Submitted by leannem on Tue, 06/22/2021 - 17:18
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June 22, 2021 by leannem
Climate Change Resilience

Pacific island countries and territories were given the opportunity to share lessons learned from Ocean Acidification (OA) monitoring and to learn from one another as well as other OA experts during a Pacific Islands Ocean Acidification Monitoring Dialogue held in May this year. 

The dialogue was organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) through the New Zealand Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification (NZPPOA) project and the Pacific Island Global Ocean Observing System (Pi-GOOS), with assistance from the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KISOT), and was conducted virtually. 

The ocean has absorbed approximately 30% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere, which combined with seawater, produces carbonic acid, acidifying the seawater and depleting it of carbonate that many forms of sea life need to build their shells. CO2 is an acid gas, so the addition of CO2 to the ocean from burning fossil fuels is making seawater more acidified. This process is referred to as Ocean Acidification.  

The need for monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts on marine ecosystems has been recognised at intergovernmental levels including by the UN General Assembly, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

The main objectives of the dialogue were to enable participants from different agencies and organisations within participating countries to convene in-country and coordinate their national OA monitoring activities and enable them to share lessons learned from their diverse experiences monitoring OA. 

In addition, it aimed to provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions of and seek advice from international OA monitoring experts and to enhance their understanding of OA  through this engagement.  

As a result, participants came away with a deeper understanding of what OA is, and why it is important to monitor OA. They also received advice and information that is applicable to their work of monitoring and responding to OA, as well as having better coordination of national OA monitoring activities. 

The Vanuatu Fisheries Department, expressed their gratitude to SPREP and partners for a very informative and great learning session on OA, saying, “We would like to express our gratitude to SPREP and KIOST for the wonderful opportunity to be part of this first ever OA dialogue. Learning from OA work already being implemented on OA across the region was very enlightening and motivating, I must admit.” 

“I am very excited to see what the future is for OA monitoring work in Vanuatu, at least starting from somewhere and initially engaging our local communities through OA awareness materials,” 

The dialogue was attended by 84 participants from Australia, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Hawaii, Kiribati, Korea, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Tokelau, United States of America and Vanuatu. 

For more information, please contact Mr Raymond Schuster at [email protected] and [email protected].