Table of Content
B. Scope of this written submission……………………………………………………………
1. Climate change and development policy: the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the needs of low and middle income countries and vulnerable groups…………..
1.1 The nexus between the ocean, climate change, biodiversity, and human rights…………...
1.2 Why the oceans matter: intangible heritage – cultural and spiritual services provided by our ocean………………………………………………………………………………………..
1.3 Benefits of, and cautions around, Marine Protected Areas…………………………………
1.4 Impacts of Climate Change on Ocean and Coastal Communities in Low and Middle Income Countries……………………………………………………………………………….
2. The potential of COP26 to address these remaining challenges effectively and the steps the Government needs to take if COP26 is to succeed in tackling them…………………………...
2.1 To promote inter- and trans-disciplinarity and science/policy engagement on the nexus of climate change, oceans, biodiversity and human rights………………………………………...
2.2 To scale up research and mitigation process to ocean-basin scale…………………………
2.3 To take the UK’s international obligations related to capacity building, recognizing diverse knowledge systems and support technology transfer seriously, particularly in low and middle income countries, so as to make lasting changes……………………………………….
We are entirely reliant upon a healthy ocean. The ocean contributes to the renewal of freshwater; it absorbs over a quarter of global carbon dioxide, and it produces half the oxygen we breathe. For many years, however, the connection between biodiversity loss, climate change, and human rights has been overlooked. Our written evidence highlights the importance to adopt a rights-based approach and consider the connections with marine biodiversity in climate change adaptation and mitigation, mainly with regard to the human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. The One Ocean Hub research in our focus countries including South Africa, Ghana, and Namibia shows that indigenous peoples and local communities are most vulnerable to climate change, have less means to adapt, and are often marginalised and excluded from climate negotiations and ocean-related decision making across all scales of governance. We noted that while the establishment of Marine Protected Areas do support climate change adaptation and mitigation, the creation of new protected areas around the world needs to respect human rights, particularly those of indigenous peoples and local communities.
In this written evidence, we also draw attention to the cultural and spiritual services provided by the ocean to humankind that are largely overlooked in discussions about climate change and ocean governance. Adaption to the rapid and vast changes to the ocean, driven by climate change, and how people relate to them culturally and spiritually, will be essential to maintain the services and values that the ocean provides.
This written evidence also serves to share researcher findings from the One Ocean Hub pointing to the direct impacts of climate change upon coastal communities and ocean ecosystems. Our research in South Africa, Ghana, and Namibia reveals that climate change has induced forced migration among coastal communities that relies on fisheries resources and exacerbated conflict among different fisheries stakeholders. In terms of the impacts on ocean ecosystems, our research provides evidence of how climate change has direct and rapid impacts on the porosity of coral frameworks, leading to loss of coral reefs and the biodiversity that they support, a decline in suitable habitat for cold-water corals and deep-sea fishes, and the persistent droughts that plague areas of South Africa.
As the impacts of climate change upon ocean ecosystems and coastal communities are well-known, we recommended the Government to take the following steps to address the remaining challenges prior, during, and after COP26:
The One Ocean Hub is an international programme of research for sustainable development, working to promote fair and inclusive decision-making for a healthy ocean whereby people and planet flourish. The One Ocean Hub brings together coastal people, researchers, decision makers, civil society, and international organisations to value and learn from different knowledge(s) and voices. The Hub is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a key component in delivering the UK AID strategy to tackle the Sustainable Development Goals. It addresses the challenges and opportunities of South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, and will share knowledge at regional (South Pacific, Africa and Caribbean) and international levels. We are currently collaborating with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN Environment Programme on the nexus of biodiversity, ocean, human rights and climate change. The One Ocean Hub is led by the University of Strathclyde, UK and gathers 126 researchers, 21 research partners, and 19 project partner organisations, including United Nations bodies and programmes.
The Hub brings together five interconnected and interdependent research programmes as follow:
(1) Research Programme “Ocean Governance” that seeks to discover the full potential of law and policy to foster an inclusive and transparent sustainable blue economy.
(2) Research Programme “Emotionally connecting with the ocean through the arts” that focuses on exploring how cultural heritage and creative responses can bring together stakeholders in ocean research and help address evolving challenges to ocean management.
(3) Research Programme “Fisheries Science and Management” that aims to investigate multiple, potentially conflicting, fishery sectors and, integrate other knowledge(s) to develop the understanding of the role of fisheries in critical marine habitats and the potential impact from plastics and climate change.
(4) Research Programme “Offshore Marine Biodiversity and Spatial Management” that advances understanding of offshore marine biodiversity and undertakes habitat, ecosystem and ecosystem service mapping and valuation to support spatial management in the Southeast Atlantic including areas beyond national jurisdiction.
(5) Research Programme “Blue Societies” that focuses on the inclusion of invisible and marginalised knowledge, practices and economies, and social and environmental injustices, to inform and challenge, through modelling methods, different management scenarios and economic planning for specific sectors and developing ecosystem service decision support tools (Fisheries, conservation such as through marine protected areas - MPAs).
The challenges posed by climate change, and strategies for adaptation and mitigation are addressed across all the Hub’ research programmes mentioned above. We welcome the opportunity to provide written evidence on the progress the Government has made putting climate change at the centre of aid policy.
Our written evidence aims at addressing questions 3) and 4) as set out in the International Development Committee terms of reference:
The extent to which the Government’s work to date on climate change and development has taken the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the needs of low and middle income countries and vulnerable groups into account.
In order to highlight the importance of climate change and development policy to take into account the SDGs and the needs of low and middle income countries and vulnerable groups, our response to the above question will be structured as follow:
1.1. The nexus between the ocean, climate change, biodiversity, and human rights.
1.2 Why the oceans matter: intangible heritage – cultural and spiritual services provided by our ocean.
1.3 Benefits of, and cautions around, Marine Protected Areas.
1.4 Impacts of Climate Change on Ocean and Coastal Communities in Low and Middle Income Countries.
The potential of COP26 to address these remaining challenges effectively and the steps the Government needs to take if COP26 is to succeed in tackling them.
Our recommendation on steps that the Government needs to take to will focus on three points:
2.1 To promote inter- and trans-disciplinarity and science/policy engagement on the nexus of climate change, oceans, biodiversity and human rights.
2.2 To scale up research and mitigation process to ocean-basin scale.
2.3 To take the UK’s international obligations related to capacity building, recognizing diverse knowledge systems and support technology transfer seriously, particularly in low and middle income countries, so as to make lasting changes.
1. Climate change and development policy: the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the needs of low and middle income countries and vulnerable groups
This section aims to draw attention to the essential role of the nexus between ocean, climate change, biodiversity and human rights in the UK aid policy that is often overlooked. It highlights the need for the Government to remove barriers between biodiversity and climate change policy development (Roberts, 30 April 2020). This section also points out that there is a need to acknowledge tensions and potential trade-offs between different measures taken to achieve climate neutrality, including trade-offs for biodiversity and inter-dependent human rights.
1.1 The Nexus between the Ocean, Climate Change, Biodiversity and Human Rights
As a global population, we are entirely reliant upon a healthy ocean: it contributes to the renewal of freshwater; it absorbs over a quarter of global carbon dioxide, and it produces half the oxygen we breathe. While the connection between terrestrial ecosystem, biodiversity loss, and climate change has featured in academic works and made media headlines around the world for many years, the nexus between the ocean, climate change, and biodiversity has only recently been placed on the agenda of the international climate change process. On the other hand, under the Convention on Biological Diversity a series of guidance documents, negotiated and agreed upon by 196 Parties have already addressed a variety of issues at the intersection of climate change, biodiversity and human rights, which relate directly or implicitly also to ocean management. There is therefore an opportunity for the UK to support policy coherence by recommending the application of this guidance in the international climate change negotiations.
CBD Parties have systematically identified potential and actual threats that climate change and climate change response measures pose to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, along with ways to assess and prevent negative impacts on biodiversity through mutually supportive interpretation and application of international climate and biodiversity law (Morgera, 2013). These contributions have been based on the CBD ecosystem approach and have (often implicitly) contributed to defining a rights-based approach to climate change adaptation and mitigation, mainly with regard to the human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities (Morgera, 2018).
CBD Parties have committed to (CBD, Dec. XIV/5, 2018):
With regard to climate change adaptation, CBD Parties have adopted voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and disaster risk reduction. (CBD, Dec. XIV/5). These should be aimed at contributing to the well-being of societies, including indigenous peoples and local communities, together with maintaining as well as increasing the resilience of ecosystems and people. The guidelines should be read in conjunction with the CBD short-term action plan on ecosystem restoration (CBD, Dec. XIII/5). Together, these guidelines call for:
On coral reefs and closely associated ecosystems (such as mangroves and seagrasses), CBD Parties have adopted voluntary guidelines that can support socio-ecological resilience to the impacts of climate change, as well as respect for substantive and cultural rights, by calling for:
1.2 Why the oceans matter: intangible heritage – cultural and spiritual services provided by our ocean
The ocean regulates the climate, provides livelihoods, food, and cultural and spiritual services to humankind. The valuable cultural and spiritual contributions of the ocean, particularly to indigenous peoples and local communities, are largely overlooked in discussion about climate change and ocean governance.
As livelihoods of millions depend on healthy and sustainable oceans, it is crucial to highlight the important of intangible cultural heritage of the sea when we make decisions about our ocean. By emphasising the role of intangible heritage, we will be able to open questions around how to include marginalised communities and indigenous peoples in the climate policy space. Adaption to the rapid and vast changes to the ocean, driven by climate change, and how people relate to them culturally and spiritually, will be essential to maintain the services and values that the ocean provides (Kira Erwin, 2 April 2020).
Communicating human inherent bonds with the sea that are often overlooked in conventional approaches to marine science and governance is of central concern to the One Ocean Hub (McDonald, 27 January 2021). Recognising the ocean’s intangible heritage and role of arts in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Hub has initiated the ‘Deep Emotional Engagement Programme (DEEP) Fund’ to promote creative practices that share emotional connections with the sea (McDonald, 27 January 2021). Few examples of the projects supported in the first round of the Hub’s DEEP Fund include the Keiskamma Art Project in South Africa; Netai en Namou Toc [Stories of Mother Ocean] in Vanuatu; and Cocooned in Harmony in Ghana. To quote Lisa McDonald:
1.3 Benefits of, and cautions around, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
The establishment of Marine Protected Areas, ‘areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation’, support climate change adaptation and mitigation (IUCN, 2017). However, we would also like to stress the importance that the creation of new protected areas around the world respects human rights, particularly those of indigenous peoples and local communities (this section is drawn from Morgera et.al., 20 November 2020). Complex trade-offs in decision-making around MPAs, such as jobs versus livelihoods, needs of industry and needs of society (recognising that they may not be the same) need to be taken into account. There is a need to acknowledge tensions and potential trade-offs between different measures taken to achieve climate neutrality, including trade-offs for biodiversity and inter-dependent human rights (as we indicated above with regard to the example of marine renewables; see also Morgera, 2020; Febrica et.al., 27 January 2021)
The CBD’s Aichi biodiversity targets, for the period 2011-2020, call for countries to implement effective and equitable protection of marine and coastal areas, particularly those important for biodiversity and ecosystem services, with a target of ten per cent marine protected areas by 2020. The benefits of MPAs have been documented in the literature: commercial fisheries are critically dependent on healthy functioning marine ecosystems, with many of the features of conservation interest (within MPAs) vital in supporting fish and shellfish during essential life history stages.
The establishment of protected areas and MPAs, however, need to take into account key factors to ensure the effectiveness of these areas, as well as their legitimacy (notably in the light of the need to respect human rights). First of all, academic research emphasizes that MPAs should not be viewed as a competitor of other sectors, but as a precondition for all the other sectors of society to flourish. A study on MPAs in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, demonstrates that multiple use of locally managed marine areas which respond to fisherfolks’ needs and targeted biodiversity conservation, could contribute to the achievement of specific SDGs on food security, poverty elimination, and resilient ecosystems (see Diz et.al., 2018). Cabo Delgado is a region with high marine biodiversity, high levels of poverty, and coastal communities dependence on marine biodiversity for their livelihood (Diz et.al., 2018: 256). The locally managed marine areas have increased octopus and fish catch, contributed to return of species that were not previously present in these highly degraded and overfished area, increased presence of small fish in the intertidal zone and quantity of bivalves, and improved coral quality (Mussa, 2015 as cited in Diz et. al., 2018). This shows the importance to look at the ocean through socio-ecological lenses.
In addition, one should consider that fishing often overlaps with MPAs and, in many instances, predates their designation. Fishing effort displacement from MPAs remains a key narrative in the fisheries and conservation debate, noting that MPA management measures can displace fishing effort. Academic research has emphasized the importance to co-develop ecosystem-based fisheries management that integrate MPAs as critical components rather than a competing interest (Rees et.al., 2020).
Furthermore, there is a need to ensure that the creation of new protected areas around the world respects human rights, particularly those of indigenous peoples and local communities. The 2019 Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services noted that biodiversity is generally declining less rapidly in indigenous peoples’ lands than elsewhere, which cover at least a quarter of the global land area, including approximately 35 per cent of formally protected and approximately 35 per cent of all remaining terrestrial areas with very low human intervention. The Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have increasingly recognised the role of Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (Jonas, 2018), calling for recognising, respecting and supporting community-based approaches to conservation and the integration of communities in governance and management arrangements (CBD Decisions X/31/B (2010) para 31, XII/19 (2014) para 4(f) and X/33 (2010) para 8(i); Knox, 2017, para 71). This should also be considered in the light of international guidance on human rights and biodiversity. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, for instance, considered the consensus decisions adopted by CBD parties as interpretative tools not only for the purposes of the CBD itself but also for a mutually supportive interpretation of relevant international human rights law. Accordingly, it identified the following safeguards for establishing conservation measures on indigenous peoples’ traditional lands: effective participation, continued access and use of traditional territories by indigenous peoples that are compatible with protection and sustainable use, and fair and equitable benefit-sharing from conservation measures.
While CBD decisions do not usually use human rights language, they already incorporate equity considerations, which provide an entry point for respecting human rights in biodiversity decision-making and management. For instance, CBD Parties have already agreed that ensuring equity in protected areas’ governance entails appropriate mechanisms for: the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities; gender equality in the establishment, governance, planning, monitoring and reporting of protected and conserved areas on their traditional territories (lands and waters); the recognition of customary tenure and governance systems in protected areas; transparency and accountability; and fair dispute or conflict resolution (CBD, Decision XIV/8, 2018, Annex II).
Finally, biodiversity conservation efforts need to go beyond MPAs. The functional integrity and health of marine ecosystems is dependent not only on the protection provided though MPA management measures, but also on the ecological, economic and social interactions with surrounding areas (including terrestrial landscapes). MPAs alone cannot meet all the needs of society (jobs, ecosystem services, climate resilience, water purification) without being fully integrated into sustainable development planning within the wider seascape and linked to coastal communities. Sustainable management of 100 per cent of the ocean requires an ambition that MPAs are integrated into the marine planning framework not as a sectoral or competing interest within the seascape but as a key functional life support system (Rees et al 2020). Transitioning towards a decision-making process based on marine plans that underpins the functional integrity and health of marine ecosystems, as well as realising benefits to society, requires a distinction between areas that are important for biodiversity (species-rich, functionally diverse or are important for an iconic aspect of biodiversity) and areas that are important for ecosystem services (realised benefits such as recreation services, flood protection and food). The two (areas important for biodiversity and areas important for ecosystem services) are not always commensurate or co-located (Rees et al 2017). Marine Planning exists as a tool to manage ocean use and conservation in a three-dimensional space. This is to underpin the triple bottom-line of sustainable development with benefits for economy, ecology and society. Marine Spatial Planning takes on an ecosystem-based approach that is grounded in research, takes a precautionary approach and can be traced back Convention on Biological Diversity and the twelve Malawi Principles (Convention on Biological Diversity, 2007). The Marine Planning development should include stakeholders from the outset However, the planning process has been criticised for supporting political expedience and blue growth opportunities that are not commensurate with healthy functioning ecosystems with benefits accruing to coastal communities. Therefore IOC-UNESCO advocate for an ecosystems based approach to planning that involves all stakeholders from the start of the planning process (UK Government, 2014). Ambitious approaches to the management of biodiversity and ecosystems beyond MPAs include commitments to (Rees et al 2017):
1.4 Impacts of Climate Change on Ocean and Coastal Communities
Vulnerability assessment at local level conducted by the One Ocean Hub researchers in South Africa, Ghana, and Namibia demonstrates the direct implications of the impacts of climate change to ocean on human life on land. Professor Merle Sowman, the University of Cape Town, argues that community-level vulnerability assessment is important because:
The One Ocean Hub research in Ghana, Namibia, and South Africa shows that climate change has contributed to changes in oceanographic conditions, declining reproduction patterns, distribution of fish and human populations. Professor Kofi Nyarko from the University of Cape Coast explained that biogeographical distribution of fish species towards the high altitude, jeopardizing food security and livelihoods in the tropics and causing forced migration among coastal communities that relies on fisheries resources (IMO Maritime Week, 24 September 2020). He further noted that flooding and erosion caused by climate change further complicates the definition of artisanal fishing zone and industrial fishing zone that are measured from the shoreline (IMO Maritime Week, 24 September 2020). In Ghana, industrial and semi-industrial vessels are not permitted to operate within 12 nautical miles of the shoreline (IMO Maritime Week, 24 September 2020). The rapid change of the shoreline due to flooding and migration and the migration of fish to deeper-cooler water could intensify conflict between small-scale fishers and commercial fishers. Research by Dr John Ansah from the University of Cape Coast reveals that the development of flood defence walls to protect coastlines from sea level rise has also contributed to reducing fishing zones for small-scale fishers and further added to the tension between different fisheries stakeholders in Ghana (FAO-One Ocean Hub Workshop on Small-Scale Fisheries, 14 April 2021). This is not a problem unique to Ghana only. The Hub research in Namibia also reveals that small-scale fishers have to travel further away from the shoreline because there are not many fish left in shallow waters (FAO-One Ocean Hub Workshop on Small-Scale Fisheries, 14 April 2021). The Hub is developing practical tools and creating the networks to enhance the capacity of small-scale fishers and local communities to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. In Ghana, for example, the One Ocean Hub collaborates with the Environment Protection Authority and the Fisheries Commission to provide the tools and capacity to implement area-based management to sustainably manage multiple competing fisheries and other ocean uses to avoid negative disruption to coastal livelihoods (SDG16&2) (The One Ocean Hub, 2021).
The findings from vulnerability assessment at coastal community-level conducted by Professor Merle Sowman in Namibia, Ghana, and South Africa highlight the reasons underpinning the vulnerability of small-scale fishing communities to climate change:
Professor Sowman stressed the importance of conducting community-level vulnerability assessment to learn about the impacts of climate change and design appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies. By doing vulnerability assessment at local level, according to Professor Sowman, we can learn from:
These local vulnerability assessments can support linking fishers’ observations, knowledge and solutions to available science, with the following documented advantages in Professor Sowman’s research:
2. The potential of COP26 to address these remaining challenges effectively and the steps the Government needs to take if COP26 is to succeed in tackling them.
The deep and open ocean is vast, and vulnerable to changes caused by climate change such as warming of temperature, acidification, deoxygenation (Roberts, 29 April 2020). Professor Murray Roberts, the University of Edinburgh, noted that ocean acidification brought profound impact to both tropical and cold-water coral. According to Roberts, ocean acidification has direct and rapid impact on coral reefs as it increased porosity in structurally critical sections of coral framework. This condition will lead to crumbling of load-bearing material, and a potential collapse and loss of complexity of the larger habitat and the biodiversity that the coral reefs support (Hennige et.al, 2020).
Research conducted by Professor Andrew Sweetman mapped out the impacts of rising atmospheric greenhouse gases in the environmental properties of the deep sea with regards to water column oxygenation, temperature, pH and food supply (Sweetman et.al., 2017). Sweetman findings pointed out to three key points as follow:
A study conducted between 2016-2020 at ocean-basin scale that focused on the North Atlantic Ocean revealed how anticipated climate change will affect the distribution of deep-sea species including commercially important fishes and foundation species. This study projected that by the end of this century, the year of 2100, there will be a decrease of 28%-100% in suitable habitat for cold-water corals and a shift in suitable habitat for deep-sea fishes of 2.0°-9.9° towards higher latitudes (Morato, 2020: 2181). Scientists predicted that ‘the largest reductions in suitable habitat were projected for the scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa and the octocoral Paragorgia arborea, with declines of at least 79% and 99% respectively’ (Morato, 2020:2181).
Roberts suggested that from 2010-2014 >370,000 ocean science papers were published, and more than 2 million articles were cited (Roberts, 30 April 2020). The findings of these papers confirm the profound impacts of climate change on the ocean (Roberts, 30 April 2020). As the impacts of climate change towards ocean ecosystems and the societal implications that follow are already known, we recommend the following steps the Government needs to take if COP26 is to succeed in tackling the challenges posed by climate change (Roberts, 29 April 2020):
2.1 To promote inter- and trans-disciplinarity and science/policy engagement on the nexus of climate change, oceans, biodiversity and human rights.
Climate change is driving rapid and vast changes to the ocean and consequently the ways that people relate to it. Adaptation to these changes will be essential to maintain the services and values that it provides. Given the complexity of challenges posed by climate change multi-disciplinarity and science/policy engagement are key to build suitable adaptation and mitigation process (Roberts, 30 April 2020; Febrica, 29 April 2021). There is a pressing need to integrate both marine science and social sciences in ocean research.
The One Ocean Hub adopts transdisciplinarity and works with stakeholders and experts from varied disciplines including marine science, law, anthropology, sociology, history, and arts (Wahome, Hills, and Morgera, 30 August 2020; 29 October 2020). The One Ocean Hub’ tools and technology to support ecosystem mapping and sustainable fisheries, for example, have been developed across marine and social sciences. Hub-led events for the World Oceans Week 2020 and the UN Nippon Fellow Alumni capacity-building programme in 2020 raised the following key points on what it means to integrate social sciences in ocean research:
In addition, the Hub-led event also underscored the different contributions of different social sciences to the ocean science-policy interface, including:
2.2 To scale up research and mitigation process to ocean-basin scale
There is a need for greater understanding of the impacts of climate change on the ocean to enable the development of effective mitigation strategies. Due to the hyper-connectivity of ocean ecosystems, we need to scale-up our research to ocean-basin scale to understand the impacts and design appropriate mitigation strategies. For instance, to develop mitigation processes against the material loss and habitat crumbling of coral reefs we will need repeated measure studies on live and dead coral, and refined models are needed to identify tipping points of coral habitat loss and develop powerful monitoring tools (Hennige et.al, 2020). Only by understanding our vast ocean we will ultimately be able to support ‘future conservation and management efforts of these vulnerable marine ecosystems by indicating which ecosystems are at risk, when they will be at risk, and how much of an impact this will have upon associated biodiversity’ (Hennige et.al, 2020).
2.3 To take capacity building, diverse knowledge and technology-transfer seriously, particularly in low and middle income countries, so as to make lasting changes.
Investing in building people’ capacity is very important to address challenges posed by climate change. Capacity building for people in low and middle income countries is addressed across the Hub’s research programmes. All our Research Programmes are supported and enhanced by a programme of capacity building activities (summarised below) to share knowledge and connect dialogue with a broad spectrum of stakeholders:
Dialogue events: Bringing together stakeholders to co-define challenges and co-develop potential solutions. The Hub for instance, collaborates with the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea to deliver a training session on Climate Change: Impact and Adaptation for the UN Nippon Fellows and Alumni, the majority of whom are government officials from low and middle income countries. The training session highlighted the impacts of climate change on the oceans and coastal communities and provided an opportunity to discuss innovation and adaptation strategies that can support the sustainability of the oceans and the well-being of local communities.
Responsive research and capacity projects: Supporting capacity and institutional strengthening through seed research or knowledge exchange projects. The Hub, for example, has established the Coastal Justice Network (CJN) in South Africa, bringing together small-scale fisheries leaders from 13 cooperatives and other fisher organisations to improve fishers’ access to decision-making process. This includes decision-making process related to government climate-change mitigation policy (e.g. the establishment of Marine Protected Areas) that has direct implications upon their livelihoods and well-being. The CJN enables the small-scale fisheries leaders to work together with researchers, local civil society organisations and legal professionals, and gain the support that they need.
Our Empatheatre production, Lalela Ulwandle, aimed to broaden public dialogue around ocean decision making in South Africa, particularly along the KZN coastline – an area targeted in blue economy developments. Lalela uLwandle (Listen to the Sea) is a research-based theatre performance and public dialogue event that explores how we may start to build resilience and adaptation to climate change through environmentally just and equitable processes. To do this, we need to make decisions about the oceans that are inclusive of diverse forms of knowledge. Through a 6-town tour, and associated media coverage, Lalela reached an audience of over 170,000, sparking a regional conversation on the intersection of tangible and intangible heritage and economic development. An interview with an Empatheatre researcher on national radio, led to the "For Water for Life" podcast episode on another media outlet (The Daily Maverick) (The One Ocean Hub, 2021).
To improve education for youth and wider citizen on climate change impact and adaptation, we have developed our ocean literacy programme. For example, our youth partners, the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, are working with primary school teachers in Western Province to develop a challenge-led ocean education programme which integrates Pacific culture, indigenous knowledge, and science (The One Ocean Hub, 2021).
Our experience shows that fair partnerships in international research collaboration is a key element to advance efforts at the nexus of climate change, biodiversity, ocean and human rights. The Hub’ co-development of fair partnerships is rooted in the funder requirements and our own practices. The UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund is unique in funding challenge-led interdisciplinary research for sustainable development that strengthens research capacity and fosters innovation and knowledge exchange in low and middle income countries. . The GCRF specifically required a process for how the Hub would ensure equitable partnerships among researchers and research partners. According to UKRI, partnerships with researchers or others in resource-poor settings should be transparent, based on mutual respect and deliver mutual benefits. Further, the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) mandate of our work requires that our research objectives and design need to respond to specific sustainable development challenges that have been identified in country. In addition, specific funder guidelines aligned with researchers’ desires to in tackle barriers to fair partnerships, and to incorporate these at the grant-design stage. These included requirements to: 1) demonstrate that the research agenda was co-developed; 2) ensure a balance of budget allocation and administrative resources across regions (and Global North/South); 3) specifically support mutual learning and mutual benefits between Global North and Global South; and 4) explicitly address power imbalances in research (The One Ocean Hub, 22 May 2021).
As part of the Hub’s own practices, we co-developed with researchers and project partners a Code of Practice to set out specific approaches to fair partnerships. The Code of Practice, took inspiration and foundational principles from the San Code of Ethics and Global Code of Conduct. All researchers learnt from one another about what went wrong in previous international research collaborations through open discussions and anonymous submissions of inputs as part of inception workshops and online/in-person social learning processes entitled: “Living Aulas”. The Code of Practice highlights multiple dimensions of fairness in the process of co-designing and co-delivering research programme and outputs, with a view to identifying collective approaches to fairness, including towards: 1) vulnerable groups; 2) each region and across regions; 3) each researcher (taking into account also gender, age, race, career stage); 4) partners; and 5) the funders and tax-payers vis-à-vis the Hub budget and in-kind contributions (The One Ocean Hub, 22 May 2021).
In March 2021, the UK Research and Innovation agency (UKRI) announced funding cuts to international development research projects, reducing the overall UKRI ODA portfoliofrom £245 million to £125 million (The Guardian, 27 April 2021). Much of this funding is channelled through the GCRF, established to tackle some of the biggest challenges for low and middle income countries (The Guardian, 27 April 2021; 30 April 2021). The Government decision has resulted in a 70% cut to this year’s budget to all GCRF Hubs such as the One Ocean Hub, Tomorrow Cities Hub, and Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub, to mention a few. Such circumstance has reduced the capacity of GCRF Hubs to develop tools, networks, and enabling conditions to support researchers, NGOs, authorities and marginalised communities in low and middle income countries to adapt to and mitigate climate crisis (The Guardian, 27 April 2021; 30 April 2021). These cuts also threaten to undermine the UK Government’s objective to play a global leadership role to tackle climate change, as they divest from existing commitments and established fair partnerships between the UK Government and partners in low and middle-income countries.
The GCRF projects have been ground-breaking in bringing together researchers from social sciences and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to address issues linked to climate change, technologies, and sustainable development (Academy of Social Sciences, 18 March 2021). We strongly urge the UK Government to restore funding to GCRF Hubs for their remaining project years (FY23 and FY24) back to levels first committed in original awards. The UK Government should recognise the unique value add of GCRF Hubs to the seven global challenges outlined as strategic priorities for the UK’s aid budget by Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab in December 2020. The contribution and alignment of the One Ocean Hub to three of these global challenges is significant:
Academy of Social Sciences, “Academy responds to UKRI announcements on funding cuts.” 18 March 2021. Available from https://www.acss.org.uk/news/academy-responds-to-ukri-announcements-on-funding-cuts/. Last accessed 9 May 2021.
Convention on Biological Diversity, “Ecosystem Approach Principles,” 2 July 2007. Available from https://www.cbd.int/ecosystem/principles.shtml. Last accessed 10 May 2021.
Diz, D., Johnson, D., Riddell, M., Rees, S., Battle, J., Gjerde, K., Hennige,S., Roberts, J.M. (2018). “Mainstreaming marine biodiversity into the SDGs: The role of other effective area-based conservation measures (SDG 14.5).” Marine Policy 93, pp. 251-261.
Febrica, S., Morgera E., Rees S., Niner H., Ntona, M. “Strategic research gaps for addressing complex trade-offs in the Blue Economy,” 27 January 2021. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/strategic-research-gaps-for-addressing-complex-trade-offs-in-the-blue-economy/. Last accessed 26 April 2021.
Febrica, S. “Bringing Transdiciplinarity in Science-Policy Interface for Ocean Sustainability,” 29th April 2021. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/bringing-transdiciplinarity-in-science-policy-interface-for-ocean-sustainability/. Last accessed 7 May 2021.
Hennige S.J., Wolfram U., Wickes L., Murray F., Roberts J.M., Kamenos, N.A., Schofield S., Groetsch A., Spiesz E.M., Aubin-Tam M.E., Etnoyer P.J. (2020). “Crumbling Reefs and Cold-Water Coral Habitat Loss in a Future Ocean: Evidence of “Coralporosis” as an Indicator of Habitat Integrity.” Frontiers in Marine Science 7, pp.1-16.
Jonas, H. ‘Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs): Evolution in International Biodiversity Law’ in Morgera and Razzaque (eds), Encyclopedia of Environmental Law: Biodiversity and Nature Protection Law (EE, 2017) 145.
Erwin, K. “A theatre project explores collective solutions to saving the ocean,” 2 April 2020, The Conversation. Available from https://www.empatheatre.com/a-theatre-project-explores-collective-solutions-to-saving-the-ocean-by-dr-kira-erwin. Last accessed 27 April 2021.
Knox, J.H. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Issue of Human Rights Obligations Relating to the Enjoyment of a Safe, Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment, A/HRC/34/49, (Knox Biodiversity Report), 2017.
McDonald, L., “Artfully Sustaining the Sea,” 7 January 202. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/artfully-sustaining-the-sea/. Last accessed 26 April 2021.
Morato T, González-Irusta JM, Dominguez-Carrió C, Wei CL, Davies A, Sweetman AK, Taranto GH, Beazley L, García-Alegre A, Grehan A, Laffargue P, Murillo FJ, Sacau M, Vaz S, Kenchington E, Arnaud-Haond S, Callery O, Chimienti G, Cordes E, Egilsdottir H, Freiwald A, Gasbarro R, Gutiérrez-Zárate C, Gianni M, Gilkinson K, Wareham Hayes VE, Hebbeln D, Hedges K, Henry LA, Johnson D, Koen-Alonso M, Lirette C, Mastrototaro F, Menot L, Molodtsova T, Durán Muñoz P, Orejas C, Pennino MG, Puerta P, Ragnarsson SÁ, Ramiro-Sánchez B, Rice J, Rivera J, Roberts JM, Ross SW, Rueda JL, Sampaio Í, Snelgrove P, Stirling D, Treble MA, Urra J, Vad J, van Oevelen D, Watling L, Walkusz W, Wienberg C, Woillez M, Levin LA, Carreiro-Silva M. (2020). “Climate-induced changes in the suitable habitat of cold-water corals and commercially important deep-sea fishes in the North Atlantic.” Glob Chang Biol. 26(4):2181–202.
Morgera, E. (2013). “No Need to Reinvent the Wheel for a Human Rights-Based Approach to Tackling Climate Change: The Contribution of International Biodiversity Law” in Hollo, Kulovesi and Mehling (eds.), Climate Change and the Law (Springer) 350-390
Morgera, E. (2018-19). “Fair and equitable benefit-sharing in a new international instrument on marine biodiversity: A principled approach towards partnership building?” 5 Maritime Safety and Security Law Journal 48-77
Morgera, E. (2020). “Biodiversity as a Human Right and its Implications for the EU’s External Action”, Report to the European Parliament. Available from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/603491/EXPO_STU(2020)603491_EN.pdf. Last accessed 26 April 2021.
Morgera E, Rees S, and Febrica S. “The One Ocean Hub’s Written Submission to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on Biodiversity and Ecosystems” 20 November 2020. Available at https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/18245/pdf/.
Rees, S., Sheehana, E V., Stewart, B D., Clark, R., Appleby, T., Attrill, MJ., Jones, PJS., Johnson, D., Bradshaw,N., Pittmanag, S., Oatesh, J., Solandt. J-L. (2020). "Emerging themes to support ambitious UK marine biodiversity conservation." Marine Policy 117: 1-10.
Rees, S., Foster, N.L., Langmead, O., Pittman, S., Johnson, D.E. (2017). "Defining the qualitative elements of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 with regard to the marine and coastal environment in order to strengthen global efforts for marine biodiversity conservation outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14." Marine Policy 93: 241-250.
Roberts, JM, “Basin-scale science, climate change
and the BBNJ negotiations,” 29 April 2021. Presentation at the One Ocean Hub’s Deep-sea Life Summit 29th-30th April 2021.
Snow B., Erinosho B., Lajaunie C., McGarry D., Morgera E., Niner H., Hills J., Howell K., Sink K., Merilainen L., Lombard M., Wahome M., Mazzega P., Wynberg R., Febrica S., Rees S., Jeffrey S., Pereira T., Sauer W, “How to enable transformative science during the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development” Policy Brief, 22 April 2021. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Policy-brief_FINAL_AAA.pdf. Last accessed 9 May 2021.
Sweetman A.K., Thurber A.R., Smith C.R., Levin L.A., Mora C., Wei C.L. Gooday A.J., Jones D.O.B., Rex M., Yasuhara M., Ingels J., Ruhl H.A., Frieder C.A., Danovaro R., Würzberg L., Baco A., Grupe B.M., Pasulka A.,. Meyer K.S., Dunlop K.M.. Henry L.A., Roberts J.M. (2017) “Major impacts of climate change on deep-sea benthic ecosystem.” Elementa 5:4, pp. 1-23.
The Guardian, “Shortsighted’: UK cuts aid to project preparing cities for natural disaster,” 27 April 2021. Available from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/27/shortsighted-uk-cuts-aid-to-project-preparing-cities-for-natural-disaster. Last accessed 9 May 2021.
The Guardian, “UK’s aid cuts hit vital coronavirus research around world 30 April 2021.” Available from https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/30/uks-aid-cuts-hit-vital-coronavirus-research-around-world. Last accessed 9 May 2021.
The One Ocean Hub (2021) UKRI GCRF One Ocean Hub Annual Report.
The One Ocean Hub Webinar on “Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation” organised for the United Nations-Nippon Foundation Fellows and Alumni Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzR9cHUQ9WE&t=3s. Last accessed 26 April 2021.
The IMO Maritime Week September 2020 Day 2 Webinar on Climate Change co-organised by the Republic of Indonesia Embassy in London and the One Ocean Hub. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAsVicHHv4E&t=3s. Last accessed 26 April 2021.
UK Government, “Guidance: Marine Planning and Development,” 11 June 2014. Available from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/marine-plans-development. Last accessed 10 May 2021.
Wahome M., Hills J, Morgera E., “Towards transdisciplinarity – which route to take?,” 30 August 2020. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/towards-transdisciplinarity-which-route-to-take/. Last accessed 5 May 2021.
Wahome M., Hills J, Morgera E., “Towards transdisciplinarity – which route to take? Part II,” 29 October 2020. Available from https://oneoceanhub.org/towards-transdisciplinarity-which-route-to-take-part-ii/. Last accessed 5 May 2021.
For further information, please contact:
Dr Senia Febrica (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The One Ocean Hub (email@example.com)
 . Case of Kaliña & Lokono Peoples, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 309, 181 and 197.