Climate Change –& its Intrinsic Linkage to Sustainable Development

UNITED NATIONS, May 26 2017 - The Group of 77 has reiterated the relevance and priority it attaches to climate change and its intrinsic linkage to sustainable development.

“The goals and targets under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be more difficult to achieve if we continue to be faced with negative impacts due to climate change,” an Ecuadorean delegate told a meeting of the UN’s open-ended informal consultative process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, he expressed the Group’s appreciation of the Secretary-General’s comprehensive report which provided an overview on “the effects of climate change on oceans” and the environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change.

The report also provided an overview of the relevant legal framework and policies, as well as ways forward to implement Ocean-based adaptation and mitigation actions, climate change resilient sustainable development, capacity building, partnerships, financing and interagency coordination.

“The report gives a valuable background and nurtured us with significant information in order to engage in constructive and productive panel discussions,” he added.

The report also recognizes the vulnerability of the environmental, social and economic implications of the climate change effects on the ocean for developing countries, especially least developed countries (LDC’s), small island developing states (SID’s) and low-lying coastal countries.

The Group acknowledges that the effects of climate change on oceans pose a significant risk to their economies, biodiversity, food security and human health.

“We call on all States and relevant international and regional organizations to continue to enhance their cooperation and coordination to counteract the effects of climate change on oceans for the well-being of humanity, the ocean and the Earth.”

The Group also reiterated that it is essential for developed countries to deliver Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment to developing countries, especially SIDs, LDCs and low-lying developing countries, and provide them with technology transfer and capacity building from the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and their resources.

He said the Group is concerned with ocean warming and how it is expected to substantially impact specific species, and broadly impact ecosystems and biodiversity.

The Group noted the implications that the continuing warming of the Oceans, with the strongest warming being projected for the surface in tropical and Northern Hemisphere subtropical regions, has on the distribution of marine species for catch potential of fish and invertebrates.

As the distribution ranges of most marines species will shift towards the poles, this will shift provisioning services to benefit the middle and moderately high latitudes (often highly developed) at the expense of low latitudes, where small-scale (subsistence) fishing is important for food security.

The Group is of the view that a space could be found to discuss the redistribution of marine species for catch potential of fish and invertebrates, and a way to address its environmental, social and economic implications for countries located in tropical and Northern Hemisphere subtropical regions, in particular for LDC’s, SID’s and low-lying coastal countries.

The Group is also conscious that increasing seawater temperatures provide more energy for storms that develop at the sea affecting coastal areas exposing them to dangers caused by storms and other extreme weather events.

The exchange of heat between the ocean and atmosphere has led to changes in winds leading to fewer, but more intense tropical cyclones globally and in phenomena such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.

The Group emphasized its concerns for the importance of strengthening international cooperation in the face of disasters, weather-related hazards, and the adverse effects of climate change to prevent major damage and ensure an adequate response and attention to the affected population in a timely manner in order to ensure resilience to their impacts, and recognizing in this regard, the importance of developing coordinated multi-hazard early warning systems and risk assessments.

“We are concerned with the total or partial loss of land territory on maritime limits that may result from sea level rise. We believe that this impact could be further discussed,” he noted.

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