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Key Issues and Resources for COP 15: The Convention of the Parties on Biological Diversity

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The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15), to be held in Montreal (December 7-19, 2022) is highly relevant to marine shipping and the work underway to reduce the impact of ship traffic on ocean and coastal ecosystems.

What is COP 15?

COP 15 is an international meeting of 196 governments to develop an action plan for nature with the aim of halting biodiversity loss around the world. As more than 70% of the earth’s surface is ocean, reducing the impacts of marine shipping is a critical component of protecting marine and coastal biodiversity. The theme for the 2022 conference is Ecological Civilization – Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.

What is the difference between COP 15 and COP 27?

COP 15 (biodiversity COP) is different from the climate COPs. The 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) held in November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, addressed the issue of climate change and focused on limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

What does COP 15 aim to achieve?

The United Nations Environment Program, the organizer of the event, is seeking to guide global action through 2030 to halt and reverse nature loss. The body set the following goals for the conference:

  • Adopting an equitable and comprehensive framework matched by the resources needed for implementation
  • Establishing clear targets to address overexploitation, pollution, fragmentation, and unsustainable agricultural practices
  • Developing a plan that safeguards the rights of Indigenous Peoples and recognizes their contributions as stewards of nature
  • Aligning financial flows with nature to drive finances toward sustainable investments and away from environmentally harmful ones

“So let us ensure that this COP will be remembered as the moment we finally set our societies and economies on the path to rebuilding the biodiversity upon which we all rely,” says Inger Andersen, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.

Learn more: Resources on biodiversity

To support delegates and others interested in understanding of the key issues under the theme of marine and coastal biodiversity, Clear Seas has developed a number of resources that provide a grounding for informed discussion and better decisions in the following topic areas:

Protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures

Blog article | Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales (2022)
Blog article | Southern Resident Killer Whales: Helping to Save an Endangered Species (2022)

Marine and coastal environment

Research | Assessing Pollutants in Scrubber Discharge Water from Ships (2022)
Blog article | Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (Scrubbers) on Ships: Clearing the Air on the Controversy (2022)
Blog article | Research Spotlight: Marine Acoustic Research Station Measuring Ship Noise in the St. Lawrence River (MARS Project) (2021)
Key Issue web page | Underwater Noise and Marine Shipping (2017)

Aquatic invasive species

Blog article | Ballast Water Management: Stopping the Spread of Invasive Species by Ships (2021)
Key Issue web page | Invasive Species and Marine Shipping (2018)

Climate change

Research | Investigating LNG as a Marine Fuel for Canada’s Arctic (2022)
Blog article | LNG as a Marine Fuel in the Arctic: Panacea or Poison? (2022)
Research | Marine Fuels for Reducing GHG Emissions from Shipping (2022)
Blog article | Decarbonizing Marine Shipping: Clean Fuels for a Greener Future? (2022)
Blog article | Black Carbon in the Arctic: What you Need to Know (2021)
Blog article | Back to the Future: Wind Power and the Decarbonization of Shipping (2020)
Key Issue web page | LNG and Marine Shipping (2019)


Key Issue web page | Managing Waste from Commercial Ships (2021)
Mapping tool | Assessing Sensitivity of Coastal Areas to Oil Spills (2020)
Key Issue web page | Air Pollution and Marine Shipping (2018)

Nature and culture

Blog article | Is Marine Spatial Planning the Key to Safer and Healthier Oceans? (2022)
Blog article | Environmental Certifications: Towards a More Responsible Marine Shipping Industry (2020)

Reconciliation and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples

Research | Supporting Inuit Rights and Marine Use (2022)
Blog article | In Their Own Words: Reflections on Clear Seas’ Indigenous Internship Program (2022)
Blog article | Haida Gwaii Oil Spill Prevention Measures Renewed for Ships (2021)
Blog article | Recognition Comes at a Painful Time in the History of Indigenous People and Shines a Light on the Need for Reconciliation (2021)
Blog article | Reconciliation in Canada’s Marine Shipping Industry (II) (2021)
Blog article | Righting a Wrong: Reconciliation and Canada’s Marine Shipping Industry (2020)

Clear Seas commends COP 15 delegates in their work to prepare a global roadmap for the conservation, protection, restoration and sustainable management of marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystems for the next decade.

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