As we enter the Decade of Action to deliver the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world faces an unprecedented test with the COVID-19 pandemic. Acceleration of ocean-based solutions can play a key role in recovering better and delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Ocean Stewardship 2030report provides a roadmap for how ocean-related industries and policymakers can jointly secure a healthy and productive ocean by 2030. It builds upon the 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean. For each tipping point, the ongoing governance and frameworks are outlined, recommendations are put forward, and two critical ambitions are suggested.
As highlighted in the report, the ocean could sustainably produce significantly more food to provide adequate nutrition for the 820 million people currently estimated to be food insecure. As shipping moves about 90 per cent of the world’s goods, decarbonized shipping can be a key factor in increasing sustainable global trade. In addition, offshore renewable energy is playing a significant role in mitigating global climate change. At the same time, addressing ocean waste and pollution — as well as ocean science and data sharing — all represent large scale business opportunities.
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.
As the world faces the unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, action must be scaled up to recover better and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The finance sector has a key role to play here by catalyzing investments, and blue bonds can be a strong source of funding for ocean business opportunities that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
The United Nations Global Compact has launched an initiative to accelerate blue bond issuance in the financial markets and to create a broad consensus of what constitutes “blue”. The frameworks developed by the Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform, the 5 Tipping Points for a Healthy and Productive Ocean and the Sustainable Ocean Principles, can guide investments and increase sustainable, science-based ocean solutions.
The recent Accelerating Blue Bond Issuance to Fund Sustainable Ocean Business webinar engaged hundreds of stakeholders from around the world to launch the Practical Guidance to Issue a Blue Bond, which serves as a reference paper for companies interested in issuing a blue bond. The outcome document from the webinar shares key findings and quotes from the speakers. In addition, the recording of the session can be accessed here.
Blue Resilience Brief
The Blue Resilience Brief outlines areas where scaling-up joint science-industry action could enhance the resilience of the blue economy and contribute towards a more sustainable future. Focusing on three blue economy areas, several joint science-industry action areas are identified, including:
Advancing technological innovation, such as the digitalisation of maritime trade.
Increasing data-sharing across industries and scientific disciplines.
Developing capacity building programmes.
Engaging in joint science-industry responsible policy engagement.
The report is co-authored by Dr Matthew Slater of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Dr. Robert Blasiak of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Prof. Thomas Peacock of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Imminent threats to the integrity of global supply chains
Delays and disruptions in the supply of goods produced at and shipped by sea will cause significant shortages if governments don’t work together to keep global ocean-related supply chains moving during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost 90 per cent of global trade of goods is carried by vessels. A critically urgent problem concerns changeover of essential personnel needed for safe and continuous operations, including 100,000 seafarers finishing their contracts every month. Travel restrictions and grounded airplanes have rendered routine crew changeovers virtually impossible.
The UN Global Compact has identified recommendations for urgent political action to keep global ocean-related supply chains moving. The recommendations are a consolidation of the work of the COVID-19 Task Force initiated by the Compact’s Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business, consisting of representatives from internationally leading companies, industry associations, financial institutions, UN specialized agencies and academic institutions.
Seaweed has the potential to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The Seaweed Manifesto defines a vision for the seaweed industry: an upscaled, responsible and restorative seaweed industry, playing a globally significant role in food security, climate change mitigation, and support to the marine ecosystem, as well as contributing to job-creation and poverty alleviation. The document also explores the challenges and barriers for responsible development of the industry.
The Seaweed Manifesto has been initiated by the Lloyd's Register Foundation and the work has been actively supported by the Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform of the United Nations Global Compact. It is a result of a broad cooperation with invaluable input from several organizations. The collaborative development of the manifesto aims to create increased interest and active contributions to the responsible development of the industry. Seaweed has the potential to contribute to many of the solutions for a more sustainable world. The manifesto is suggesting concrete initiatives that can bring the seaweed industry forward towards our common vision.
2020 UN Ocean Conference Postponement
Portugal and Kenya, as Co-Hosts of the UN Ocean Conference, are planning to postpone the 2020 United Nations Ocean Conference to a later date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates on this will be made available as soon as possible. More information can be found on the UN Ocean Conference website.