Nations recognize ocean conservation as a measure to combat climate changeIn a surprising decision at last week’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), ocean conservation was supported as a measure to combat climate change.Endorsed by 41 of 71 nations, two resolutions at the IWC meeting in Florianópolis, Brazil, highlighted the potential role whales play in retaining carbon in the ocean and helping to reduce the effects of climate change. This endorsement was surprising and welcomed by civil society, because it has broad potential implications for the management of marine resources, and could be a significant opportunity to combine ocean conservation with climate action. The resolutions and relevant passages follow:Resolution on Advancing the Commission’s Work on the Role of Cetaceans in the Ecosystem Functioning – This resolution commends the IWC’s “Scientific and Conservation Committee for their efforts to increase understanding of the contribution of cetaceans to ecosystem functioning.” This is a reference to a resolution endorsed by 36 nations and passed at the 66th meeting of the IWC in 2016, which asked the IWC’s Scientific Committee to research how whale conservation may help mitigate climate change. The current resolution also encourages the IWC to seek synergies and collaborations on this issue. It further encourages member states “to integrate the value of cetaceans’ ecological roles into local, regional, and global organisations on biodiversity and environment, including climate change.”The Florianópolis Declaration – This resolution focused on the role of the IWC in the conservation and management of whales in the 21st century. Relevant to whales and climate change, the resolution recognizes that the role of the IWC has evolved to include “the maintenance of healthy cetacean populations to fulfil the vital ecological and carbon cycling roles these animals play in the global marine ecosystem functioning.”