Heads of State and Government Form Panel to Support Sustainable Ocean Economy
Photo by: Lauren Anderson
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Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, and President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, are co-chairing a High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

The panel will commission research on evidence-based solutions to challenges facing the world’s oceans, culminating in an action-oriented report to be published in 2020.

24 September 2018: Heads of State and Government have formed a High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy to catalyze bold, pragmatic solutions for the ocean. The panel will develop, catalyze and support solutions to ocean “health and wealth” in governance, policy, technology and finance, in line with SDG 14 (life below water).

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), which serves as the Panel’s Secretariat, the value of goods and services from the ocean amounts to approximately US$2.5 trillion each year, a figure that is expected to double by 2030. More than three billion people depend on the ocean for their primary source of protein, and the ocean supports a range of industries, including fishing, shipping, tourism, transportation and energy generation. However, climate impacts, including rising sea temperatures and coral bleaching, overfishing and marine pollution are threatening the health of the world’s oceans and the people and industries that depend on them.

Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, and President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, serve as the Panel’s co-chairs. Leaders from Australia, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Namibia and Portugal and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, are members of the panel. Solberg stressed that the Panel has “the authority and determination needed to trigger and accelerate action for ocean protection and production.” She called for developing common solutions to implement an integrated ocean management regime.

Failure to take urgent action on climate change, habitat loss, overfishing and marine pollution will lead to failure to realize the SDG vision of a peaceful, prosperous, sustainable future.

The Panel will focus on three goals. First, it will promote a shared understanding of the relationship between the ocean and the economy. Second, the panel will pursue recognition of the balance between conservation and use of the ocean, including the mutually supportive nature of ocean protection and economic production. Third, the panel will highlight innovations in governance, markets, incentives and policy to align economic development with protection of the ocean’s natural capital. The Panel’s work is underscored by knowledge that failure to take urgent action on climate change, habitat loss, overfishing and marine pollution “will lead to failure to realize the SDG vision of a peaceful, prosperous, sustainable future.”

The Panel will commission research to demonstrate the critical role of a transition to a sustainable ocean economy in achieving the SDGs, including SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). This research will include a series of blue papers on sustainable fisheries, marine protected areas (MPAs), ocean-based energy solutions and tourism and ocean finance. This series will inform an action-oriented report to be published in 2020.

An advisory network composed of leaders from international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations and ocean-based industries will provide insight and advice to the Panel and “champion” key findings and recommendations. An expert group made up of policy analysts and researchers from around the world will provide and review relevant research and scientific input, propose practical solutions to questions raised by the Panel and contribute to and review the Panel’s final report. [Panel Website] [WRI Press Release]

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