Author Archives: Isabella Lövin

A Year of Ocean Regeneration

The importance of the world’s ocean cannot be overstated. It supplies 50% of the oxygen we breathe, feeds billions of people, and provides livelihoods for millions more. It is the great biological pump of global atmospheric and thermal regulation, and the driver of the water and nutrient cycles. And is among the most powerful tools for mitigating the effects of climate change. In short, the ocean is a critical ally, and we must do everything in our power to safeguard them.

This is all the more important, considering the unprecedented and unpredictable threats that we currently face. Though the ocean has been integral to slowing climate change, absorbing over 30% of the greenhouse-gas emissions and 90% of the excess heat generated since the Industrial Revolution, the cost has been huge. Ocean acidification and warming has been occurring at alarming rates, and are already having a serious impact on some of our most precious marine ecosystems – an impact that will only intensify.

Today, vast swaths of the world are experiencing what is likely to be the strongest El Niño on record. The adverse weather resulting from the phenomenon – which originates in the Pacific but affects the ocean worldwide – is expected to affect adversely over 60 million people this year, compounding the misery wrought last year. It is a sobering reminder of our vulnerability to both natural and human-induced shocks to the earth’s systems.

Despite all of this, we continue to degrade our ocean through the relentless destruction of habitats and biodiversity, including through overfishing and pollution. Disturbingly, recent reports indicate that the ocean may contain 1kg of plastics for every 3kg fish by 2025. These actions are facilitated by chronic failures of global governance; for example, one-fifth of all fish taken from the ocean is caught illegally.


Specifically,
SDG 14 commits world leaders to end overfishing, eliminate illegal fishing, establish more marine protected areas, reduce plastic litter and other sources of marine pollution, and increase ocean resilience to acidification. The Global Ocean Commission celebrated this strong endorsement of urgent action to protect the ocean, which closely reflects the set of proposals contained in the Global Ocean Commission’s 2014 report From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean.Urgent action must be taken not just to address climate change broadly by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but also to enhance the health and resilience of our ocean. Fortunately, in 2015 – a watershed year for global commitments – world leaders established conservation and restoration of the world’s ocean as a key component of the new United Nations development agenda, underpinned by 17 so-called Sustainable Development Goals.

So the world now has an agreed roadmap for ocean recovery. But how far and how fast we travel is yet to be determined. And the task ahead – translating admirable and ambitious commitments into effective collaborative action at the local, national, and international levels – is immense.

The challenge is compounded by the weak and fragmented state of global ocean governance. Unlike other SDGs – such as those related to health, education, or hunger – there is no single international body charged with driving forward the implementation of the ocean SDG. As a result, it is not clear who will be responsible for monitoring and measuring progress and ensuring accountability.

To ensure that SDG 14 does not fall by the wayside, the governments of Fiji and Sweden proposed convening a high-level UN conference on ocean and seas in Fiji, with Swedish support, in June 2017. Their proposal was subsequently co-sponsored by 95 countries and adopted unanimously in a UN General Assembly resolution.


This is a promising step forward, reflecting the tremendous momentum that efforts to protect the ocean have gained in recent years. As the Global Ocean Commission’s work comes to a natural conclusion, its many partners and supporters will be working hard to sustain this momentum, ensuring that building a healthy and resilient ocean remains a global priority until it is a global reality. The key to success, according to
the Global Ocean Commission’s final report will be the creation of an independent, transparent mechanism for monitoring, measuring, and reporting on the essential actions needed to achieve the SDG 14 targets, as well as additional UN conferences between now and 2030.By drawing attention to the progress being made toward meeting SDG 14 targets and shining a spotlight on where results are lagging, the conference will provide a much-needed “accountability moment.” At the same time, by bringing together relevant stakeholders, it will help to catalyze deeper cooperation among governments, civil society, and the private sector.

Current and future generations alike need – and deserve – a healthy, resilient ocean. Growing awareness of – and strong commitments to resolve – the challenges facing our ocean is heartening. But it is just the beginning. One hopes that 2016 turns out to be the year when the world enters a new era of ocean regeneration.

Isabella Lövin- Minister for International Development Cooperation, Sweden.
Trevor Manuel – Co-Chair, Global Ocean Commission.
Hon Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fiji

Global Ocean Commission Welcomes UN General Assembly Decision To Hold UN Conference On Oceans And Seas

The Global Ocean Commission welcomed today’s decision by the UN General Assembly to convene in June 2017 the high-level UN Conference on Oceans and Seas, to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development. The conference will be held in Fiji from 5 to 9 June, 2017.

Originally proposed by the governments of Fiji and Sweden, and co-sponsored by 95 countries, the resolution adopted today underlines that the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals will depend upon a revitalized and enhanced global partnership for sustainable development, bringing together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in September 2015 as part of the UN 2030 Agenda. SDG 14, the Ocean Sustainable Development Goal, is made up of seven targets including the creation of marine protected areas, the elimination of harmful fisheries subsidies, the reduction of marine pollution including plastic litter, along with action to increase the resilience of the ocean to acidification caused by CO2 emissions.

In welcoming the resolution’s adoption today, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Peter Thomson, said the 2014 report of the Global Ocean Commission had clearly demonstrated that Ocean’s health was caught in a cycle of decline and that international ocean governance was fragmented. He said today’s resolution would ensure a coming together of the international community to drive the implementation of SDG14 and reverse the cycle of decline.

The prime movers of the motion, Fiji and Sweden, had originally proposed that the UN Conference be convened every three years between 2017 and 2029. Ambassador Thomson said that depending on the success and outcome of the Fiji summit in 2017, this triennial process would drive SDG’s implementation over the 15 years of the 2030 Agenda.

The Global Ocean Commission in its 2014 report From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean, proposed a Global Ocean Accountability Board be created in order to measure progress on ocean recovery. The convening of the UN Conference on Oceans and Seas can be a first step in securing everyone is accountable.

José María Figueres, Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission, welcomed today’s action by the UNGA, saying: “The high level UN Conference on Oceans and Seas – Fiji 2017 – can provide the first accountability moment all ocean lovers and conservationists have been waiting for; to assess what we are really doing to and for the ocean.”

WTO inaction risks undermining Ocean Sustainable Development Goal

The Global Ocean Commission regrets that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference held last week in Nairobi, Kenya, has not responded to a recently adopted critical target of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: the elimination of harmful fisheries subsidies by 2020.


Countries spend $30 billion a year on fisheries subsidies, 60% of which directly encourages unsustainable, destructive, or even illegal practices. The resulting market distortion is a major factor behind the chronic mismanagement of the world’s fisheries, which the World Bank calculates to have cost the global economy $83 billion in 2012.
Subsidies to the fishing sector is an issue that often gets too little attention despite being of enormous importance to sustainable development.

Serious efforts by some countries that hoped to advance the issue in Nairobi deserve praise. A draft decision put forward by the African-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) group proposed the establishment of a work program which would aim at prohibiting subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing and those that affect already overfished stocks. Discussions also considered the reinforcement of WTO reporting and transparency procedures. In the attempt to gather political support for action on fisheries subsidies, Ministers from 28 countries headed by New Zealand issued a joint statement on Thursday 17 December.

But, despite being initiatives that just ensured bare minimums, they faced the opposition namely from the EU, China and India which lead to the failure of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference to move forward on fisheries subsidies.

The Global Ocean Commission is concerned that, by not regulating fisheries subsidies, the WTO is failing to comply with the recently adopted UN Global Goals, and concretely SDG 14 on the ocean that specifically commits to the elimination, by no later than 2020, of fisheries subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing (Target 14.6).

Beyond environmental concerns, fisheries subsidies raise urgent questions of equity and justice. Food security is at stake when poor coastal communities see their fish stocks diminishing as a consequence of the activities of subsidized distant-fishing vessels from rich countries.

This week’s WTO Ministerial Conference was an opportunity for the multilateral trade regime to echo and put in practice the international community’s sustainable development and ocean governance ambitions. The Global Ocean Commission regrets that the opportunity was missed and warns that there will be very little time left to comply with SDG 14 next time the WTO hold a ministerial conference.

Climate COP21: 22 countries form the Because the Ocean group

For the first time in Paris this week 22 countries have raised prominently the Ocean at a Climate COP, indicating that we are ready to enter a new era of climate action that includes the planet’s blue part which represents 75% of the Earth’s surface. The ocean absorbs 25% of CO2 emissions and 90% of the heat associated with climate change, recognition and inclusion in the climate debate is long overdue.


“The creation of the Because the Ocean group of countries here in Paris highlights the importance of the ocean for the climate and the importance of the climate for the ocean”, said José María Figueres, Co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission.
By supporting the Because the Ocean declaration, 22 countries* have agreed to work on three concrete and common objectives: a Special Report on the Ocean by the IPCCthe UN Ocean SDG Conference in Fiji in June 2017, and the elaboration of an ocean action plan under the UNFCCC.

The Because the Ocean group of countries will start its work in 2016.

*Aruba, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Fiji, France, Guinea Bissau, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Palau, Senegal, Seychelles, Spain, Sweden.

Because The Ocean

On the eve of the official opening of COP21, government representatives and civil society attended in Paris Because the Ocean, a high-level event at the Climate-Ocean Tara Pavilion organized by the Global Ocean Commission in partnership with the Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry, the French Ministry of Ecology, the Institute on Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and Tara Expeditions.


“Today we are here to celebrate the ocean, and to celebrate the fact that the ocean is taking its place in the climate debate. Because the ocean is the single most important driver of our climate and Earth systems, and in fact responsible for half the oxygen we breathe. Because by absorbing 90% of the excess heat and 25% of the carbon we produce, the ocean has been and continues to shield us from far more intense and accelerated climate change impacts, we must cherish and protect the ocean. Because the ocean will – today and every day – extract 4 kg of CO2 per person on the planet from our atmosphere, we must care for the blue part of our planet”, said Jose Maria Figueres, Co Chair of the Global Ocean Commission.
As the world is hoping for the adoption in the next two weeks a strong climate agreement, the Ocean, a vital element in the equation is often overlooked.

11 countries signed the “Because the Ocean” declaration, which calls for:
1) A special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the ocean,
2) A UN conference on Ocean and Seas to establish a regular review and benchmarking of SDG 14, the UN Ocean Sustainable Development Goal, and
3) The development of an ocean action plan under the UNFCCC.


HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
Declaration signatories include:

  • President, President Anote Tong, Kiribati
  • President Tommy Remengesau, Palau
  • Heraldo Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile
  • Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, France
  • Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada
  • Isabella Lövin, Minister of Cooperation and Development, Sweden
  • Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Fiji
  • Oslin B. Sevinger, Minister of Regional Planning, Infrastructure and Integration, Aruba
  • Dra. Amparo Martínez Arroyo, Director General, National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, Mexico
  • Rebekah Riley Deputy Permanent Representative, Delegation to the OECD, New Zealand

Several other countries whom could not attend have already announced that they are joining this initiative, and it is expected that the number grows through the duration of COP21.

The “Because the Ocean” initiative was born from six partner organisations:

  • The Global Ocean Commission
  • The Government of Chile
  • The Government of France
  • The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation
  • The Policy research Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDRRI)
  • The French ocean advocacy organisation Tara Expeditions

4 DECEMBER UPDATE:  Five more countries join #BecausetheOcean
In a private ceremony in Le Bourget, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has welcomed signatures of five more country representatives:

  • DECEMBER UPDATEAkima El Haite, Minister of Environment, Morocco
  • Ravala Beboarimisa, Minister for Environment, Seas and Forests, Madagascar
  • Dr. Hans Hoogeveen, Vice-Minister of Agriculture, The Netherlands
  • Valvanera Ulargui, Climate Change Office Director, Spain

At a third and final private signature ceremony hosted by the Chilean delegation, seven more countries have endorsed the Because the Ocean declaration: 

  • Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment, Costa Rica
  • Pablo Viera, Secretary of State for Environment, Colombia
  • Didier Dogley, Minister of Environment, Seychelles
  • Barros Bacar Banjai, Secretary of State for Environment, Guinea Bissau
  • Mariline Diara, Director for Environment, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal
  • Zoila Gonzalez de Gutierrez, Vice Minister for Environment, Dominican Republic
  • Kelly Pearce, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia

We are happy to report that along the COP21 the #BecausetheOcean group has grown to 22 countries.

Different Types of Web Hosting Companies

You might be reading this article for more details on how to choose top hosting companies. The process of comparing and contrasting web hosts is an art. That is because there are so many hosting companies to choose from. Many people feel confused about the services offered by web hosts. With hundreds (if not thousands) of web hosts, things can be very confusing.

“Technical terms” add to the confusion. When you come across best hosting companies, you will see terms like DNS, bandwidth and GB. These are jargons that can discourage anyone easily. As your company begins to grow, your web hosting requirements will increase. The needs will become extremely complicated. That is when inexpensive or free web hosting plans become less useful. If you want to drive more traffic to your website and become real market leaders, you should compare the market’s best hosting services.

With this being said, here are few common types of services and hosting plans for businesses.

#1 Shared Hosting

Shared web hosting is nothing but a shared service. Your website will be run on servers that are shared by several others. What makes shared web hosting useful would be “shared costs”. You don’t have to pay more than 5-10 USD every month. The only drawback of shared web hosting would be “compromised performance”. If you are trying web hosting services for the first time, shared web hosting will be good.

                Bluehost is one of the market’s most famous and reputed business for shared hosting.

#2 Reseller Hosting

Reseller web hosting companies are similar to shared hosting services. However, resellers have newer and better tools. They will help you resell hosting spaces! Reseller packages are loaded with technical control. The services are ideal for clients with billing applications. Few perks in reseller hosting packages are:

  • Plenty of free website templates
  • Flawless technical support
  • Private DNS or name servers

Reseller hosting packages are sold between 15 and 30 USD. The final cost depends on resource limits and features.

#3 Cloud Based Hosting

Cloud based web hosting is a new technology. This is where hundreds of servers work together. Cloud is an interesting concept that focuses on growth. The best thing about cloud is that you can handle huge volumes of traffic effortlessly. Even if a server is down, your website will run! That is because there are so many individual servers working together. Cloud web hosting runs on the pay-for-what you use model.

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Who Wears the Trousers… on Ocean Plastics!

Today at the Our Ocean Summit held in Valparaiso, Chile, José María Figueres, Co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission and former President of Costa Rica, donned a suit and sunglasses made from plastic waste to help bring awareness to the harmful effects of plastics on ocean life and highlight innovative uses for plastic waste.

José María Figueres wearing a suit and sunglasses made from ocean plastics ©Kashfi Halford / GOC

Marine debris, particularly plastics, are a major source of ocean pollution and pose a serious threat to marine ecosystems. In 2010 alone, it is estimated that eight million tons of plastic trash entered the ocean from coastal countries. With plastic production and usage increasing rapidly, this number is on target to increase tenfold within the next decade. If unchecked by 2025, some estimate that there could be as much as 1kg of plastic for every 3kg of fish in the ocean.

The Global Ocean Commission’s report, From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean, was released in June 2014 and identified the drivers of ocean decline while mapping out the 8 key interventions needed to ensure the ocean’s recovery. Proposal 5 focused on the growing problem of plastic waste in the Ocean and the efforts needed to stop it from polluting marine environments. Preventing the loss of plastic waste to the ocean must be a priority for the international community, but so too must be the capacity to create innovative solutions to tackle the mountains of plastic waste currently littering the globe.

While moderating a session at the Our Ocean Event in Chile on Marine Pollution, José María Figueres’ called attention to this issue by wearing a suit made entirely of recycled plastic from a landfill in Asia, as well as sunglasses made in Chile from discarded fishing nets. This wardrobe focuses attention on the massive problem of plastic waste and helps highlight some very innovative solutions that can be used to address this problem.

‘Plastic suits and sunglasses will not solve the plastic waste crisis we are facing, but are a good example of the innovative thinking and drive needed to combat this problem’ said Jose Maria. “On behalf of the Global Ocean Commission I am issuing a call to action and a challenge for other innovative ideas that make good economic use of this valuable resource and addresses the pollution of our greatest resource the ocean!”

SDG 14 – An Ocean Opportunity

The Global Ocean Commission released today, “SDG 14: An Ocean Opportunity”, a 10 minute film in which world leaders emphasize the importance of SDG 14, the Ocean Sustainable Development Goal, which was officially adopted last weekend in New York as part of the 2030 UN Agenda Summit. 

Left to Right: Alice Tipping, Markus Knigge, Namita Khatri, Ambassador Vangelis Vitalis, Remi Parmentier, Ines de Agueda

Speaking from New York in exclusive interviews for the Global Ocean Commision, President Macky Sall from Senegal, Prime Minister John Key from New Zealand, Prime Minister Voreq Bainimarama from Fiji, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, Development Minister Isabella Lövin from Sweden, Development Minister Annick Girardin from France, President Figueres from Costa Rica Co-chair of the Global Ocean Commmission, and former World Trade Organization Director General and Global Ocean Commissioner Pascal Lamy) all emphasize how SDG 14 adds momentum and legitimacy for Ocean action, quoting issues such as the SDG Target 14.6 on the elimination of harmful fishing subsidies by no later than 2020, Target 14.4 on the eradication of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, or the importance of Marine Protected Areas, and the linkages between climate and ocean action.

The film was presented today at a session of the WTO Forum in Geneva organized by the Global Ocean Commission, and will be shown again tomorrow in Paris at a conference organized by the France’s Institute on Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) on SDG14 implementation, and also next week at the Our Ocean conference organized by the Government of Chile in Valparaiso. Produced by the Global Ocean Commission, it will stay available on the Internet as an outreach tool to maintain and increase momentum for SDG14 implementation.

#Globalgoals

This week, the United Nations Summit will endorse the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, including its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Global Ocean Commission welcomes the emphasis on the need to both protect the ocean and shift to sustainable patterns of use and consumption of marine resources, as reflected in the Summit Declaration Transforming our World.

“We envisage […] a world in which consumption and production patterns and use of all natural resources – from air to land, from rivers, lakes and aquifers to oceans and seas – are sustainable”, says the Declaration (Paragraph 9). It recognises the severity of human-induced climate change on the marine and coastal environment (Paragraph 14): “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and its adverse impacts undermine the ability of all countries to achieve sustainable development. Increases in global temperature, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other climate change impacts are seriously affecting coastal areas and low-lying coastal countries, including many least-developed countries and small island developing States. The survival of many societies, and of the biological support systems of the planet, is at risk.” It then states that the signatories: “are therefore determined to conserve and sustainably use oceans and seas.” (Paragraph 33)

To this end, SDG 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, which was identified last year in the Global Ocean Commission report From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean as one of eight proposals necessary to reverse ocean decline, has been unanimously agreed. SDG 14 contains seven targets which are consistent with the proposals of the Global Ocean Commission and which come under several issues: marine pollution (including the impacts from CO2 concentrations) (Targets 14.1 and 14.3); ecosystem protection and resilience (Targets 14.2 and 14.5); fisheries conservation (Targets 14.4 and 14.6); as well as economic opportunities for those most vulnerable (Target 14.7).

To secure proper implementation, the Global Ocean Commission has proposed a set of indicators relevant to the high seas, to monitor and benchmark progress on the implementation of these targets between 2016 and 2030. The Commission also welcomes the proposal by a group of influential countries to hold a series of UN Ocean Conferences every three years to monitor and review how well SDG 14 is implemented.

In a guest article published by the International Institute on Sustainable development (IISD) last week, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Global Ocean Commission, Rémi Parmentier emphasised the important of the ocean for sustainable development: “Without a healthy and resilient ocean, it would be hard to achieve other agreed Sustainable Development Goals, such as food security and improving nutrition (SDG 2), reducing inequality (SDG 10), sustainable consumption and production (SDG 12) and combatting climate change and its impacts (SDG 13).”

Using Images in Your Website!

Website designers do a lot of things to improve customer traffic, boost organic ranks and generate more leads. They use keywords, original content and tags to boost search engine optimization. Indeed, site rankings is a much overlooked subject. There is so much insight on how and why SEO can help you! If you want your website to share a perfect message, you should stick to SEO! The good thing about SEO is that you can achieve it. You can control the look and feel of your website strategically.

How can images help you?

You can control your web pages with high quality images and videos. This is an effective and simple way to improve user experience. Meanwhile, the use of images can enhance your site’s SEO. In this short write up, you will read about how adding images can improve the productivity of your website. The use of images can be assessed with higher organic search and improved leads.

In this modern era, many people use search engines to hunt for images. It is important to use images to reach such users. The bond between organic ranks and images is inevitable. With the right kind of images, you can improve online visibility.

How to choose the right image?

Now that you have understood the benefits of images, you are bound to be determined to add pictures right? Here are few factors you should remember while adding images:

  • The image must be directly related to your website. This sounds simple and straightforward right? You must use visual content to add more value to your website. The images must offer a sense of continuity. For example, if you are selling pets, you should have pictures of dogs and cats.
  • You should include “alt” text descriptions with every image. The title tags are very useful. The tags are designed to help the visually impaired. Even search engines can crawl into alt text descriptions. These descriptions are very useful in boosting your site rankings. However, you must not tag the entire page with keywords or alt descriptions.
  • Including images in your web pages is much better than not having anything. High quality images will definitely add more value to your site.

As mentioned previously, website designs depend on what you include. With images you can improve your leads easily. Websites with images receive 90% more views. Websites with images are much more famous than those with text.