World Ocean Day in Australia, from the Pacific to Antarctica #ST57
On the 8th of June 2021, the Embassies of France, Germany and Italy, the UK High Commission, the University of South Pacific and the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions gathered to celebrate the oceans through the perspective of international collaboration, at the scientific and political level.
Prof Andy Hogg, Anja Karliczek (Allemagne), Dr Jennie Mallela, Prof Elisabeth Holland, Orazio Guanciale (Italie), Prof David Antoine, Olivier Poivre d’Arvor (France) et Rachel Holmes (UK).
Moderated by Prof Andy Hogg from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences, the evening was an opportunity for the general public to learn more about the challenges related to the health of our oceans and marine resources from three experts on oceans and the Pacific, and to discuss what is being done to protect them.
Dr Jennie Mallela, from the ANU Coral Reefs and Climate Change Research School of Biology highlighted the need for coral protection, regarding the social, economic and environmental outcomes of reefs on a global scale. Her studies focus on bleaching events, which are becoming more and more frequent with the global sea surface temperature rising, and on coral recovery. As climate change attenuation means calling for strong carbon reduction actions, she pointed out that nature-based solutions are a growing asset. For example, mangroves and coastal wetlands store more carbon, and faster, than tropical forests. Called the Blue Carbon Capture, implementing this solution would first need to halt the loss of wetlands.
Another threat of climate change related to oceans was discussed by Prof Elisabeth Holland, Director of the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of the South Pacific. The fate of Pacific Islands is bound to the rise of sea levels, and is already facing tremendous pressure from tropical cyclones. The certainty of these forecasts creates a need for adaptation, resilience and solidarity between pacific communities and the rest of the world.
However, a better understanding of climatic phenomena is still needed to best respond to these threats. For example, the Southern Ocean is a key area for heat and carbon storage, providing huge marine resources and hosting an exceptional ecosystem. But it is also remote, and the rough conditions make the Southern Ocean very under-sampled compared to other oceans. Prof David Antoine, Head of the Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group at Curtin University, presented the Polar POD project on behalf of its inventor and lead Jean-Louis Etienne. This science platform will execute a 3-year circumnavigation course to explore the biodiversity and oceanography of the Southern Ocean through three science programs (1. Air-sea exchanges of heat, momentum and matter, 2. Observing the Southern Ocean from space and 3. Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, with an emphasis on acoustic measurements). You can find more information on this project, as well as on the next Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM) that will be held in France from June 14 to 24, in #ST48, On the way to Antarctica.
Reflecting on the international agenda and outlining the actions undertaken to protect the oceans, several short statements from various countries punctuated the evening:
• A review of the official Launch of UN Ocean Decade with Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research (Germany)
• Short statement from Orazio Guanciale, Special Envoy for Pacific Islands and coordinator for Antarctica (Italy)
• A covering of the COP26, the Global Oceans Alliance, the 30by30 pledge, and the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, delivered by Rachel Holmes, Head of the Political and Public Diplomacy Team (British High Commission)
• A focus on Antarctica from Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, Ambassador for the Oceans and the Poles (France)
To watch the full presentation and catch up on the audience questions to the speakers, click on the video link below
“How do we get everyone on the same page for change […]?
Fight for what you want, […] tell people what you want”
Question from an attendee, answer from Dr Jennie Mallela