Dubai, United Arab Emirates – At ongoing global climate talks, the Philippines urges other nations to adopt ridge-to-reef approaches to stem further ecosystem loss, reiterating the need for urgency to save lives and livelihoods. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga highlighted the need to protect and restore the ‘blue carbon ecosystem,’ particularly addressing deep-sea economic activities such as mineral extraction.

Speaking at a forum entitled “No Paris without the Ocean: Partnerships to Activate Ocean-Climate Solutions at Scale,” a COP28 side event held at the Ocean Pavilion, Secretary Loyzaga, Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), stressed the importance of looking beyond national jurisdictions in the high seas to safeguard and preserve the integrity of marine ecosystems. She further raised concern over increasing deep-sea minerals extraction, citing the need for further study and establishment of governing policies and rules.

“We wish to note with concern the lack of knowledge we have of these environments and the consequence of their physical, chemical and biological disruption. There’s an urgent need to address these gaps, establish a body of sound science, and rules-based international order to avert possible impacts of these activities on the achievement of our global climate goals and the equitable relations between nations on the high seas,” said Loyzaga.
The DENR Chief further underlined that the Philippines, center of marine shore fish biodiversity with the highest concentration of species per unit area, has scaled-up ecosystem-based adaptation efforts and nature-based solutions to comprehensively address, manage, and continue to effectively reduce the drivers and threats of degradation of coastal marine ecosystems across 36,000 kilometers of coastline, and over 2.2 million square kilometers of territorial seas.

“With our locally, nationally, and internationally-organized partnerships, we work chiefly with 35 nationally-managed Marine Protected Areas covering their maintenance, protection and monitoring the work of People’s Organizations in establishing biodiversity-friendly activities. Our national government also provides support to other sector especially sub-national or local governments in managing thousands of locally-managed Marine Protected Areas and Indigenous Community-conserved areas.”

The high-level dialogue featured the essential role of the ocean in achieving success of the Paris Agreement, while also showcasing ambitious partnerships that support the conservation and restoration of ocean ecosystems for climate, nature, and people. Secretary Loyzaga stressed the vital importance of multilateralism towards climate and nature action, citing the need to align efforts with the goals articulated in the Paris Agreement and the High Seas Treaty or the Agreement on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).

“We call for all to work together, to forge the adoption of BBNJ, and to align with the Paris Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and the Sustainable Development Goals. We must unite today to protect the ocean that we need for the future we, and generations to come, all want. Very simply, our survival depends on it.”

The world’s oceans host 95% of the planet’s life and can absorb 93% of excess heat and 30% of human-generated carbon dioxide.

COP28, hosted by the Government of United Arab Emirates, is the annual climate change negotiations within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The full program, daily agenda, and list of partners for the COP28 Philippine Pavilion can be viewed at Events will be live-streamed and available on the website and DENR social media pages. ###