22.11.2017 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Collaborating to save the global ocean

Paris, 22 November 2017 - Effectively managing the world’s ocean and safeguarding it for future generations is not achievable alone. Partnerships are now more important than ever to address the issues challenging the health of the ocean and threatening human well-being on a global scale.

This is the basis for the discussions that will take place during a meeting entitled “Building International Partnership to Enhance Science-Based Ecosystem Approaches in Support of Regional Ocean Governance” to be held in Cape Town, South Africa from 27-28 November 2017. The meeting’s purpose is to strengthen collaboration among Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) Programmes, Regional Seas Programmes and Regional Fisheries – existing frameworks for regional management of ocean and coastal resources.

“The challenge of sustainable management of the ocean is global but in order to achieve it, one has to act regionally. Only on the regional scale it is feasible to effectively engage key players, such as stakeholders in governance, fisheries, and, of course, scientists. In my view, partnerships between Regional Seas, Large Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries offer the most logical and effective way forward,” says Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO).

The meeting will highlight best practices in existing collaborations across the different regional ocean governance frameworks, including how regional institutes and projects are utilizing science to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Andrew Hudson, Head of the Water and Ocean Governance Programme, UNDP, reflects on the challenges in ocean management and how a collective effort would be a step in the right direction: “SDG14 presents an ambitious and critically important mandate to move the world towards sustainable ocean use. Recognizing that ocean resources and processes don’t observe political boundaries, a range of regional ocean governance mechanisms have emerged over the years, some with overlapping mandates and boundaries. For the first time, this meeting brings many of these mechanisms together, with the aim to promote dialogue, exchange of good cooperation practice, and development of new partnerships. Working together, these regional mechanisms can accelerate progress on SDG14 implementation towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.”

More than 130 participants from 40 countries will convene in Cape Town. They represent UN agencies, a variety of international organizations, the private sector, NGOs and representatives from national governments around the world to promote partnerships for sustaining the ocean.

Lisa Emelia Svensson, Director for Ocean, UN Environment, said for her part that “Regional Seas are the fundamental platform to build and strengthen the collaboration work with the Large Marine Ecosystem Programmes, Fisheries Bodies and other key stakeholders including the private sector. Sustainable management of ocean resources and the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals are top priorities for UN Environment.”

During the two-day event, participants will discuss their roles and responsibilities in ocean governance. Presentations on the science to policy interface and how science can inform effective regional ecosystem-based ocean governance will support and provide some context for the discussions. The meeting will be the first time that key players in ocean management come together to build further regional collaboration for ocean governance.

Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, FAO, expressed support for the meeting: “Ocean governance cuts across the interventions that are needed to address fisheries challenges, as in other sectors such as transport and seabed mining, and FAO is pleased to be part of the discussions.”

The Cape Town meeting aims to serve as the platform for mobilizing existing regional governance frameworks towards partnerships and integrated action to protect an ocean in distress.

Christian Holde Severin, International Waters Focal Area Coordinator and Senior Environmental Specialist, the GEF, provided his thoughts on the aims of the meeting: “The ultimate key to success will be the ability of the GEF International Waters partnership to illustrate, to all levels of society, that the myriad of ecosystem services provided by the marine ecosystems, not only depend on cooperation frameworks and agreed actions, but also hold the key to local, national and regional economic development.”

Following centuries of overuse and neglect, marine ecosystems and the blue economy will fail if we do not collectively respond.

This meeting falls within the framework of the GEF LME:LEARN Project, which promotes learning and partnership building, knowledge and experience sharing, and information management among projects in the GEF marine and coastal focal areas. It is funded by GEF, implemented by the UNDP and managed by IOC-UNESCO.

For more information, please visit: http://marine.iwlearn.net/capetown2017

Or contact:

Natalie Degger (n.degger(at)unesco.org)

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