Thursday, September 15, 2016

Workshop Explores Climate-Ocean Linkages Ahead of Third Our Ocean Conference

14 September 2016: On the eve of the opening of the Third Our Ocean Conference, the Division of Environment and Oceanic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and the National Geographic Society organized a workshop to consider the theme, "Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?” The workshop took place at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September, immediately prior to the Third Our Ocean Conference, which is also convening in Washington, DC, from 15-16 September. Participants focused on how to build on the momentum generated with the “Because the Ocean” initiative that was announced during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which concluded with the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The workshop brought together the ocean and climate communities, including representatives from governments, climate change negotiators, scientists and civil society, to identify challenges related to including the ocean in the UNFCCC agenda and to develop an action plan for addressing ocean-related issues through the climate action to take place under the Paris Agreement. Participants also discussed linkages with Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water), with Jan Olsson, Ambassador for the Environment and Oceans, Sweden, briefing participants on preparations for the UN High-Level Conference on SDG 14 to be held in June 2017 in New York. He said: the science on climate change and the ocean is understood well enough to act now; action on climate change is necessary to save the ocean; and the high level conference “is an opportunity not to be missed to create a thorough overview of the totality of actions being taken and actions needed to meet our obligations under SDG 14.”   Roundtable discussions considered whether climate change impacts on the ocean should raise the level of climate action ambition, how the ocean could be included in countries' Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and the way forward. Participants noted the value of further scientific research and discussions with policy makers regarding the implications of climate-related impacts on the ocean. Opportunities to spur action to address these linkages through the Paris Agreement, such as its provisions for NDCs and for a global stocktake and facilitative dialogue to take place in 2018, were also discussed. In closing the workshop, Heraldo Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile, said the workshop provided a contribution to achieving the third and final goal of the “Because the Ocean Declaration,” which was to establish a work plan on the ocean under the UNFCCC. He also said the workshop discussions could provide the basis for a second declaration. More

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Island Invasives Conference 2017

 On behalf of the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the University of Dundee, U.K., Alison Neil (SGHT CEO) and Anthony Martin are delighted to advise you that the third in the series of Island Invasive’s conferences will be held in Dundee, Scotland, in the week 10-14 July 2017. We very much look forward to a great gathering of the island invasives clan, with lots of good presentations, good ideas, good discussions, good food, good music and dancing (yes, even YOU will be unable to resist dancing in a ceilidh) and perhaps a wee dram or two of sublime Scotch whisky.  
   This conference follows two very successful and productive predecessors held in Auckland, New Zealand in 2002 <> and 2010. A successor is long overdue. The sub-title of the 2017 conference is 'Scaling up to meet the challenge' - a reflection of the rapid growth in interest in the field, as well as the escalating size of islands now being freed of damaging invasive species. The Dundee meeting will of course be the first in the series to held in Europe, and indeed the first in the northern hemisphere. In addition to welcoming many guests from the traditional strongholds in the Antipodes, we hope and trust that the venue will allow greater participation than hitherto from within the growing interest groups elsewhere, especially Europe and N. America.    Please view the conference website  that formally announcing the event and allows people to build it in to their 2017 schedule, book accommodation and submit abstracts. Further information about the programme will also follow. The IUCN has kindly offered to publish the proceedings of this conference, just as it did for the others in the series.    Please circulate this to anyone or any group you think may be interested in attending. The task now is to ensure than anyone who may wish to attend is made aware that the place to be in July 2017 is Dundee. More
This will be the third in a series of international conferences focussed on invasive alien species (IAS) on islands, their impact and management. It follows those held in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2001 and 2010*. The Dundee conference will therefore be the first such meeting for seven years, and the first to be held in the northern hemisphere. In the context of this meeting, the definition of ‘island’ is broader than just a piece of land surrounded by water. Much the same problems and solutions apply to land surrounded by predator-proof fences, and to unfenced but isolated patches of habitat such as coral reefs.

Awareness of the damaging impact of invasive species is growing rapidly, just as the problem itself is growing. Island flora and fauna tend to be particularly vulnerable to IAS, and many insular endemics have been driven to extinction by these invaders. But, by their very nature, islands may also offer the possibility of long-term refuge and security if alien species can be eradicated or effectively controlled.


Over recent decades, the management and even eradication of island invasives has developed from a concept born of desperation to small scale experimentation, to medium scale trials, to large scale operations where success is almost expected. The scale of response is increasing to meet the escalating challenge. Progress is made largely by learning from the lessons and experience of earlier operations, good and bad. For this, there is no substitute for face-to-face discussion, the discovery of new approaches from posters and spoken presentations, and access to the best people in the business, all gathered in one place.