Governments and civil society stakeholders have been prompted to advocate for a better reflection of the ocean and climate nexus into the international climate regime. Consequently, numerous initiatives have been launched to ensure that marine issues are integrated into the Climate Convention workstreams and associated initiatives. This Note identifies and evaluates the main advancements in this area and highlights potential avenues for further action.

IDDRI acknowledges the Oceano Azul Foundation for the initiative to develop this Note, and its associated Issue Brief, and for its financial support. These documents are of the full responsibility of the co-authors above identified and their organizations. Their content will be discussed in dedicated meetings and workshops over the coming months, and a final version will be published by the end of 2024.

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Initiated at COP21 in 2015, the “agenda-setting” process, aimed at integrating the ocean into the UNFCCC regime, was finalized in 2021 with the Glasgow Pact. This milestone has paved the way for the ocean to rightfully contribute to climate efforts, particularly evident in NDCs. However, as the next round of NDCs is expected to be communicated by end 2025, it will be essential to evaluate their ambition against climate objectives, rather than simply assessing the inclusion of ocean-related elements: while integrating marine issues is crucial, an NDC lacking ambitious emission reduction targets and measures remains ineffective.

Avenues have also been opened within the Climate Convention framework, and progress is possible in several agenda items, from adaptation to research and financing. On this latter topic, caution must be exercised when calling for the integration of blue carbon into market instruments. Recent scientific work has highlighted several issues affecting the reliability of carbon accounting for coastal ecosystems. Moreover, a solely climate-focused approach aimed at maximizing the mitigation capabilities of marine ecosystems runs the risk of omitting crucial safeguards necessary for protecting their biological diversity. It is also in the light of this requirement to preserve the marine environment that the current and future projects on marine carbon capture, removal and storage will have to be assessed.

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