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Watch: ‘Catalyzing Party and Community Action on Ocean, Climate and BBNJ’

The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) and the Global Ocean Forum (GOF) co-hosted the webinar “Catalyzing Party and Community Action on Ocean, Climate and BBNJ” on April 18. The webinar focused on addressing the ocean-climate nexus across the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Sustainable Development Agenda, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), and the Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) agreement. It also highlighted the significance of the BBNJ agreement to ocean and climate action, encouraged incorporation of ocean-climate actions in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and fostered collaboration and collective engagement on the road to the U.N. Ocean Conference in 2025.

The discussion was moderated by UCI Director Tony MacDonald and GOF Executive Director Miriam Balgos. Presenters and topics included:

  • Independent international expert and former U.N. Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea Director Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli: “The BBNJ Agreement: The Race to Ratification by 2025 and Implications on Climate Targets”
  • Ocean Conservancy Senior Manager of Climate Policy Whitney Berry: “Tracking Ocean-Based Mitigation and Adaptation in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)”
  • Ocean and Climate Platform Project Officer Cyrielle Lâm: “Mobilizing Civil Society on the Road to UNOC 2025”

The webinar was the first installment of an Ocean and Climate Action webinar series that the UCI and GOF are jointly organizing in alignment with the U.N. Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Vision 2030. The webinars aim to mobilize civil society around critical ocean and climate action identified in the report on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action 2022-2023 (“ROCA” report). The ROCA report reviews progress made on climate and ocean initiatives, making it a useful tool for discussion of strategies for achieving climate goals moving forward.

Speaker Bios

Miriam Balgos, Ph.D.

Miriam Balgos is executive director of the Global Ocean Forum and concurrent project manager-capacity development specialist of a GEF-funded project on Building and Enhancing Sectoral and Cross-Sectoral Capacity to Support Sustainable Resource Use and Biodiversity Conservation in Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. Formerly associate scientist at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, University of Delaware and the program coordinator of the Global Ocean Forum, Balgos led the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy team in the organization and conduct of multi-stakeholder dialogues in integrated ocean and coastal management. Her research focused on integrated ocean and coastal management, marine protected areas, marine areas beyond national jurisdiction, and climate change adaptation. She co-authored and contributed to various publications including “A Comparative Analysis of Ocean Policies in Fifteen Nations and Four Regions” and co-edited the Routledge “Handbook of National and Regional Ocean Policies.” Miriam received a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and master’s in marine biology from the University of the Philippines, and a master’s in business administration and Ph.D. marine studies at the University of Delaware.

Whitney Berry

Whitney Berry

Whitney Berry is a senior manager of climate policy at the Ocean Conservancy. Berry helps research, formulate, and advocate ocean-climate policy at the international, federal, and state levels. Her portfolio includes ocean-based mitigation and adaptation solutions to combat climate change. Previously, she worked for the State of California’s Natural Resources Agency as a cabinet-level climate change policy manager within the office of the Ocean Protection Council. Prior to her position with the California Natural Resources Agency, Berry was a California Sea Grant Fellow for the California Ocean Protection Council. She graduated from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies with a master’s degree in international environmental policy and a concentration in Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. She received her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in Natural Resource Conservation and Environmental Analysis.

Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli

Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli has been working in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea, including on issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, for most of her career. She was director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations from 2013-20 and Secretary of the BBNJ Intergovernmental Conference from 2018-20. Before that, she worked in the division for 23 years, including as deputy director and chief of the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs. Goettsche-Wanli is an alumnus of the National University of Ireland, Galway, and of Columbia University, New York.

Cyrielle Lâm

Cyrielle Lâm

Cyrielle Lâm works as an international mobilization and communication project officer. She also assists the head of mobilization and communication regularly. Lâm holds a master’s degree in international relations with a specialization in international programme management from the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3. Since her studies ended, she has been working for non-governmental organizations in environmental protection.

Tony MacDonald

Tony MacDonald

Tony MacDonald is director of the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI). He was previously the executive director of the Coastal States Organization (CSO) from 1998-2005. CSO, based in Washington, DC, represents the interests of the governors of the nation’s 35 coastal states and territories on coastal and ocean policy matters. Prior to joining CSO, Tony was the special counsel and director of environmental affairs at the American Association of Port Authorities, where he represented the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) at the International Maritime Organization on negotiations on the London Convention. Tony also practiced law with a private firm in Washington, DC, and served as the environmental legislative representative for the Mayor of the City of New York.