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About the Panel

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The High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy is a unique initiative of 14 serving world leaders building momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy, where 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 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, and ultimately develop an action agenda for transitioning to a sustainable ocean economy. 

The Ocean Panel is working to:

  • Catalyse, develop and support solutions for ocean health and wealth
  • Establish a new global contract between the ocean and humanity
  • Leverage the implementation of SDG 14 and all SDGs
  • Amplify the voice of vulnerable coastal and island communities reliant on the ocean
  • Highlight the value-creation potential of balancing economic production and ocean protection
  • Harmonise and multiply the impact of multiple ocean initiatives
  • Champion an action agenda for building a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

Who is on the Ocean Panel?

Co-chaired by Norway and Palau, 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 comprises members from Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palau and Portugal and is supported by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean.

The Ocean Panel represents nations of highly diverse oceanic, economic and political perspectives. 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 Artic. These nations account for nearly a third of the world’s coastlines and a third of the world’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs), 20 percent of the world’s fisheries and 20 percent of the world’s shipping fleet.  

What are the goal and objectives?

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The goal is to deliver a sustainable ocean economy, where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand-in-hand.

Key objectives include: enhancing humanity’s relationship with the ocean, bridging ocean health and wealth, working with diverse stakeholders, harnessing the latest ocean knowledge, and developing an action agenda for transitioning to a sustainable ocean economy.


What is the approach?

The Ocean Panel has committed to an approach that is ambitious and practical. Collaborative partnerships are essential to converting knowledge into action. To develop a common understanding of what a sustainable ocean economy looks like, the Ocean Panel gathers input from a wide array of stakeholders, including an Expert Group and an Advisory Network. The Ocean Panel Secretariat, based at World Resources Institute, assists with analytical work, communications and stakeholder engagement.

In the spirit of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), providing value to the UN Decade of Ocean Science and meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the Ocean Panel commissioned a comprehensive assessment of ocean science and knowledge that has significant policy relevance, including a series of 16 Blue Papers and various Special Reports that will ultimately inform the Ocean Panel’s action agenda. The Blue Papers and Special Reports are central inputs in building the new ocean narrative and identifying opportunities for action. Ultimately, they are an independent input to the Ocean Panel process and do not represent the thinking of the Ocean Panel, Sherpas or Secretariat. 

The Ocean Panel is:



It brings political energy to catalyse change and inspire others to adopt solutions and innovations.



It speaks with enthusiasm for what’s possible and an understanding of real-world constraints and challenges.



Its work is rooted in world class scientific knowledge.



They seek to include their fellow leaders and work with other ocean initiatives in galvanizing progress.



It embraces transparency in its own work and as an essential requisite for improved ocean protection.



They are all serving heads of government facing domestic challenges, but are determined and ambitious in their desire to champion ocean health and wealth.

Why did this initiative come about?

While the recent surge in ocean interest is long overdue and highly welcome, and much of the ocean community largely agrees on what needs to happen, converting ocean knowledge to ocean action has been elusive. There’s been a will, but not a political will leading the way – until now. The Ocean Panel brings commitment at the highest political levels to fill gaps within existing debates, collaborations and policymaking. It is especially timely now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the world needs solutions rooted in sustainability, resilience and prosperity for all. A sustainable ocean economy is key.  

What does it hope to achieve?

The Ocean Panel hopes to change the way the world thinks, acts and feels about the ocean, and inspire policies and actions at the highest levels that will catalyse the transition to a Sustainable Ocean Economy. 

Achieving these goals will help generate lasting, sustainable growth and prosperity, boost ocean health, and meet the Sustainable Development Goals designed to build a better future for all.