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.

Events and Articles

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3rd Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Develop an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution, Including in the Marine Environment (INC-3)

As concerns about the scourge of plastic pollution mount worldwide, delegates shared their views on the “full life cycle of plastic,” with some favoring measures addressing plastic production, and others favoring downstream measures to eliminate plastic waste. Still others focused on how best to ensure lasting design standards for plastic products.
Event 11 November 2023 - 19 November 2023

Marine Regions Forum 2023

Experts from the Western Indian Ocean and other regions met to share knowledge and exchange best practices on ways to enhance cooperation and coordination to advance ocean governance, guided by the themes of inclusion, innovation, and implementation.
Event 7 November 2023 - 9 November 2023

GEO Week 2023

GEO Members adopted the GEO Post-2025 Strategy, which not only supports GEO’s continued leadership in enabling the provision and use of Earth observations but also introduces pathways for GEO to co-produce products and services with users and for users, thereby requiring GEO to adapt its operating model.
Event 6 November 2023 - 10 November 2023

3rd Part of the 28th Annual Session of the International Seabed Authority

Delegates continued work on the development of exploitation regulations for seabed mining, following a roadmap adopted in July 2023. However, regulating commercial exploitation of deep-sea minerals is no easy task, and there is no real indicator of progress for assessing if the roadmap is in line with reality or wishful thinking.
Event 30 October 2023 - 8 November 2023

Further resumed 5th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on BBNJ

Expected by many to be a game changer in Ocean governance, a new legally binding agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) was adopted by consensus at UN Headquarters in New York after 17 years of negotiations.
Event 19 June 2023 - 20 June 2023

2nd Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Develop an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution, Including in the Marine Environment (INC-2)

While the meeting was characterized by procedural scuffles, long delays, and late nights, delegates shared views on an options paper and set out a path for the intersessional period leading to the next negotiating session, mandating the preparation of a “zero draft” of the new treaty to address plastics pollution.
Event 29 May 2023 - 2 June 2023

14th Meeting of the Monaco Blue Initiative

Held in a spirit of celebration of recent international progress, notably the newly agreed UN high seas treaty, the 14th Meeting of the Monaco Blue Initiative discussed options for ocean conservation and a sustainable blue economy. Debates centered on fisheries, marine protected areas, ecosystem restoration and scaling solutions.
Event 20 March 2023