Ocean acidification: a threat to marine ecosystems and economies in the Commonwealth and beyond
13 November 2023
Date: Tuesday November 14th 2023
Time: 3:00 - 5:30pm GMT, online
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The continued growth of CO2 emissions poses a grave threat to marine species, food chains and economies in the form of ocean acidification. The past 20–30 years have seen a rapid increase in this phenomenon and, unless decisive actions are taken to stem emissions, it will continue to rise. This will have detrimental impacts on the chemistry of the oceans, threatening the well-being of the marine ecosystems, coastal industries and the human communities that depend on them. Commonwealth countries are highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of ocean acidification. Of the 56 Commonwealth members, 49 have marine coastlines, and 25 are small island developing states (SIDS).
Commonwealth countries are highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of ocean acidification.
Of the 56 Commonwealth members, 49 have marine coastlines, and 25 are small island
developing states (SIDS). Around the United Kingdom, the effects have already started to
show in the North Atlantic Ocean and seas of the North-west European shelf, putting many
marine species and the fishery industry at high risk. Recognising the gravity of the threat, the
Commonwealth Blue Charter established an Ocean Acidification Action Group, under the
leadership of New Zealand, to address its impacts and share knowledge about how to
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 calls for conserving and sustainably using the
oceans, seas and marine resources. One of its key targets is to address and minimise the
impacts of ocean acidification through co-operation at all levels. The Blue Charter’s Ocean
Acidification Action Group has taken actions in support of this, including the publication of a
policy handbook to assist Commonwealth governments. But there is much more to do.
The event, organised by Back to Blue, an ocean health initiative of Economist Impact and
The Nippon Foundation, will bring together senior government representatives,
policymakers, scientists and other ocean experts from within and outside the Commonwealth
to discuss this growing crisis. The discussion will explore the threat ocean acidification poses
to marine ecosystems and the potential consequences for economies, communities, and
individuals, and showcase best practices that can be adopted to mitigate its impact.
There are three objectives for the event:
Highlight the threat to marine and coastal ecosystems, blue food systems and sustainable blue economies
- Showcase emerging policy responses, mitigation, and adaptation strategies, with a focus on country action plans
- Grow partnerships that are tackling the crisis and explain how countries can become further engaged.