Taking Ocean-Climate Action

Our ocean holds several solutions to address the twin crises of biodiversity and climate change. To unlock this potential, a ‘climate-smart’ approach to the ocean is increasingly vital. The UN Global Compact has developed key recommendations for businesses and governments to leverage ocean-based climate solutions, particularly in four action areas; zero-emission maritime transport, low-carbon blue food, harnessing offshore renewable energy and nature-based solutions (focusing on seaweed).

The Blueprint for a Climate-Smart Ocean to Meet 1.5°C puts forward six key steps to unlock a climate-smart ocean to meet the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature goal. Overarching enablers across all ocean-based solutions are also outlined in the blueprint, including the need to ensure a ‘just transition’ for all as a fundamental precondition for a successful transformation to a zero-carbon ocean economy

In addition to this holistic overview, specific briefs have also been developed; Charting a 1.5°C Trajectory for Maritime Transport, the Seaweed as a Nature-Based Climate Solution Vision Statement and the Roadmap To Integrate Clean Offshore Renewable Energy Into Climate-Smart Marine Spatial Planning.

Oceans Profiles

The world’s oceans play a critical and unique role in addressing the twin crises of biodiversity and climate change that threaten our very existence. Research shows ocean mitigation solutions could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions gap by as much as one-fifth as we seek a path to limiting global temperatures to a 1.5° C increase by 2050.  

But the oceans are in urgent need of protection and restoration. Covering some 70% of the earth’s surface, oceans are threatened by rising temperatures, acidification, extraction and depletion of resources and pollution in many forms.

Businesses around the world share the responsibility to protect and support ocean quality and health. The Ocean Stewardship Coalition celebrates leaders and members of the private sector who are taking up this challenge. Here are some of their profiles.

Sustainable Ocean Principles

A standard for healthy and productive ocean

As described in Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water, there is an urgent need to protect and restore the health of the ocean, which is rapidly deteriorating due to increasing temperatures, acidification, depletion of natural resources and pollution from land and sea. Businesses have a shared responsibility, alongside Government and civil society, to take necessary actions to secure a healthy ocean.

These Sustainable Ocean Principles, produced in consultation with over 300 stakeholders, provide a framework for responsible business practices across sectors and geographies. They build upon and supplement the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

What does it entail to sign the Sustainable Ocean Principles?
Signatories of the Principles

UN Ocean Conference

The 2022 UN Ocean Conference will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 27 June to 1 July 2022. The UN Global Compact is planning several events during the Conference to bring the strong voice of the business community to the proceedings, including co-hosting the Youth and Innovation Forum with the Governments of Portugal and Kenya, during which participants will innovate solutions for the Innovathon hackathon around our 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean and a high-level meeting on Mobilizing the Private Sector: Delivering Ocean Solutions for the SDGs.

In the lead up to the Conference, the UN Global Compact is calling on companies to sign on to the Sustainable Ocean Principles. Signatories will be highlighted at the Conference to demonstrate strong private sector commitment to a healthy, productive ocean. Companies that sign on before 27 May will be included in the announcement. Signing on to the principles can also be registered as a voluntary commitment through the online searchable database developed by UN DESA to collect and shine the spotlight on such commitments. 

Registration for specially accredited organizations to register up to three representatives is now open until 16 May. More information can be found here. Specially accredited organizations are also invited to apply for side events in connection with the 2022 UN Ocean Conference. All interested parties are strongly encouraged to partner with others to organize a side event. For additional information, please check here.  

If you have any queries related to the information above, please contact unocean@unglobalcompact.org.

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Ms. Martha Selwyn

Ms. Mary-Kate Currey

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