COP27 Side Event: The power of inter-agency cooperation to scale up ocean-climate action: Case studies, challenges, and opportunities

Statement by Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD

COP27 Side Event: The power of inter-agency cooperation to scale up ocean-climate action: Case studies, challenges, and opportunities

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
12 November 2022

Chair, Mr. Mark Haver,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Dear friends,

I wish this meeting would have come at a better time. But it doesn’t.

The stakes for ocean-climate action could not be higher in this make-or-break COP.

The latest IPCC Report warned that global warming is accelerating faster than expected, producing increasingly extreme natural disasters, with devastating consequences.

Extreme weather events are gateways to poverty and distress for all countries, but especially for coastal and island communities across the developing world, who are at the same time most exposed to, and least able to cope with, disaster.

Extreme climate events have socioeconomic impacts and implications for trade and development. This is true in the short-term, but especially in the long-term.

Coastal and island communities lack resources to deal with disasters, let alone divert the scarce resources for long-term sustainable development.

In the light of what is at stake, synergy of effort and close inter-agency collaboration through the UN-Oceans mechanism on mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction, is a must.

UNCTAD has been engaging actively with other agencies in advancing work to address the immense challenges ahead and stands ready to do more.

UNCTAD seeks to advance work in a number of areas. For example, on adaptation.

We want to promote disaster risk reduction and resilience-building for seaports, where there is great need to develop Early Warning Systems and effective risk and vulnerability assessments.

And we also want to advance on the critical issue of infrastructure finance and investment.

With estimated adaptation costs in developing countries five to ten times greater than what is currently available, significant acceleration of efforts are urgently needed.

As UNCTAD has recently highlighted in a Policy Brief, this is particularly the Small Island Developing States agenda.

And on mitigation,

Beside the decarbonisation of maritime transport, there is an urgent need to support the energy transition of the fisheries value chain.

It has been estimated that fishing fleets emitted over 200 million tonnes of CO2 in 2016 alone, representing about one-quarter of total emissions in the shipping industry, or about

0.5 per cent of global emissions.

Advancing in this area will be important also for food security reasons, as fish is the lowest greenhouse gas animal protein, rich in nutrients and micronutrients such as Omega 3.

UNCTAD, as the UN system focal point for trade and development, welcomes and strongly supports the collaborative work of UN-Oceans and all the agencies involved.

In closing, let me wish you all a very productive, engaging, and above all impactful session ahead.

Thank you.