Virtual high-level meeting of UN-Oceans, the United Nations inter-agency mechanism for cooperation and coordination on ocean and coastal issues, held on 10 December 2020: "Taking stock of ongoing ocean-related initiatives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: toward enhanced inter-agency coordination and cooperation on ocean and coastal issues beyond 2020".
The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges, including to the work of 29 UN-Oceans' member organizations.
With offices fully or partially closed, travel restricted, and in-person meetings cancelled or postponed, the organizations have had to find innovative ways to implement their mandates.
In this virtual meeting, UN-Oceans members took stock of ongoing ocean-related initiatives, including in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and looked ahead toward opportunities for enhanced inter-agency coordination and cooperation on ocean and coastal issues beyond 2020.
The meeting consisted of three panels.
The first panel focused on enhancing cooperation and coherence to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, by considering how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected efforts to achieve SDG14 and how cooperation and coherence can be enhanced to adjust to these new circumstances.
The second panel looked at promoting inter-agency coordination on ocean science and innovation, by asking how inter-agency cooperation and coordination can help to promote ocean science, the sharing and dissemination of data and information and the development of innovative tools in response to current challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The third panel addressed assisting States on ocean and coastal issues to leave no one behind, considering concrete actions that can be taken to assist States on ocean and coastal issues in light of existing and novel challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
· Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, UN-Oceans focal point
· Mr. Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean
Panel 1: Enhancing cooperation and coherence to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
· H.E. Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization
· Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations
· Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
· Mr. Manuel Barange, Director, Fisheries Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
· Ms. Leticia Carvalho, Chief, Marine and Freshwater Branch, United Nations Environment Programme
Panel 2: Promoting inter-agency coordination on ocean science and innovation
· H.E. Mr. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization
· Mr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
· Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
· Mr. Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
· Ms. Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
· Ms. Florence Descroix-Comanducci, Director, IAEA Environmental Laboratories, Department of Nuclear Science and Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency
Panel 3: Assisting States on ocean and coastal issues to leave no one behind
· H.E. Mr. Michael Lodge, Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority
· Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa 'Utoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, United Nations
· Ms. Grete Faremo, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services
· Ms. Isabelle Durant, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
· Ms. Corinne Vargha, Director, International Labour Standards Department, International Labour Organization
· Mr. Andrew Hudson, Head, Water and Ocean Governance Programme, United Nations Development Programme
· Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel