of ecosystem condition (and the need to validate commonly-used proxy measures); (2) the need to develop models to better understand the potential impacts of climate change on food webs and fisheries; (3) the slow implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, and the need to implement existing legal instruments that can support such an approach; (4) the paucity of evidence supporting dynamic ocean management strategies; (5) the requirement to manage conflicting objectives in growing marine tourism industries; and (6) the need to adopt systems thinking approaches to support integrated ocean management. We provide examples of specific research projects designed to address these challenges. The ultimate goal of this research is to advance a more integrated approach to ocean management in South Africa, using tools that can be applied in countries with similar socio-political and environmental contexts……read more

Seychelles Blue Bond: A Financial Law Review

The authors discuss the creation of this new asset class and how the model can be adapted by other issuers. Incorporating sustainability considerations into financial products is a big and growing enterprise. One such strategy is investing in thematic bonds, where the purpose of the bond is tied to a positive sustainability outcome which is meaningful to investors. The thematic bond standard bearer is the green bond. Green bonds are debt securities whose proceeds are connected to business activities that contribute to positive environmental outcomes. The Seychelles’ blue bond broke new ground as a thematic financing expressly linked to the marine ecosystem and blue economy. In practice, before the Seychelles’ blue bond issuance, no other blue bonds had reached the market.

On October 9 2018, the Republic of Seychelles launched the world’s first blue bond, a pioneering financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects on the archipelago and in the waters comprising its exclusive economic zone. The progress of the green bond market has helped provide momentum for other thematic finance products, such as social bonds, sustainability bonds (addressing both environmental and social priorities), bonds linked to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and loans of a similar variety. The proceeds from this blue bond were specifically earmarked to pay for three components of a larger strategy to advance the blue economy of the Seychelles….read more

Action for an ocean for all: Rethinking the blue economy to be inclusive, sustainable, fair and for everyone

Estimates for the value of the total output from the global ocean economy vary but can be as much as, according to one study, US$3 trillion annually – what contributes to that is not always correctly attributed and ensuing investment is not equitably distributed. For instance, 96% of fishers work in small-scale fisheries that are overwhelmingly (over 90%) in developing countries, grossly undervalued and often marginalised. Meanwhile 86% of fisheries subsidies globally go to large-scale fisheries – predominantly private sector fisheries from developed countries.

But neither small-scale nor large-scale fisheries operate in isolation. Ocean currents connect what happens on the high seas to what happens close to shore. Coastal communities, especially in developing countries, are particularly vulnerable to global problems, such as ocean acidification, pollution and climate change. 

So, with national economies and large-scale corporations jostling for power and influence while small-scale operators often go unnoticed, how do we build a ‘blue economy’ that gives a fair share to everyone, in a way that protects the ocean as global commons?…… more

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