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10 ocean events to watch out for at COP28

The UNFCCC COP28 runs from 30 November until 12 December in Dubai, UAE where world leaders will convene to continue negotiations on the climate crisis to create a more livable future.  

Nov 30, 2023

This year’s COP offers a unique and historic opportunity to correct the course on climate change through the first-ever “Global Stocktake”, shining a spotlight on whether the world is doing enough to curb emissions, build resilience and increase financial investments in climate solutions. 

A major focus of COP28 will be how countries leverage the findings of the Global Stocktake report (published September 23) to keep the global goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C and address the impacts of climate change. The latest Ocean Panel-commissioned report demonstrates the significant role the ocean can play in achieving this. It finds that climate solutions from the ocean could deliver up to 35% of the annual emission cuts needed by 2050 to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C.  

While the ocean offers a major opportunity area for action, 2023 has seen the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the ocean as the effects of climate change continue to intensify. The need to take urgent measures to protect the ocean’s health from climate change has never been more pressing. 

Throughout the two weeks of COP28, events and activities will explore these critical issues, here are a few highlights to look out for:  

1. No Paris Without the Ocean: Partnerships to Activate Ocean-Climate Solutions at Scale 
30 November | Ocean Pavilion | 11:00-12:00
Organisers: World Economic Forum
This event will highlight the essential role of the ocean in achieving success of the Paris Agreement while also recognising that ocean-based climate solutions are often not considered as central to the debate. This session will showcase ambitious partnerships that support the conservation and restoration of ocean ecosystems for climate, nature, and people, and will propose concrete next steps to scale up ambition.
More information 

2. The Climate-forward Ocean Conservation Strategies to Deliver on Global Targets
1 December | Nature-positive Pavilion | 11:00 – 12:00 
Organisers: Bloomberg Philanthropies, Global Fund for Coral Reefs, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Race to Resilience, Ocean & Climate Platform, and Global Mangrove Alliance (GMA).
This event will showcase the importance of the Mangrove and Coral Reef Breakthroughs within the broader context of international targets while emphasizing the need for integrated climate resilience and biodiversity preservation strategies. As the coming UN Ocean Conference 2025 will include a stocktaking of progress to achieve ocean-related targets at the midway point to 2030, this event will further feature key leaders and leading experts discussing the road map to Nice and ambitions for the much-anticipated convening.
Register here  

3. Reaching the Ocean’s Potential for Addressing the Climate Crisis 
1 December | Canada Pavilion | 14:00-15:00
Organisers: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ocean Panel
To explore better alignment of proposed actions to reach the ocean’s potential for addressing climate change, Ocean Panel member countries will gather to increase opportunities for alignment to reflect the outcomes of the Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change report and the Ocean Climate Dialogues summary report. The event will also examine how governments can support youth-led innovative ocean and coastal climate projects with a panel comprising of Ocean Panel country representatives and youth participants. 

4. Ocean Decade 2030: Science & Partnerships for Climate Action through the Ocean Decade 
3 December | Ocean Pavilion | 9:30-12:00
Organisers: UN Ocean Decade
The UN Ocean Decade will host this 2.5 hour event on the critical role of ocean science and knowledge in tackling the climate crisis. A diverse array of speakers will discuss key needs in ocean science for climate action, showcase progress to date in the Ocean Decade, explore the remaining priorities and challenges, and outline the future perspectives for the Ocean Decade to contribute to national, regional, and global climate policy frameworks for mitigation and adaptation. 

5. Rising Ocean: Mobilising resources for action on oceans and climate 
4 December | Ocean Pavilion | 15:30-17:00
Organisers: Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs France, Government of Costa Rica – UN Ocean Conference 2025 

This event is co-hosted by the Governments of France and Costa Rica and delve into critical issues vital for the 3rd UN Ocean Conference (Nice, June 2025). Co-organized at the Ocean Pavilion by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with special support from CMA CGM, this event addresses the ocean-climate relationship, sustainable communities, and the financial aspects of a resilient blue economy. 

6. Accelerating Marine NatureBased Solutions through Sustainable Ocean Plans 
8 December | Commonwealth Pavilion | 16:30-17:45
Organisers: Commonwealth Secretariat, UK Governement, Ocean Panel
Hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the UK Government and the Ocean Panel, this event will provide a forum to discuss diverse government and practitioner experiences from around the globe in efforts to accelerate marine nature-based solution projects. It will explore how a holistic management approach through the use of Sustainable Ocean Plans and 100% sustainable ocean management can support accelerated action towards climate, biodiversity and SDG goals. The event will also launch the updated Commonwealth Blue Charters ‘Blueing the NDCs’ report. This report examines pathways that countries are taking towards ocean-based action commitments and targets in their respective NDCs. It also details best practices and recommendations for the development and achievement of current ocean-based commitments and future priorities in revised NDCs. 

7. Ocean High Level Event: Powering Ocean Breakthroughs with 100% Sustainable Ocean Management 
9 December | Al Waha Theatre | 14:00-15:30
Organisers: COP 28 Presidency, High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Ocean Action 2030, Ocean & Climate Platform on behalf of the Marrakech Partnership; High-Level Climate Champions
This high-level event will cast a spotlight on the ocean and put forth country commitments towards the 100% Sustainable Ocean Management goal, through the adoption of Sustainable Ocean Plans and showcase tangible actions supporting implementation of the Ocean Breakthroughs.
Watch live 

8. Ocean Finance and the Blue Economy  
4 December | Ocean Pavilion | 9:30-10:30 
Success at the upcoming UN Ocean Conference, co-hosted by Costa Rica and France in Nice (June 2025), will require the mobilisation of the financial sector and all economic actors to achieve the vision of a thriving blue economy, and the implementation of global commitments in synergy with a new global financing pact. This high-level event will be an opportunity to pursue conversations on these topics as well as deep dive into the decarbonisation of maritime transport, an urgent topic to tackle. 

9. The Green Shipping Challenge at COP 28: Accelerating the Zero Emission Transition 
9 December | USA Pavilion | 14:30 – 15:30 
After launching at last year’s COP27, Co-leads Norway and USA are reuniting at COP28 to host an update to the Green Shipping Challenge. The event will highlight progress made through existing ambitious initiatives taken by signatories to the challenge last year to decarbonise the shipping sector, and feature new announcements of ambitious action. 

10. The Future of Blue Carbon in Climate Mitigation: Raising Awareness and Unlocking Potential
9 December | Canada Pavilion | 10:30 – 11:30
Organisers: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves and salt marshes are capable of sequestering large amounts of carbon dioxide, making them invaluable allies in the fight against climate change. However, despite tools like the Blue Carbon Handbook, there are still gaps in knowledge about blue carbons potential and limitations in climate mitigation. This event will convene leaders from national governments and oceanographic institutions for in-depth discussion of blue carbon as a climate mitigation tool and encourage calls for ambition in crucial areas like ecosystem restoration and standardized monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Government leaders are expected to make announcements on national blue carbon strategies, while roundtable participants will draw on their latest findings and case studies to support stronger blue carbon science and policy. 

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