New initiatives amplify role of the ocean in global food systems transformation and resilience.
Geneva, Switzerland: As the United Nations Food Systems Summit gets underway today, the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action1 has launched three new high-level initiatives to harness the ocean’s full potential to meet the nutritional needs of our fast-growing population and boost ocean resilience.
Funded by the UK Government’s Blue Planet Fund2, the three new initiatives will bolster the sustainability of the blue economy by strengthening ocean resilience, while scaling access to sustainable aquatic – or ‘blue’ – foods by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Today, we face the first increase in extreme global poverty in a generation3 and a rapid escalation in food insecurity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet the nutritional needs of our fast-growing population, we must transform global food systems at speed and scale and put blue foods front and centre. These exciting new initiatives will help secure the main source of nutrition for some three billion people and shore up the foundations of lasting resilience in coastal nations and beyond. We are immensely grateful to the Blue Planet Fund for its generous support of this important work,” said Kristian Teleki, Director of Friends of Ocean Action.
The three initiatives aim to drive action on sustainable blue food and ocean resilience:
- Blue Food Partnership4: This multi-stakeholder partnership platform will catalyze science-based action towards healthy and sustainable blue food value chains. It will do so by scaling pre-competitive initiatives, such as a 2030 roadmap for sustainable aquaculture production. It will also highlight the critical importance of blue foods and promote their recognition in international fora, such as the UN Food Systems Summit. Watch the livestream: The Blue Food Partnership will be launched today, 22nd September 2021, at 15:15-15:45 CET during the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit
- Seafood Loss and Waste: Currently 30-35% of seafood harvested is either lost or wasted5, representing a vast and unused source of nutrition. This initiative aims to ensure all nutrition is efficiently derived from seafood, be it wild caught or farmed. A pilot project is already underway and will be extended in the future.
- Blue Recovery Hubs: This initiative aims to enhance the long-term sustainability of existing ocean economy sectors while generating new, sustainable opportunities for economic diversification post-pandemic. A pilot project is already underway and will be extended in the future.
“The ocean environment is home to precious marine life and supports the livelihoods of one in every ten people worldwide. By making seafood production more sustainable, we can reduce the sector’s impact on the environment and ensure the ocean continues to provide an essential source of food to the communities that depend on it. We are funding initiatives like these, through the Blue Planet Fund, to support the developing countries on the front line of climate change. We will continue to advocate for ocean health and resilience as leaders of COP26,” said the UK’s International Environment Minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith.
Unsustainable fishing practices and other impacts, such as climate change, mean that the amount of food the ocean and other aquatic sources can provide is diminishing. Restoring ocean health so that fish stocks and other aquatic life can recover is, therefore, critical for economic recovery and global well-being.
“Meeting our growing demand for food in more sustainable ways is a monumental challenge, yet great potential lies in blue food, providing we conserve the health of our ocean, lakes and rivers. Through these new initiatives, we aim to improve governance, management structures and policy-makers’ commitment so that capture fisheries can be reformed and sustainable aquaculture expanded. We also plan to minimize waste by promoting the direct consumption of all the seafood we harvest,” said Chris Ninnes, CEO of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Co-Chair of the Blue Food Partnership’s Sustainable Aquaculture 2030 Working Group, led by Friends of Ocean Action.
The Blue Food Partnership is a response to, and informed by, the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’s 2030 ocean food priority areas and transformations.
Gemma Parkes, Communications Lead, Friends of Ocean Action, firstname.lastname@example.org, +41793052977
Notes to editors:
(1) Friends of Ocean Action is a unique, informal group of over 65 ocean leaders who are fast-tracking solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the ocean. Its members – the ‘Friends’ – come from business, civil society, international organisations, science and technology. Hosted by the World Economic Forum with the World Resources Institute, the group works alongside the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy that brings to bear the political will of 14 heads of government in achieving a healthy ocean.
(2) Launched in June 2021, the UK Government’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund aims to help developing countries reduce poverty, protect and sustainably manage their marine resources, and deal with human-generated threats across four key themes: biodiversity, climate change, marine pollution and sustainable seafood.
(4) Led by Friends of Ocean Action in collaboration with the World Resources Institute, the Blue Food Partnership brings together stakeholders from the private sector, non-profit and international organizations, scientists and governments. Connecting policy and science, it is informed by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’s 2030 ocean food priority areas and the Blue Food Assessment (BFA), which seeks to better understand the role of blue food in global food systems and propel policies and practices accordingly. The BFA is a series of high-profile, peer-reviewed papers on how blue or water-sourced food can build healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems, and a report integrating key findings for decision-makers. The BFA is a joint initiative of the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, the Center on Food Security and the Environment, and Stockholm Resilience Center.