Mauritius Communiqué as agreed at "Towards COP22: African Ministerial Conference on Ocean Economies and Climate Change"

September 1, 2016

Balaclava, Republic of Mauritius, September 1, 2016 ‒ We, the Ministers and representatives of the participating countries to the “Towards COP22: African Ministerial Conference on Ocean Economies and Climate Change”, (hereinafter referred to as “AMCOECC”), held in Balaclava, Mauritius on September 1-2, 2016;

Recognizing that more than 60 percent of the world’s economic output takes place near coastlines, and that in some African countries, the ocean economy contributes one-quarter of revenues and one-third of export revenues;

Affirming that Africa relies on its oceans to feed its people, now and into the future;

Noting that coastal population growth, overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, pollution, unsustainable tourism and other issues degrade marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystems, cause coastal erosion and flooding, and reduce livelihood opportunities, and aggravate poverty;

Recognizing that one of the biggest threats to coastal and marine systems is climate change, the impacts of which are already being detected in many cases and areas of Africa;

Affirming that developing ocean economies in a sustainable fashion is possible in a number of areas, including fisheries, aquaculture, minerals, energy, transport and trade, tourism and recreation, and marine biotechnology;

Recalling the outcomes of several key international conferences pertaining to Africa and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) treating the issues of oceans and climate change, such as the UN Declaration of Barbados and the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS, the Nouakchott Declaration for the Fisheries Transparency Initiative, the UN High-level Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS, the UN Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (Samoa Pathway), the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the Addis Ababa Accord Agenda, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want”, the African Union’s “African Decade of the Seas”, 2 the Islands Declaration on Climate Change of Saint Denis de la Réunion, and the Declaration of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on enhancing cooperation for sustainable development in the Indian Ocean region;

Recalling also the decision of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prepare a special report on climate change and the oceans and cryosphere by 2018;

Building on the Lima-Paris Action Agenda which enhanced the implementation of climate action and which provided practical guidelines and orientations to both state and the non-state actors to implement the Paris Agreement and support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, and also supporting the decision of the UN General Assembly to convene a high-level conference on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 in New York, June 2017;

United in our common vision of a prosperous, resilient and inclusive Africa, in our belief that as a continent, we need to be part of the solution to climate change;

Convinced that we have demonstrated leadership through our Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) made at the UNFCCC’s COP21 in Paris and that now, we are ready for business and will embed climate considerations in developing our ocean economies;

Supporting the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, which includes specific SDGs on the sustainable use of the oceans, seas, on food security and nutrition, on poverty reduction and climate change amongst others;

Alarmed that obtaining easy access to additional and predictable international finance, especially for African SIDS and Least Developed Countries remains a major obstacle for many African developing countries;

Encouraged by the efforts of the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank and other development partners to stimulate climate-smart ocean economies;

Urging the full promotion of collaboration and regional cooperation among African nations for sharing of capacity, data, and research for the sustainable management of marine resources;

Noting the importance of establishing regional centers of excellence to advance ocean economies, including in the Indian Ocean region, and commending those countries that have already taken steps in this direction, among which the Republic of Mauritius;

Thanking the Government of the Republic of Mauritius for its initiative to host the AMCOECC and the World Bank Group and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for their leadership in supporting the development of climate-smart ocean economies;

Call on

  • All parties, including governments, private companies, development and other financial institutions, to factor sustainability and transparency into any investment program designed to develop ocean economies, and thus to conduct proper environmental impact assessments and foster the resilience of planned investments to likely climate change impacts, and their inclusiveness;
  • African countries to promote sustainable resource use practices in a transparent manner and ratify the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing;
  • African countries to implement their NDCs, in particular the actions designed to foster the resilience of oceans and coastal areas;
  • International organizations to help African countries refine their NDCs to include oceans and coastal areas among their priority targets;
  • Development partners, in particular the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to prepare a package consisting of technical and financial assistance in support of ocean economies and the resilience of oceans and coastal areas to climate change, including through NDC implementation, and to present a proposal at COP22, meeting in Marrakesh in November 2016;
  • African countries to include climate-smart ocean economies in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Africa Dialogue in Cape Town in October 2016 and in the Africa Adaptation Initiative, and to promote new initiatives on climate-smart ocean economies;
  • Accredited entities under the GCF to prepare program proposals on ocean economies and climate change in Africa for submission to the GCF;
  • The international scientific community to work closely with regional centers of excellence and development partners, to assist African scientific, research and educational institutions in developing knowledge about the current and likely impacts of climate change in the future, and in building African capacity in support of climate-smart ocean economies;
  • Sub-national jurisdictions to create a network to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful and sustainable action in support of climate-smart ocean economies;
  • Leaders at COP22 to take action in support of climate-smart ocean economies, and the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to convene a dialogue on African oceans and coasts during Oceans Day.
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