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Symposium 2014

A New Dawn for the Future of the Ocean?

The Challenge

The high seas lie beyond the 200 nautical mile limit of national jurisdictions (exclusive economic zones) and make up 45% of the Earth’s surface; they provide us with resources such as food and minerals, are key to global trade (90 percent of world trade is via shipping), and maintain ecosystem services including the provision of 50% of the oxygen we breath and the absorption of 25% of carbon dioxide we produce. Yet this huge proportion of the Earth’s living space is increasingly under pressure from challenges and threats, it is not effectively managed and is suffering from overfishing, habitat and biodiversity loss, climate change and ocean acidification. It is a global commons that belongs to everyone but not effectively managed by anyone. Lack of coordinated management and control has lead to security issues and other abhorrent criminal elements such as drugs and arms trafficking, piracy and human rights violations.

The Global Ocean Commission brought together global leaders to examine the key challenges and threats to the ocean in the 21st Century, and identify priority issues. It analysed the drivers of decline to the global ocean, based on the latest and most rigorous evidence from science and economics.
In June 2014 the Commission produced a report and a set of proposals aimed at reversing the degradation and restoring ocean health. The Commission considers these proposals to be cost-effective, pragmatic and politically feasible.  The challenge now is how to feed these proposals into institutions and processes that can implement real and concrete change.

The Commissioners are convinced that there has never been a more important time to ensure a productive ocean environment for the benefit of the billions of people who depend on it for food, livelihoods and well-being, both now and in the future.  However, how can this be achieved if those directly and indirectly benefiting from the ocean are not taking a more active role in the debate of the ocean’s future?  What is the role which business can play and how can market forces and financial mechanisms be used to influence and direct the changes in governance, management and use of the ocean that needs to occur?  Innovative solutions and active participation from all sectors of the global society is required.

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2014

    Oceans Act As the World's Thermostat

    The earth heated up quickly in the second half of the 20th century, but about a decade ago, average global temperatures hit a plateau. Now researchers say they've discovered where that missing heat is ...

    The earth heated up quickly in the second half of the 20th century, but about a decade ago, average global temperatures hit a plateau. Now researchers say they've discovered where that missing heat is hiding: in the oceans. And as the oceans warm, they expand, pushing up sea levels around the globe and increasing flooding. Rick Spinrad, chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, surveys what future climate change has in store for the oceans.

    Listen to: Oceans Act As the World's Thermostat

    Podcast Aug. 22, 2014 | Produced by Christopher Intagliata, Senior Producer, Science Friday

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Background Paper
    Symposium 2014

    From Decline to Recovery - A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean

    The Global Ocean Commission has been on a voyage of discovery about the global ocean – its importance, its peril and its potential. They listened to experts from science, academia, business and NG ...

    The Global Ocean Commission has been on a voyage of discovery about the global ocean – its importance, its peril and its potential. They listened to experts from science, academia, business and NGOs and identified eight proposals that show what needs to be done to stimulate a cycle of ocean recovery. The report is the result of an extensive research, both on the problem and policy solutions fronts. It addresses 5 drivers of ocean decline and brings up 8 proposals for ocean recovery: a wide range of different ocean issues.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Virtual Library

    Virtual Library File
    Symposium 2014

    The Global Ocean Commission Library

    The Global Ocean Commission is an independent, international commission focused on the high seas - that portion of the ocean outside national waters that represents no less than 45% of the Earth’s ...

    The Global Ocean Commission is an independent, international commission focused on the high seas - that portion of the ocean outside national waters that represents no less than 45% of the Earth’s surface. Its mandate and inquiry covers overfishing, habitat and biodiversity loss, lack of effective management and enforcement, and deficiencies in governance - all issues which have implications for food security, ocean health and resilience, global security, equity and human rights. Please visit the Commission library for more information.