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Developing a Global Action Plan for a Sustainable Ocean Economy

Nov 20, 2018
Source: Ocean Panel

On the eve of the Science for Ocean Actions Conference, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy Expert Group met for the first time to review, and discuss relevant research, provide scientific input, and explore solutions to the key questions and issues currently being addressed by the High Level Panel.

The newly formed Panel, which was launched out of New York in September 2018, is co-chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau. Comprising 12 Heads of Government and including the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Special Envoy for the Ocean, the Panel will assess the value of Ocean goods and services in economic planning, support the sustainable use of Ocean resources and accelerate worldwide action for ocean health and wealth that will chart a new course for a sustainable prosperous future.

High Level Panel Co-Chair and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg: 

“The High-level Panel aims to promote science-based decision-making in the fields of ocean economy and ocean management. We know that where management is science-based, fisheries are usually sustainable. We need to learn more about how the oceans can help us meet some of our most vital needs: food security, employment, access to energy, sustainable communities and resilience to climate change.”

The Honourable Professor, Jane Lubchenco, Co-chair of the Expert Group:

“This group of ocean experts from around the world understand the challenges of moving from unsustainable practices and policies to smarter uses of the ocean. Their expert knowledge and inputs will provide a sound and scientific basis that will inform the outputs of the High Level Panel and take us one step closer to the creation of a future that enables our planet to protect, produce and prosper.”

The Expert Group’s role is to ensure the quality and integrity of the High Level Panel’s work. Consisting of experienced researchers and policy analysts from around the world, the group will provide and review relevant research and scientific input, and propose practical solutions to the questions and challenges raised by the High Level Panel. It will also provide technical input and contribute to and help review the Panel’s final report, associated Blue Papers, and other documents.

Vidar Helgesen, Special Envoy to the High Level Panel: 

“In order to achieve the SDGs by 2030, we need to produce more from the ocean. The current state of the ocean calls for bold innovations in policy, governance, technology and finance, and the ambition of the High Level Panel is to promote these. While the High Level Panel is comprised of serving heads of government who will make actionable recommendations for better ocean policy and politics, they are committed to make recommendations based on science. The work of the Expert Group is critical in laying that basis.”

Over the next 18 months, the Panel will commission research on evidence-based solutions to the Ocean crisis and how to address it. This will include a series of “Blue Papers” by these global experts exploring issues such as sustainable fisheries, Ocean-based energy solutions and tourism, as well as new approaches to Marine Protected Areas and Ocean finance. The papers will inform an action-oriented report to be released in 2020 at the UN Ocean Conference.

H.E. Ms Olai Uludong, Permanent Representative from Palau to the United Nations:

“The Ocean is at the center of our life, culture, and identity. If we want to protect our Ocean and sustain this source of life it will take action by us all. Current trends point to diminishing ocean health: declining fisheries, a warmer, more acidic, and an increasingly polluted ocean. This is a future no one wants.We need to make a new contract between humanity and the Ocean that balances ocean protection with economic production and human prosperity. In short, we need to build a sustainable ocean economy.”


A Secretariat, led by World Resources Institute, is supporting the High Level Panel’s activities, including research, engagement, and communications.

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