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.