Marine Forum Highlights Role of Regions in Ocean Governance
UN Photo/Martine Perret
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The event focused on the theme, ‘Achieving a healthy ocean - Regional ocean governance beyond 2020’.

Participants discussed, inter alia, implementing regional marine litter action plans, enhancing regional cooperation for ocean-related SDGs, and strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance.

2 October 2019: The Marine Regions Forum convened under the theme, ‘Achieving a healthy ocean – Regional ocean governance beyond 2020.’ The Forum provided a venue where decision makers, scientists, and civil society could informally exchange views on ocean governance supportive of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially SDG 14 on life below water. The event’s key messages will be shared with relevant global and regional processes, including the 2020 UN Ocean Conference set to take place from 2-6 June 2020, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Participants at the Forum highlighted the role of regions in filling the gap between global agreements and local action, and in supporting national voices calling for conservation. On achieving SDG 14, Forum sessions considered the implementation of regional marine litter action plans, regional cooperation for ocean-related SDGs, ecosystem-based management, and tourism in marine regions. 

With regard to knowledge for ocean action, a session focused on building regional science-policy interfaces, with participants discussing good practices, lessons learned and ways forward. A session also considered inclusive ocean governance that ‘weaves science with traditional ecological knowledge.’ Sessions also focused on the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, as well as enhancing the role of regions in global ocean assessments, and using the arts to mobilize youth for ocean conservation. 

On underpinning global processes, a Forum session addressed areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) and collaborative approaches in ocean governance. Sessions discussed the role of regional ocean governance in deep-seabed mining in the ABNJ; strengthening the monitoring, control, and surveillance of the high seas; and coherent and connected marine protected area (MPA) networks, noting both challenges and possible solutions in high seas governance. Sessions also focused on ‘our ocean in crisis’ and discussed key findings from the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); preparing marine regions for fisheries on the move; tackling climate problems with ocean solutions; and mobilizing regional stakeholders for the ‘Blue COP’.

The Marine Regional Forum convened from 30 September – 2 October 2019, in Berlin, Germany, and gathered approximately 200 participants. The Forum was organized as a contribution to the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance, which is a collaborative initiative between the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), TMG – Think Tank for Sustainability, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). It stemmed from commitments made by Germany and the EU at the UN Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017, New York, US) and the Our Ocean Conference (5-6 October 2017, Malta) respectively, announcing their support in establishing a multi-stakeholder platform for regional ocean governance. [IISD coverage of Marine Regions Forum]

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