Past Event

Oceans and marine ecosystems: challenges, drivers and solutions

7 July 2021 9:00–10:15


Healthy oceans, marine and coastal ecosystems provide a number of ecosystem services including climate change mitigation and play a key role in livelihoods and economic activities. Biodiversity loss, degradation and climate change are key threats for these ecosystems. Sustainable use of marine and coastal ecosystems is a key priority for the Convention on Biological Diversity’s post 2020 Biodiversity Framework. Conservation, protection and restoration interventions can deliver benefits for people, Nature and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This session is one of three thematic deep dives on the K4D Learning Journey on International Nature that consider how drivers of ecosystem degradation (e.g. population growth, lifestyle changes etc.), human activity (as both a cause and response to ecosystem degradation), and climate change interact, before examining Nature interventions as solutions. Political economy aspects will be central to whether or not Nature interventions are adopted and implemented effectively: each deep dive will be related to the wider context. Linkages between the three sectors will also be highlighted. The session will also consider trade-offs, governance and equity.

The Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development Programme (K4D) supports the use of learning and evidence to improve the impact of development policy and programmes. It is funded by UK aid and is designed to assist the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and other UK government departments and partners to be innovative and responsive to rapidly changing and complex development challenges.

Towards a shared blue prosperity under changing climate – Dr Essam Yassin Mohammed

In this video, Dr Essam Yassin Mohammed, Global Lead in Climate and Sustainability at WorldFish, outlines some of the work that can and needs to be done globally to move towards more sustainable use of our oceans.

Blue Forests Initiative: community-led mangrove management and restoration – Stephanie Bale

In this video, Steph Bale, Programme Manager & Policy Advisor for International Forests & Landscapes at DEFRA, explains what mangroves are and why they are important for community led management and restoration, and outlines the work that the Blue Forests Initiative is doing to aid the recovery of these habitats

Learning objectives

Attendees should, following the session:

  • Have greater awareness of the importance of ocean and marine and coastal ecosystems for people, climate and biodiversity, and the drivers of human impact.
  • Understand the impacts that climate change is having and will have on the ocean, and the importance of tackling greenhouse gas emissions in order to restore marine life and improve the resilience of the ocean
  • Discern the importance of the ocean for humankind and our reliance on the ocean economy for our livelihoods
  • Realise the role that the ocean can play in climate change mitigation, and adaptation and resilience to climate change
  • Have a deeper understanding of some of the solutions and implementation challenges and recognise potential entry points for HMG.
  • Be able to outline the case for nature interventions for coastal and marine ecosystems, including NbS to climate change such as MPAs.
  • Recognise the importance of global collaboration in order to catalyse change and tackle the key challenges we face including; governance, finance, technology, capacity challenges and science gaps.

Essential study materials

Specific sources listed here are required reading before this session:

  1. IIED:  These short videos are great resources to quickly get on board with three oceans issues:
    1. No hidden catch: why small-scale fisheries matter;
    2. Fiscal policy tools: creating a sustainable future for ocean and people;
    3. Governing the high seas: half of the planet that belongs to us all
  2. Campaign for Nature. Protecting the global ocean for biodiversity, food and climate.
    1. Press release:
    2. Full study:
  3. UNESCO. Facts and figures on marine biodiversity.
  4. Reimer, J. (2021). How marine protected areas help safeguard the ocean. The Conversation.


  1. Tittensor, D.P. et al. (2019). Integrating climate adaptation and biodiversity conservation in the global ocean. Science Advances, 5.11, DOI: 10.1126/scia
  2. Jeffrey Chow (2018) Mangrove management for climate change adaptation and sustainable development in coastal zones, Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 37:2, 139-156, DOI: 10.1080/10549811.2017.1339615 (not open access).
  3. Diaz, S. et al. (2015). The IPBES Conceptual Framework- connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol 14, pp. 1-16, Box 2, page 8
  4. Eriksson, H. et al. (2017).  The role of fish and fisheries in recovering from natural hazards: Lessons learned from Vanuatu. Environmental Science & Policy, 76, pp. 50-58, (not open access).
  5. Oceans 21, a series of five ocean profiles including the Pacific and how they are being impacted by climate change and other stressors:
  6. Virdin, J., Osterblom, H. & Jouffray, J-B. (2021). Blue economy: how a handful of companies reap most of the benefits in multi-billion ocean industries. The Conversation,
  7. Roberts, C. M. et al. (2017). Marine reserves can mitigate and promote adaptation to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114 (24) 6167-6175; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1701262114

Key contacts

Louise Oakley

Research and Learning Programme Manager

Paul Knipe

Director of Consultancy, Impact and Influence, Itad


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