14 countries, representing 40 per cent of the world’s coastlines have committed to sustainably manage their ocean areas and boost their economies.
They are part of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, the leading ocean policy body made up of serving world leaders.
A diverse mix of nations have come together. Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica Namibia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Palau, Norway and Portugal have all agreed to take part in the cause.
"It did start as a Norwegian initiative," says Norwegian Special Envoy for the Ocean, Vidar Helgesen.
"We saw a sort of dichotomy where you have the economic camp on one hand and the protection camp on the other side. Our sense was that we need to bring these together because we need the ocean for production, but we also need to protect it better."
Currently, the biggest threats facing our seas are pollution, oil spills, overfishing, and losing important ecosystems due to global warming. Studies commissioned by The Ocean Panel have found potential economic benefits to its protection too, a healthy ocean can provide new jobs, food, and can be a source of medicine and oxygen.
The commissioned research says that six times more seafood and forty times more energy will be the reward for sustainable investments by 2050.
The action plan involves:
- Cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled, sustainable conditions
- Coastal and marine ecosystem restoration
- Managing fisheries sustainably
- Wastewater management
- Offshore renewable energy
- Investment in sustainable marine transport
Further countries are expected to join the Ocean Panel and their list of commitments by 2030.
"We see a lot of positive interest both from the public sector and from business in the US, but we see also very strong interest from governments like India and China on holistic sustainable management," concludes Helgesen.