Taking action

Our aim is to drive action and showcase high-impact, transformative and scaleable initiatives in time for the proposed UN Ocean Conference in 2020. We have the following key action tracks:

Plastic pollution (the Global Plastic Action Partnership)


The challenge

Eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the Ocean every year. Much of it comes via the world’s rivers, which act as conduits of trash from the world’s cities to the marine environment.

The action track

Stop growth in plastic pollution by 2025 by demonstrating ‘investable and scalable’ circular economy solutions in three coastal economies by 2020, ready to be adapted and implemented globally


SDG 14.1


Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP)

Pew Charitable Trusts

World Bank

Global Environment Facility

Governments of Ghana, Indonesia and a small island developing state.



Launch GPAP and engage first three countries

Launched GPAP, established MOUs with business and governments, identified partners to drive collaboration

Work with SystemIQ and Pew on data analysis and modelling to propel evidence-based action

Explored funding opportunities and strategy

Created a GPAP Steering Board and organized the first meeting


Launch of national partnerships in the 3 pilot countries and identify other candidates for system transformation

Showcase GPAP as a model of effective and impactful partnership

In 3 pilot countries:
- Map, identify and select local implementation partners
- Multi stakeholder platforms up-and-running
- Key projects identified, structured and financing triggered
- Implementing partners and innovations engaged in the roadmap development
- Support local partners to build delivery capacity
- Impact analysis models identified and review in progress
- Analytics completed and published
- Scalable success and positive momentum demonstrated
- Regional collaboration partners identified

Launch National Action Partnerships in Indonesia and Ghana to demonstrate positive momentum of institutional commitment to advance concrete local action on plastic pollution

Additional countries for catalytic intervention on plastic pollution identified where the Friends of Ocean Action can make a catalytic intervention

Map other global initiatives to scope how to ensure coordination and coherence


Projects implemented in pilot countries and showcased at UN Ocean conference

Projects in the countries up and running

Establish GPAP proof of concept with successful, active projects

Achieve funding to expand scope through to 2025

Showcase outcomes at UN Ocean Conference to demonstrate scalable, investable solutions ready to be adapted and replicated

Sustainable Ocean Production: Blue Food


The challenge

By the year 2050, the human population is estimated to have grown from seven billion to 10 billion people. The current land-based system of food and protein production, cannot meet the needs of a growing and more urbanized population. Turning to the Ocean could be a solution, but it is being rapidly depleted of fish, due to unsustainable fishing and aquaculture.

The Action Track

Improve Ocean health and ensure human health through Ocean-related food security and nutrition, making the case for investment in sustainable Ocean food production and raising Ocean health higher in political fora on food security


SDG 2.4, SDG 14.2


Food and Agriculture Organisation

EAT Foundation

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

Stockholm Resilience Centre


Identify knowledge gaps

Map work on Ocean-related food security

Scoped solutions already identified to tackle key challenges (e.g. how to scale aquaculture sustainably)

Identified gaps in existing research


Raise awareness on Ocean’s potential to partially fill the gap in the current food production systems and raise awareness of the Friends’ work on this, in the margins of Davos

Commission a ‘blue translation’ of the EAT-Lancet Commission to address the gaps that exist
on Ocean-related food security in relation to planetary boundaries as well as Ocean and human health

Collaborate with the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) and the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’s Expert Group which are both undertaking complementary research on this issue

Explore opportunity of UN Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Change Summit as potential launchpad for an Ocean food security protein partnership

Map food security fora, broader than Ocean and identify opportunities of engagement, including with new partners such as the World Health Organization, on protein from the Ocean

Integrate Ocean production systems into broader initiatives such as the Global Commission on Adaptation


Publish report which develops global scientific evidence targets for healthy diets and sustainable Ocean-related food production

Launch ocean food security protein partnership

Ending Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing


The challenge

One in three fish caught around the world never makes it to the plate and consumers often cannot tell if the fish they eat was legally caught. For fisheries, global losses are up to US $23.5 billion a year, 22% of total production. IUU fishing threatens marine ecosystems, jobs and livelihoods, food supplies and regional security. It is linked to slavery, human rights violations and transnational organized crime.

The Action Track

Create a global mechanism for tackling IUU fishing across three pillars: 1) enlist industry and secure commitment to implementing the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration; 2) enlist key seafood trading nations to ratify and implement the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA); 3) harness diverse data capabilities to support actions and facilitate industry and government data contributions to new Ocean data platform to aid enforcement and monitoring.




Pew Charitable Trusts

Fishing sector supply chain


Ahold Delhaize


Signatories to the Port State Measures Agreement

New England Seafood


Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration


Review tools, locate hotspots and drive engagement

Engaged key players and developed an initial private sector strategy to deliver

Advanced discussions for potential engagement with new key players and solution-finders


Operationalise retailer action plan, launch user case for Ocean data

Convene retailers and NGOs to agree strategy for implementing the Traceability Declaration for tuna fishing and track progress

Continued engagement with key retailers and processors to sign up to an alliance for tuna fishing (target: top 10 seafood businesses)

Convene new players in supply chain who have made commitments and bridge to the community of solution providers, including through the 4IR tech community

Engage NGOs particularly active in developing countries and hotspot areas to advance solutions, starting with aim of preventing human trafficking in the tuna fleet

Involve fishing sector and other stakeholders across full supply chain


Showcase private sector tuna traceability plan

Global trend and volume of IUU fishing begins decreasing

Establish a mechanism for tracking implementation of the Declaration

Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration implemented across key retailers and regions

Announce new partners to commit to the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability and a robust
human trafficking strategy

Announce extension of strategy to other species

Positive impact on other SDGs (e.g. SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 8, SDG 10 and SDG 16)

Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA)


PSMA engagement strategy development

Increased awareness of PSMA as powerful instrument in fight against IUU fishing

Engaged and aligned with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

Mapped potential PSMA signatory regions and countries (with focus on APEC) and developed an engagement strategy

Started engagement through joint letter from UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean and the Friends of Ocean Action Director General to all countries that have not yet ratified PSMA


11 additional countries signed up to PSMA

Raise awareness on PSMA as a key instrument to tackle IUU fishing and raise awareness of the Friends’ work on this, in the margins of Davos

Scope The Friends' interest and capacity to contribute to push of ratification

Further engage governments that have not ratified PSMA

Build/work with regional partnerships to facilitate ratification and leverage action (e.g. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation commitment to ratify and implement)

Drive PSMA implementation ‘tool box’ for robust implementation (particularly in APEC)

Engage with countries that have ratified to scope challenges and solutions

Scope 4IR component/opportunity, including publication of key white papers addressing challenges and opportunities

Integrate commitments to PSMA ratification and implementation with existing supply chain traceability efforts


PSMA ratification initiated in 100+ countries

Global trend and volume of IUU fishing begins decreasing

Initiation (at least) of ratification process in over 100 countries

Progress toward “closing the Pacific to illegal fishing” by action on commitments from APEC and the G20

Drive technical assistance in PSMA implementation through pilot projects, C4IR opportunities

Leverage the Friends of Ocean Action resources to support PSMA capacity building efforts in key regions

Positive impact on other SDGs (e.g. SDG 1, SDG 2, SDG 8, SDG 10 and SDG 16)

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)


The challenge

Only 7% of the ocean is protected. Many marine reserves are poorly managed or represent standalone efforts with little integration between them. Yet these ‘parks in the sea’ should be seen as part of a country’s infrastructure, ensuring a sustainable tourism industry and food from the sea. Addressing this is key to restoring ocean ecosystems while generating and safeguarding the businesses, communities, jobs, and livelihoods that rely on healthy seas.

The action track

Achieve ambitious marine protection targets by driving concerted, public-private cooperation across geographies and sectors on the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and monitoring and mobilising governments and institutions to coordinate their approach to MPAs and partnering with key stakeholders to set-up and champion a game-changing new MPA platform


SDG 14.5



National Geographic

Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)

Global Fishing Watch

Local stakeholders


Engage partners and identify pathway to 2020 target

Convened experts and contributors to discuss objectives and strategy

Agreed on targets and enablers for ambitious 2020 and 2030 outcomes

Engaged and aligned with CBD to ensure full the Friends of Ocean Action support for Aichi targets realization and ambition raising to 2030

Advanced discussions to develop an open data application for MPAs to support and improve quality of MPAs management

Advanced discussions to secure additional funding for MPAs monitoring tools

Explored opportunities to further engage fora related to the high seas and Antarctica to increase the MPAs coverage and contribute in shifting political approach on this


Develop new MPA platform

Raise awareness on the work the Friends are carrying out on MPAs and the opportunities ahead, including a call for 30% of the Ocean to be protected by 2030

Map existing initiatives and scope potential collaborators, both for identifying new areas for potential MPA designations as well as tools for better monitoring and enforcement

Develop a business case to highlight economic opportunities and financial risks linked to MPAs

Use the business case to identify key business champions (target: 5)

Develop MPA platform: a comprehensive solution for marine spatial planning, monitoring and data dissemination for effective MPA implementation

Identify user case projects in specific hotspots to test implementation progress

Support and socialize the need for a science-based global consistent and integrated framework for MPAs

Help international community shift to a more coordinated, effective and strategic network of MPAs

Develop strategy for the Friends of Ocean Action’s political engagement in priority for a

Launch MPA data platform user case

Engage World Bank and its Pro Blue Fund and develop financing models/blended finance


Showcase MPA benefits and progress towards ambitious 2030 target

10% SDG 14 target is met on schedule

MPA platform is being piloted in key hotspots in partnership with governments and local stakeholders (starting with SIDS)

Showcase MPA benefits for economy, society and cultures

Make significant progress in establishing a target of 30% Ocean protected by 2030, including through innovative tech and financial models

Business coalition for MPAs to be announced at the UN Ocean Conference in 2020

Decarbonizing the Maritime and Shipping Sectors


The challenge

Shipping is the backbone of world trade, transporting around 80% of global goods. But it is a big emitter of carbon and sulphur dioxide. By 2020, the International Maritime Organization requires that all fuels will contain no more than 0.5% sulphur. By 2050, the target is to decarbonize the shipping industry by 50%.

The action track

Create a ‘coalition for the transformation of shipping’ and a multi-stakeholder platform to scope and test innovations and technologies to drive technology change and decarbonisation in the shipping industry and advance the 50-70% emission reduction target by 2050



International Maritime Organisation target to reduce global shipping emissions by 50% by 2050


GEF/UNDP Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Programme

Global Maritime Forum

IMO Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping

World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

World Economic Forum Shaping the Future of Mobility initiative


Port Authorities


Mapped existing networks of industry players and started conversations with innovators

Engaged in the formalised process for partnership with the Global Maritime Forum to explore how to collaborate and join forces in driving sector’s systemic change

Engaged shipping industry and value chain to start mapping out key innovations

Convened industry, innovators, governments, port authorities and cities to advance solutions

Strengthened links and synergies with the Action Tracks on finance and risk management

Explored further the role of Friends of Ocean Action and the UN Special Envoy on issues of safety, security and biodiversity


Build collaboration and investments to drive change

Convene industry and energy champions as well as innovators to agree on a way forward

Through collaboration with EDF, identify the portfolio of feasible alternatives to fossil fuels, and their time to market / availability, and engage regulators and investors

Identify the core geographical regions for engagement from the alternative’s perspective, and bring onboard

Broaden engagement across the supply chain and of key additional partners, particularly tying into existing initiatives such as the Poseidon Principles for the finance sector

Diversify the conversation to be more geographically inclusive, both from a shipping industry perspective and government / regional engagement

Kick off the collaboration of the shipping industry leaders with other Friends of Ocean Action work streams on data and plastics/waste management in ports as well as on shipping finance and risk management

Map and identify potential investors and identify main R&D gaps; identify the right financing mechanisms to scale up technologies and innovations, and R&D investments

Launch a coalition of champions with concrete and ambitious commitments at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September 2019


Launch the Coalition for Transformation Shipping and achieving IMO targets

Announce achievement of IMO target for all ship fuels containing no more than 0.5% Sulphur

Industry change is underway, and the roadmap is being implemented to decarbonise the shipping industry by at least 50 percent by 2050, and beyond

Globally, shipping sector leaders agree on a pathway to decarbonise the industry and key new technologies accessible to support the transition

Liberating Ocean Data


The Challenge

Only 5% of the Ocean has been fully explored yet new technologies, data-processing, sensors and satellites could transform our knowledge of, and relationship with, the Ocean. We can tap into this information revolution, making ocean data available as a comprehensive, opensource, digital platform for the public good and to feed more informed decision-making.

The Action Track

Friends of Ocean Action working with partners to develop an open-source digital platform that enables free access to all existing data for better Ocean management and protection and the global public good


SDG 14.2, 14.4, 14.5


Rev Ocean


Global Fishing Watch

Pristine Seas project

World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Scope and create the architecture

Mapped existing data platforms to identify gaps and opportunities

Mapped data sources and advanced work on harmonizing data points

Advanced connection among experts and ensure integration of valuable initiatives

Scoped the need for a governance structure to support safety and credibility of data


Build the user cases

Set up a governance advisory group to develop a framework for transparent and secure management of the data platform

Identify and explore engagement opportunities with key data owners, within and beyond Friends of Ocean Action

Call for the liberation of Ocean data showcasing benefits and utility

Investigate development and soft launch of potential user cases (e.g. Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing and Marine Protected Areas)

The Friends of Ocean Action to collaborate and mobilize partner networks to develop additional cases

Roadmap for the development of potential new user cases (including for the Port State Measures Agreement)

Scope financial sustainability mechanisms to ensure continued operations


Identify key partners

Governance framework tested, and case studies built

Establish the Friends of Ocean Action as the platform for stimulating front-end user applications and sharing best practices

Allow integration of on-board data to track performance against environmental and social requirements

Support Global Fishing Watch capability, including AIS VMS data for all important countries

Align with, and support, UN Decade of Ocean Science to highlight data gaps and call for open Ocean research

Financing Ocean Innovation


The challenge

If the Ocean was an economy, it would be the world’s seventh largest, worth US $24 trillion. This vast economic worth is at risk due to pollution, climate change and overfishing.

The action track

Identifying and developing a suite of investment solutions, taking into account the diverse nature of Ocean issues, that are built to cater for specific issues needs and create a collaborative and pre-competitive space for investors, Ocean experts and innovators to work together and identify, implement, scale up investable solutions that will restore Ocean health




Financial institutions


Technology innovators


Identify Ocean financing gaps and build a mechanism to address them

Mapped existing and emerging Ocean funds and investment tools, and ways to scale them up

Initiated conversations with key experts on how to scale up investment and highlight the economic opportunity

Convened meeting with entities engaged in Ocean risk

Identified and got received by in the role of the Friends of Ocean Action network in understanding and unblocking the financing landscape for ocean and work to be carried forward to 2020, as underpinning system for the remaining Action Tracks


Identify and develop key guiding investment frameworks that can unlock systemic change

Identify the most critical areas that are ripe for investable solutions

Identify the suite of asset classes and investment mechanisms specifically designed to the core topics of Ocean sustainable development to unlock financing particularly coming from the private sector

Produce a report that provides a clear understanding of Ocean related investment frameworks and finance approach in order to foster Ocean finance and risk-opportunity narrative

Ensure financing becomes the underscoring building block for the other topics and action tracks that the Friends of Ocean Action are working on


Launch and operationalise the targeted and diversified asset classes at the UN Ocean Conference

Establish the architecture of a pre-competitive platform

Launch new Ocean finance platform specifically looking at the tech space with diverse investment strategies and portfolio of supporters

Collaborate with key accelerators in the run up to the UN Ocean Conference in bringing to a global stage a suite of high impact tech solutions for Ocean

Showcase examples of return in investment and further potential financial and economic benefits from Ocean financing

Eliminating Harmful Fisheries Subsidies


The challenge

Nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. There is no doubt that fisheries subsidies play a big role. Without them, we could slow the overexploitation of fish stocks, deal with the overcapacity of fishing fleets, and tackle the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The action track

Mobilise key stakeholders, governments and organisations to take concrete action towards the elimination of harmful fisheries subsidies and advance this issue at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)


SDG 14.6


International Centre on Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)

The Pew Charitable Trust



Fisheries sector

UN Agencies

Champion country governments


Engage key stakeholders and develop Action Plan

Identified most engaged and impactful actors

Mapped existing initiatives

Explored potential of engagement with G20 and G7 countries

Action Plan developed

Engaged World Trade Organization

Initiated political mapping and evaluated best role for Friends of Ocean Action


Develop WTO recommendations and engage champion countries

Organize meetings with WTO Director General and other key leaders

Explore and develop action plan for Friends of Ocean Action engagement and contribution

Explore opportunities for calling for a thematic mini-ministerial conference on SDG 14.6 to be held in 2019 in Geneva

Convene key stakeholders

Identify and engage champion states (e.g. China and India)

Develop key recommendations for WTO negotiations

Ministerial Decision on Fisheries Subsidies consistent with SDG 14.6 agreed at mini-ministerial


Showcase success at UN Ocean Conference and WTO Ministerial

Aiming for a Ministerial Decision on Fisheries Subsidies agreed by thematic mini-ministerial in Geneva, consistent with SDG 14.6

Demonstrate how countries are implementing commitments and how The Friends is supporting them