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Forschungs- und Transferzentrum "Nachhaltigkeit und Klimafolgenmanagement"
Forschungs- und Transferzentrum "Nachhaltigkeit und Klimafolgenmanagement"

12th - 14th June 2019: Oceans an Climate Change, Valetta, Malta

Towards a better understanding and handling of the impacts of climate change to oceans, biodiversity and livelihoods

Oceans are a vital component of the biosphere, and the ecosystem services they provide are vital to humankind as a whole, and to the world´s economy in particular. Oceans are also under severe pressure from climate change. According to the most recent Assessment Reports (ARs) produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global ocean temperatures have been rising steadily.  Other worrying factors in play are the changing ocean biochemistry and the ever-rising sea levels. Some of the many impacts of these change include: 

  • a)    changes in levels of salinity
  • b)    impacts on marine species, for instance plankton, corals and fish among others
  • c)   increased pressures on coastlines and possible threats to populations and properties
  • d)   changes in economic activities and life-styles



Bearing in mind the central role oceans play in our planet, it is very important to identify and quantify the impacts of climate change on oceans, and discuss and disseminate ways and mechanisms via which these can be addressed. It is based on the above needs that the Symposium “Oceans and Climate Change: towards a better understanding and handling of the impacts of climate change to oceans, biodiversity and livelihoods” is being organized.

During the event, an update on the production of the “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate” (SROCC), prepared by IPCC and to be finalized in September 2019, is expected to be presented.

The Symposium is being organized  by the Research and Transfer Centre “Sustainable Development and Climate Change Management” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP), in cooperation with the Centre for Environmental Education and Research (CEER) from the University of Malta, and various international organisations concerned with oceans and climate change. 

Apart from the presentation of scientific research and studies, the Symposium will also provide a forum for the discussion on sustainable solutions. The event will also assist in stock-taking efforts and analyse aspects of loss and damage. Ultimately, the Symposium will also serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change to oceans, which may be useful and/or widely implemented. The Symposium will be a truly interdisciplinary event, mobilizing scholars, social movements, practitioners and members of governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects related to oceans, from across the world.

fold faq AIMS

Consistent with the need for more cross-sectoral interactions among the various stakeholders working in the field of climate change and oceans in the widest sense, the aims of the Symposium “Oceans and Climate Change: towards a better understanding and handling of the impacts of climate change to oceans, biodiversity and livelihoods” are as follows:

  • I.   to provide research institutions, universities, NGOs, government agencies and enterprises with an opportunity to  showcase their work in the field of climate change and oceans; 
  • II.  to foster the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of projects, especially successful initiatives and good practice;
  • III.  to discuss methodological approaches and experiences deriving from case studies and projects, which aim to show how causes and impacts of climate change on oceans may be addressed in practice;
  • IV.  to provide networking opportunities for the participants and provide a platform so they can explore possibilities for cooperation.

The event bears close links with the following UNs' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 

  • SDG1 (No poverty)
  • SDG2 (No hunger)
  • SDG 13 (Climate Action)
  • SDG 14 (Life Below Water)

The Symposium is essentially a transdisciplinary and cross-stakeholders event. This means   that it will offer an opportunity for researchers, practitioners, government officials and others working on matters related to climate change and oceans to come together to discuss research methods, the results of empirical research or exchange ideas about on-going and future initiatives which aim at providing a better understanding of how climate issues influence the oceans, biodiversity and livelihoods.

Last but not least, a further aim of the event will be to document and disseminate the wealth of experiences available today. For this purpose, the book  “Oceans and Climate Change: understanding and handling the impacts of climate change to oceans, biodiversity and livelihoods” will be published, with all accepted papers. This will be a further volume of the award-winning book series “Climate Change Management” published by Springer,  which since its creation in 2008 has become the  world´s leading book series on climate change management. Publications part of this high level, peer-reviewed series, officially count as a scientific output for promotion and tenure purposes, and many scientists/academics have over the past 10 years benefitted from it. The decision of the editors as to which papers may be selected and undergo peer review for the book is final.


Delegates attending the  Symposium will come from a cross-sectoral range of areas. These are: 

  • 1. members of NGOs working with climate change and oceans;
  • 2. researchers at universities and research centres;
  • 3. teaching staff at universities;
  • 4. representatives from companies; 
  • 5. representatives from UN and national development and aid agencies working with climate change and oceans and funding/ executing projects on the ground;
  • 6. members of social movements;
  • 7. project officers and consultants, as well as other people interested in the topic.

It is believed that this wide range of participants will help to outline the need for and the usefulness of integrated approaches towards climate change and oceans, and hence contribute to the further consolidation of this thematic area.



  • Professor Walter Leal, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and Manchester Metropolitan University (UK)

Scientific Committee 

  • Prof. Fátima Alves, Centre for Functional Ecology, University of Coimbra and Universidade Aberta, Portugal
  • Prof. Maria Attard, University of Malta, Malta
  • Prof. Ulisses M Azeiteiro, Universidade of Aveiro, Portugal
  • Prof. Simone Borg, University of Malta, Malta
  • Prof. Lino Briguglio, University of Malta, Malta
  • Prof. John Bruno, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  • Prof. Boaventura Chango Cuamba, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
  • Prof. Alan Deidun, International Ocean Institute - Malta Centre, Malta
  • Prof. Martin Edwards, Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, UK
  • Prof. Amadou Gaye, University Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal
  • Mr. Paul Pearce Kelly, Zoological Soiety of London, UK
  • Prof. Silja Klepp, University of Kiel, Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean", Germany
  • Prof. Dan Laffoley, Marine Vice Chair, IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas & Senior Advisor Marine Science and Conservation, IUCN's Global Marine and Polar Programme
  • Prof. Lisa Levin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, USA
  • Dr. Mark Mifsud, CEER, University of Malta
  • Dr. Stefano Moncada, University of Malta, Malta
  • Prof. David Chávez Muñoz, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Peru
  • Prof. Gustavo Nagy, Universidad de la República, Uruguay
  • Prof. Paul Pace, CEER, University of Malta
  • Prof. José A. Milán Pérez, Climate Change Technologies, Nicaragua
  • Prof. Michael Shilin, Russian State Hydrometeorological University, Russia

Scientific Support

  • Dr. Jelena Barbir, International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP)

Cooperating Organisations

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
  • World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)
  • International Ocean Institute (IOI)
  • International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP)

All questions related to scientific inputs and strategic partnerships should be sent to:
Walter Leal (BSc, PhD, DSc, DPhil, DEd, DLitt, FSB, FRGS, FLS) 
HAW Hamburg (Germany) and Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) 
E-mail: iusdrp(@)


All questions related to abstracts, registrations and further details should be sent to:

Dr. Jelena Barbir
International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP)
E-mail:  jelena(@)


The  Symposium will be organised in two main strands:

Strand 1: the posters 
Individual participants and organisations will be able to put-up posters describing their works and projects and to distribute the relevant information to the participants. The posters will allow close, one-to-one contacts between the participants and the exhibitors.

Strand 2: the presentations 
A set of presentations, divided into four main themes will be organised, distributed over parallel sessions dealing with some of the issues of strategic value in the field of climate change and oceans. These are: 

  • Session 1: Chemical-physical impacts of climate change to oceans
  • Session 2: Impacts to biology and biodiversity
  • Session 3: Socio-cultural and political issues
  • Session 4: Information, communication, education, training and stakeholders´ involvement

The plenary and parallel sessions, as well as the social events, will provide participants with an outstanding opportunity to interact, network and learn about the latest ideas, projects and practices from across the world.


The Symposium will be held on 11th-13th June 2019 in Valletta, Malta.  Malta is a country rich in history. Since Neolithic times, for over 8,000 years, Malta has been populated and remains of the earliest inhabitants can still be found on the island. The large structures of Neolithic temples are still standing in the south of the island of Malta (Tarxien Temples, Hagar Qim, Mnajdra), and in Gozo (Ggantija). Details on Malta´s fascinitating history can be seen here:

Malta International airport in Luqa is about 8 km away from Valetta, and is easily reached from most European hubs. 

The schedule is as follows: 

Day 1 – 11th June 2019 

  • 15:00-18:00:  Arrival and registrations
  • Evening: free

Day 2 – 12th June 2019

  • All day:  Exhibition and visit to displays 
  • Morning:  Plenary and Sessions 
  • Afternoon:  Plenary and Sessions
  • Evening:  Reception with informal chats and networking

Day 3 – 13th June 2019

  • All day:  Exhibition and visit to displays 
  • Morning:  Plenary and Sessions 
  • Afternoon:  Plenary and Sessions
  • 16:00- Final Session and hand over of the Best Paper Awards

In order to ensure an efficient use of the time, delegates are kindly asked to organise their travel in a way that allows them to arrive in Malta in the course of 11th June 2019, and travel back on or after 13th June 2019, so they can fully take part in the Symposium.


University of Malta,
Valletta Campus,
Old University Building,
St Paul Street,
Valletta VLT1216, Malta

fold faq DEADLINES
  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15th November 2018
  • Deadline for papers: 30th January 2019
  • Deadline for all reviews: 10th March
  • Deadline for registrations: 30th March 2019

Since the conference book is expected to be launched shortly after the event, the deadlines need to be followed.


A discounted fee of € 300 will be charged to invited delegates who register until 30th January 2019 (early bird registration). After that, delegates will need to pay the full fee of €350. The reduced fee for MSc/PhD students is € 150. The fee includes free lunches and coffee breaks on 12th-13th June 2019 and free electronic access to the book  “Oceans and Climate Change: understanding and handling the impacts of climate change to oceans, biodiversity and livelihoods”, expected to be launched soon after the Symposium.

This is a self-funded event and the organisers are unable to pay any travel or accommodation costs of any kind. Letters of invitation can only be sent to bona fide, registered delegates, who have paid their fees and need a document to show their employers. There are no exceptions.


Registrations are now open and are possible until the 30th March 2019. Regrettably, logistical limitations mean that registrations after the deadline will not be possible. Since the space for displays  and the time for presentations is limited, delegates are advised to register as soon  as possible. The organisers will notify any interested delegate or organisation in case there  are any limitations with time for presentations or space for displays. Registered delegates will then receive further details on the payment of the fees and updated information on the preparations for the event. The decision as to which papers will be accepted for presentation will be taken by the Chairpersons, following consultation with the organising committee. Participants registering to the event will do so under the condition that they will cover their own travel, accommodation and incidental costs (e.g. visa fees) related to their trip to Malta. 

For cancellations up 60 days before the event, a full refund will be provided. For cancellations between 59 days and 30 days, a 50% refund will be provided. For cancellations of 29 days or less no refunds are provided. 

The standard and official procedures for registrations are listed below. In order to avoid misunderstandings and wasting time, delegates are kindly requested to register only if they are seriously considering attending the event. The registration is a binding document, so this procedures needs to be carefully considered. Please do not register if you are unsure you will attend the event, or do not yet have the resources to attend.

Standard procedures: 

  • 1. delegates register at the web site of the event
  • 2. once this is done, delegates will get an invoice (professional rate or student rate)
  • 3. delegates settle the invoice and send a proof of payment as required
  • 4. delegates, who need a formal letter of invitation, send to the organising team a draft text as they need it, and which includes all their personal details, title of the event and of their presentation. No letters will be sent to non-registered delegates.

We can only consider for the book the inputs of registered delegates, also to be fair with all others. 



An abstract should be up to 200 words, it should describe the rationale and aims of the paper, and some of its results. General descriptions of broad contexts should be avoided. The full contact details about the author(s) need to be provided. Abstracts should be written in the third person and not in the first or second one (e.g. I, me, or my paper). Please see below a sample abstract. Authors whose abstracts have been accepted, will receive further details about how to submit their full papers, and further logistical information. Please send your abstract to: Dr. Jelena Barbir, International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) E-mail:  jelena(@)


Oceans and Climate Change: understanding the connections

Walter Leal (BSc, PhD, DSc, DPhil, DEd, DLitt, FSB, FRGS, FLS)
School of Science and the Environment
Manchester Metropolitan University Chester Street
Manchester, M1 5GD United Kingdom
E-mail: info(@)


The scope and complexity of the impacts of climate change to oceans mean that due considerations to communicaton issues as part of climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts as they related to the world's oceans has become a pressing issue.  Among other factors,  the education and communication of the public on matters related to oceans and climate change is made difficult by the width of the topic and the fact that many chemical, physical, biological and socio-economic issues are associated with it.

This paper presents an analysis about the elements that need to be considered when communicating and raising awareness on the impacts of climate change to oceans in a sample of developing countries, and describes the most widespread communication problems, as well as their implications. A special emphasis is given to the problems and barriers caused by misinformation, which – in turn- prevent a full understanding of the impacts of climate change to the marine environment and the many elements it is associated with. Finally, some concrete steps which may be taken in order to break the misconceptions and foster a  more  systematic consideration of climate matters related to oceans, are outlined. Experiences gathered in this paper will be useful to people and organisations interested in education and communication on climate change as it relates to oceans.

Letzte Änderung: 12.10.18

An die Redaktion


Ms. Lucienne M Bugeja
Operations & Events Manager
University of Malta