Goumbook Launches the MENA Oceans Network in partnership with United Nations UAE at COP28

You are currently viewing Goumbook Launches the MENA Oceans Network in partnership with United Nations UAE at COP28

On Day 1 of COP28, Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Founder and MD of Goumbook, announced the launch of the MENA Oceans Network at the Ocean Pavilion in the Blue Zone, in partnership with United Nations UAE.

The oceans cover 71% of the surface of our planet. It has long taken the brunt of the impact of climate change, absorbing about 90% of the heat generated by rising greenhouse gas emissions trapped in the Earth’s system and 25% of carbon emissions, causing devastating impacts on ocean health and increasing life and livelihood risks for coastal communities. 

“The MENA region in particular is home to several important marine ecosystems, from the Mediterranean Sea, to the Red Sea, the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. These water bodies are home to a diverse range of marine life including coral reefs, sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins and whales, as well as rich ecosystems such as mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrass beds. The region at the same time, is an important commercial and maritime hub, home to several shipping lanes, which are critical for global trade. As such, the MENA regions can and must play a crucial role in marine protection through data sharing, policy regulation, promotion of sustainable blue economy frameworks that promote better fishing practices, reduce pollution, and proactively protect marine habitats. In this context, protecting the ocean and coastal ecosystems with a regional approach is crucial. 

The Network is a key pillar under the MENA Oceans Initiative, which has been established as a regional platform to identify crucial systemic gaps and mobilise diverse stakeholder groups, to accelerate the pace of ocean action by focussing on data transparency, innovation and engagement. 

The main objective is to break stakeholder groups out of their silos – so we can look at the ecosystem as a whole – and not fragmented by borders. Specifically, the Network is positioned to address the following crucial needs:

  • Year round engagement and cross-communication between different stakeholder groups to amplify research and initiatives 
  • Access to data on key indicators to facilitate better visibility of baselines on habitats and species, avoiding duplication of research efforts
  • Connecting global and regional experts with financial and non-financial resources to efforts on the ground

Conversations at the event were driven  by Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji, the UN Special Envoy for the Oceans who delivered the keynote address highlighting that multilateralism works and is delivering, especially when it comes to the environment. “The Gulf is at the heart of climate change and must be at the forefront of the transition – and this will not happen without full engagement on our oceans” he said.

Further discussions featured Ahmed Al Hashmi, Executive Director of Environment Agency Abu Dhabi; Ignace Beguin Billecocq, Ocean and Coastal Zones Lead at the UN High Level Climate Champions Team; Dr. Raidan AlSaqqaf, Economist and Technical Lead for COP28, UN-UAE Resident Office; Dr. Reem Al Mealla, Founder of NUWAT-Bahrain.

Dr Raidan Al Saqqaf, mentioned “The MENA Oceans network is a new manifestation of a powerful team dedicated to safeguarding our oceans and water bodies across the region.”

The event issued  an open call to action to collaborate, unify diverse regional stakeholders and accelerate the pace of ocean action. 

To join the network as members or to receive additional information, please email ask@goumbook.com