Fiji and Sweden Launch Ocean Pathway to Draw Stronger Link between Climate Change and the Ocean

The Fijian COP23 Presidency has launched a major new initiative to reflect the essential role the ocean plays in relation to climate change. The new Ocean Pathway Partnership – launched at COP23 – seeks to encourage the climate negotiations process to address the relationship between climate change and the ocean.

In the true spirit of the Grand Coalition, the partnership will also consolidate existing work being done to create a coordinated effort among governments at all levels, existing ocean alliances and coalitions, civil society and the private sector to create a stronger link between climate action and a healthy ocean.

The partnership will be co-chaired by Fiji and Sweden, who are joining forces again after leading the inaugural UN Ocean Conference in July.

“We all share a real concern on the state of our oceans and the relationship this has to our efforts with climate change. We know the functions of the ocean in regulating our climate and its importance in managing carbon and the air that we breath. Our message from the Pacific Island countries is that if we do not fix our ocean, we are unlikely to find a solution to climate change. We need a resilient ocean that can continue its function for climate,” said Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fijian Attorney-General and Minister responsible for climate change.

“Climate change and ocean health both need international frameworks and joint efforts of all stakeholders, making the Ocean Pathway Partnership a potentially very important platform for change. We’re all in this together and if we partner we can all do something about it together,” said Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate.

“For countries like the Marshall Islands, the Ocean defines us. So it is only logical that we take full charge in the sustainable management of this great resource. I see this Ocean Pathway Partnership as adding to the momentum to focus attention to safeguard our ocean and I am grateful to Fiji for its leadership in launching this initiative in Bonn,” said Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, said that just as there is climate action, so too must there be ocean action. “Everyone has a role to play in ocean action,” he said.

The partnership was launched with the support of a number of countries, including Chile, Cook Islands, Dominican Republic, French Polynesia, Portugal, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Samoa and the Seychelles. A number of multilateral organisations and NGOs also pledged their support. The full list of Parties and non-state actors that have supported the partnership is available here.

To join the partnership, prospective members are asked to actively advocate for the incorporation of the Ocean Pathway in the UNFCCC process, and to provide leadership for robust ocean commitments within Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as well as international and domestic climate policies and actions.