Press release | 12 May, 2009

World Ocean Conference, a fight to get oceans into the climate change debate

For immediate release: 11 May, 2009

Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, 11 May, 2009 (IUCN) – The Manado Ocean Declaration draft will be review at the World Ocean Congress in Manado urging the UN to put marine issues at the top of the agenda at the climate talks in Copenhagen.

With two-thirds of our planet being Oceans, we need to protect our oceans to protect our future. Climate change will not only have an effect on natural resources and on coastal infrastructure but will displace a large number of people.Sea level rise will cause seawater intrusion which will severely affect aquaculture and agriculture, as well as access to fresh water.

“One meter sea rise could inundate 17% of Bangladesh, completely flood the Maldives and many of the Pacific Island states. Up to 30% loss of global coastal wetlands is expected if sea temperature increase by 3-4°C above pre-industrial levels. Increased concentrations of CO2 in seawater will lead to ocean acidification reducing calcification functions of corals. Changes in precipitation will cause flooding, landslides and more run-off from land to the sea. Storm surges will contribute to beach erosion, loss of infrastructure and reduced water quality, thereby jeopardising, health, food security, and livelihoods such as fisheries and tourism, making coastal communities even more vurlnerable to extreme weather events”, says Anne Walton, NOAA.

The UN talks in Copenhagen (COP15) at the end of the year is expected to result in a new agreement on reducing carbon emissions by a set target for all developed nations by 2012, the year which the Kyoto Protocol expires.

“The Manado Ocean Declaration must ensure that impacts of climate change on oceans, particularily coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses are recognised” says, Bernard O’Callaghan, IUCN Regional Coordinator for Oceania. “The consequences of a failure to do so will be devastating, especially for the millions of people in developing countries that depend on these”.

Policy-makers need to make sure that effective climate change adaptation measures are adopted and implemented now. Helping to influence such changes is a part of IUCN’s Mandate”, says Bernard O’Callaghan, IUCN Regional Coordinator for Oceania

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Minna Epps, IUCN Asia Media Relations, m +62 812 4471 6215, e

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