The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) is a unique initiative by 14 world leaders who are building momentum for a sustainable ocean economy in which effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand.
By enhancing humanity’s relationship with the ocean, bridging ocean health and wealth, working with diverse stakeholders and harnessing the latest knowledge, the Ocean Panel aims to facilitate a better, more resilient future for people and the planet.
Established in September 2018, the Ocean Panel has been working with government, business, financial institutions, the science community and civil society to catalyse and scale bold, pragmatic solutions across policy, governance, technology and finance to ultimately develop an action agenda for transitioning to a sustainable ocean economy. The Ocean Panel is the only ocean policy body made up of serving world leaders with the authority needed to trigger, amplify and accelerate action worldwide for ocean priorities.
The Ocean Panel’s approach is both ambitious and practical. It recognises that collaborative partnerships are essential and began its work by seeking input from a diverse array of stakeholders to develop a widely accepted understanding of what a sustainable ocean economy should look like, including an Expert Group and Advisory Network. The Ocean Panel Secretariat, based at World Resources Institute (WRI), assists with analytical work and science, communications and stakeholder engagement.
Co-chaired by Norway and Palau, the Ocean Panel represents nations of highly diverse oceanic, economic and political perspectives. Members include Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palau and Portugal. It is supported by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean.
They are nations large and small, across all ocean basins, at every stage of economic development, at every extreme of the ocean environment from the tropics to the Arctic. These nations account for nearly 40% of the world’s coastlines and 30% of the world’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs), 20 percent of the world’s fisheries and 20 percent of the world’s shipping fleet.
The Ocean Panel launched the new ocean action agenda in December 2020. It is built upon knowledge and science, transformative recommendations, and action. It was the culmination of a historic two-year effort to chart the course towards a sustainable ocean economy. It was also the beginning of a call to action for national waters of all ocean and coastal states to be sustainably managed by 2030.
The agenda is underpinned by the politically endorsed document, 'Transformations for a Sustainable Ocean Economy: A Vision of Protection, Production and Prosperity', which was published on 2 December 2020. The Transformations sets out a headline commitment to 100% sustainable ocean management in national waters and a set of bold, yet pragmatic, priority actions to transform how the world can protect and use the ocean and ultimately sustainably manage humanity’s impacts on it.
During the global launch, the Ocean Panel also highlighted the action underway to support the agenda and accelerate, scale and finance ocean action.
In the lead up to the launch, the Ocean Panel commissioned and published a comprehensive assessment of ocean science and knowledge and a new comprehensive report on a sustainable ocean economy. Together, they served as inputs to the Ocean Panel’s deliberations.
Importantly, the research provided the Ocean Panel the latest context for key questions: What happens if we don’t protect the ocean? How does the ocean affect the economy? And how can we make what is an unsustainable blue economy more sustainable by prioritising ocean health and benefits to people everywhere?
The ‘Give It 100%’ online campaign launched in December 2020 to coincide with the global launch of the Ocean Panel’s new ocean action agenda and to build momentum for continued engagement and call to action into 2021.
It is directed at countries to take action, with a specific ask to commit to 100% sustainable ocean management of their national waters and develop a sustainable ocean plan to achieve it.
To ‘Give It 100%’ is also an expression of the shared human values in giving every ounce of effort to a major opportunity or challenge. In this case, it is saving the ocean in a new way: 100% effort to meet the urgency of the intense and growing pressures on the ocean, to ensure that the blue economy is truly sustainable, and to rise to the occasion of bringing forth solutions that solve global challenges.
It also represents an inclusive and participatory process in which all ocean users and uses are involved in advancing a sustainable ocean economy through sustainable ocean management and sustainable ocean plans.
With full recognition of a healthy ocean’s relevance to our lives and ambition for transformative action, the Ocean Panel aims to continue to bring profile to the ocean on the international agenda and to all constituencies who enjoy the ocean whether you live near the coast or not.
We are all looking for a reason to believe that in 2021 and beyond we can not only begin to fix what COVID-19 did to the world, but also embarking with pace to fix the problems we already had on our plate: climate change, plastic pollution, ecosystem collapse, habitat and biodiversity loss, economic instability, unhealthy diets, poverty and unsustainable practices across sectors.
The Ocean Panel calls on more world leaders and other partners to join in turning the 100% goal into reality. Follow #SustainableOceanEconomy and #OceanAction100.