IASS, UNGA President Provide Input on Ocean Conference
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations and TMG–Think Tank for Sustainability published a joint policy brief setting out three concrete steps towards an implementation framework for SDG 14 and other ocean-related SDGs.

UNGA President Peter Thomson, in an article for the WEF annual forum, argues for basing the Ocean Conference on the best scientific information available.

15 February 2017: In February 2017, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and TMG–Think Tank for Sustainability published a joint policy brief titled ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for the Oceans.’ The brief aims to inform discussions at the preparatory meeting for the UN Ocean Conference, which is taking place in New York, US, from 15-16 February.

The brief sets out three concrete steps towards an implementation framework for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (life below water) and other ocean-related SDGs. The recommended steps are to: develop a registry of ocean commitments; establish regional partnerships for sustainable oceans; and prepare a global thematic review for the oceans.

On the first day of the preparatory meeting for the Ocean Conference, government and stakeholder participants exchanged views on the proposed themes for seven partnership dialogues that will take place during the Conference in June 2017. They also began a discussion of potential elements for the call for action, which will be the political outcome of the Conference.

In an article for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Forum 2017 published on 19 January, UNGA President Peter Thomson outlines the evolution of Goal 14 and the purpose of the Ocean Conference. He writes that key to its authority is a “firm foundation in the best scientific information available,” and that the UN system has been hard at work preparing these foundations. Thomson also notes his hope that the Conference will yield “a broad portfolio of partnerships, commitments and measures to be put into action.”

An article on the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Business Network platform published on 26 January anticipates that the private sector will be “important contributors to the partnerships and innovations needed to collectively advance action for achieving SDG 14.” It highlights in particular the need for voices of the private sector from SIDS, describing such businesses as active on the ground in advancing national-level goals related to the ocean and sustainable development. The sector is also active in regional-level, multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Micronesia Challenge, Caribbean Challenge, and 2030 Pacific Ocean Partnership. The authors note that the private sector in SIDS will be among those to feel the impacts of pressures on the ocean, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU) and climate change. While global problems call for global solutions, the article concludes, for island nations they also call for local solutions, and local private sector actors can be part of the solution.

The SIDS Global Business Network (SIDS-GBN) is an online resource hub for supporting private sector partnerships for SIDS. It was an outcome of the 2015 Private Sector Partnerships Forum, held before the UN Third International Conference on SIDS (Samoa Conference). [IASS-IDDRI-TMG Policy Brief] [WEF Article] [SIDS-GBN Article]


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