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Give it 100%

The ocean gives us life, feeds us, entertains us, connects us, inspires us and powers our success.

Sea surface temperature heatmap, August 2023. Credit: NASA

Humanity’s well-being depends on the health of the ocean.

It is responsible for around 50% of the oxygen produced on earth and protects us by absorbing more than 90% of global excess heat caused by human activity and around 25% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. It is a source of protein for 3 billion people and provides millions of jobs worldwide. 

But today, the ocean’s health is off track. It’s under intense pressure from pollution, harmful fishing practices, habitat loss, and climate change. 2023 saw the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the ocean, its oxygen levels are decreasing and it is now at its most acidic in at least 26,000 years as it absorbs and reacts with more CO2 in the atmosphere. 

As a result, coral reefs and underwater forests are disappearing, fish stocks are declining, and ocean systems globally are experiencing change. 

nature background
The ocean is telling us that enough is enough.

A degraded ocean has vast repercussions not just for ocean life, but for communities everywhere — and our very existence. In fact, it could eventually cost the global economy trillions annually. But still, of all the UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 14 (the ocean goal) is by far the least funded.

It’s time to stop seeing the ocean as a separate problem – as a victim of humanity – that for most of us is out of sight and out of mind. Instead, it must be seen as an essential part of solving global challenges

We know that the ocean is a critical solution to fighting climate change, with the potential to deliver up to 21% of the annual greenhouse gas emission cuts needed in 2050 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. The equivalent to the annual emissions from all coal-fired power plants worldwide or taking 2.5 billion cars off the road. 

The ocean is home to 80% of life on earth, we cannot tackle biodiversity loss without action to protect and restore our ocean. 

Research shows that a healthier ocean is a smart investment that will deliver social, health, economic and environmental benefits. Instead of business as usual, we can choose a triple win for people, nature, and the economy, where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand-in-hand.

The Ocean Panel is the only group made up of serving world leaders with the authority needed to trigger, amplify and accelerate action worldwide for ocean priorities

Since launching in 2018, 17 world leaders have joined together to realise the mission of developing a sustainable ocean economy and achieving 100% sustainable management of the ocean areas within national jurisdiction. This agenda is built upon knowledge, science, action and collaboration.

The heads of state across 17 countries, covering 6 continents are united in this 100% commitment. Together they represent 50% of global coastlines, 26% of global fisheries, 20% of the world’s shipping fleet and 44% of the world’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). 

Great strides have been made in safeguarding the ocean.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) which will be critical for halting and reversing biodiversity loss, restoring degraded ecosystems, effectively protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. And the historic ‘BBNJ’ treaty, agreed by 193 countries, to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity in areas beyond national boundaries.

These ambitious new agreements are essential pieces of the puzzle to ensure better management of the ocean. But to be truly successful, the way human beings protect, restore and sustainably use the ocean must be comprehensive. Sustainable management cannot be achieved in some areas if other areas are left open to overexploitation, which is why Ocean Panel countries are working towards the holistic ‘100% approach’.   

Though the ocean may separate us physically, it can bring humanity together for a healthy, prosperous future. Together, we can restore the ocean’s health and wealth.

The ocean gives us so much…
let’s give it 100%.

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