Ocean & Coasts

A healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems are vitally important for humans and the environment. The ocean regulates the climate, absorbs much of the carbon dioxide emitted from human activity, and provides fish, the main source of protein for over three billion people. The ecosystem goods and services the ocean provides are estimated to be worth USD 12 trillion. The biological diversity of ocean and coastal regions also provides important services including food security, feed for livestock, raw materials for medicines, building materials from coral rock and sand, and natural defenses against coastal erosion and flooding. Millions of people rely on marine and coastal biodiversity for their food security, income, and socio-cultural and economic development. Human activities put pressure on coastal and marine ecosystems, including through climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Ninety percent of the world's fisheries are either fully or over-exploited. Eight million tons of plastics enter the sea each year and contaminate a quarter of all seafood. Eighty percent of wastewater is discharged without treatment, damaging human health and biodiversity.

Upcoming events

Events and Articles

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High-Level Event on Ocean Action: Immersed in Change

The meeting in Costa Rica will facilitate exchange of best practices and successful experiences in ocean health and governance, in anticipation of the Third UN Ocean Conference to be held in France in June 2025.
Event 7 June 2024 - 8 June 2024

4th Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Develop an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution, Including in the Marine Environment (INC-4)

While the plastic pollution negotiations started with lofty ambitions, it has become clear that a strong treaty is in no way guaranteed. With one more scheduled meeting left, some delegates left Ottawa wondering if they still had time to reach agreement to stem the tide of plastic pollution.
Event 23 April 2024 - 29 April 2024

2024 Ocean Decade Conference

Participants shaped a set of ten draft white papers, which identify future priorities for the Ocean Decade to generate knowledge on science-based solutions to biodiversity conservation, climate change, food security, a sustainable ocean economy, pollution, and natural hazards.
Event 10 April 2024 - 12 April 2024

1st Part of the 29th Annual Session of the International Seabed Authority

Environmental externalities, underwater cultural heritage, test mining, regional environmental management plans, environmental compensation fund, royalties, safety measures… The list goes on. New elements continue to be added to the already complex and interlinked group of elements that need to be agreed on in the negotiations on exploitation regulations for deep-sea mining.
Event 18 March 2024 - 29 March 2024

15th Meeting of the Monaco Blue Initiative

Participants reflected on how to accomplish the urgent tasks for 2024, including progressing on ratification of the BBNJ Treaty, delivering on GBF objectives by 2030, and addressing important challenges like deep seabed mining, as well as overcome setbacks like the failure by WTO members to agree on a second phase of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.
Event 18 March 2024

A Wave of Ocean Action in 2023

At the end of 2023, I wrote these words in an article for TIME magazine, “Over the last two years, a positive wave of ocean action has been sweeping around the planet. It is a wave upon which hope can ride with growing confidence. Its momentum is the most powerful opportunity we have to improve humanity’s relationship with the ocean.”
Article

66th Meeting of the GEF Council

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council Members will consider a new work program of the GEF Trust Fund under GEF’s eighth replenishment cycle, how to streamline the GEF project cycle, and possible actions to support the new agreement on conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).
Event 5 February 2024 - 9 February 2024