New Global Partnership to Save Life in the Ocean Launched at the World Economic Forum

25 Jan 2018

Fon Mathuros, Head of Media, World Economic Forum: Tel.: +41 (0)79 201 0211; Email:

· Friends of Ocean Action will draw together 40 of the world’s most committed and influential leaders from science, technology, business, non-governmental groups and international organizations, announced by Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, and Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean

· Founder and Chairman Marc Benioff announces $4.5 million support for the new partnership through the Benioff Ocean Initiative

· Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, also announced a High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, at the Annual Meeting

· The 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is taking place on 23-26 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, under the theme Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World

· For more information,

Davos, Switzerland, 25 January 2018 – An ambitious new global partnership to save life in the ocean – the Friends of Ocean Action – was announced today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, invited the Forum to work with his office to create the partnership.

This multistakeholder partnership will comprise leaders from science, technology, business and non-governmental groups. It will draw together about 40 of the world’s most committed and influential ocean activists and thought leaders to help shape global action to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources).

Similar to the action agenda on climate change, which emerged in the run-up to the Paris Climate Conference, the Friends of Ocean Action will design and deliver a multistakeholder “Ocean Action Track” to complement the official intergovernmental processes for meeting SDG 14, which are also overseen by Thomson.

“The Friends of Ocean Action will represent a unique combination of innovation, resources, motivation and solutions from actors across different sectors, building on the mobilization that was achieved at the Ocean Conference. They will use their combined networks to scale and accelerate existing partnerships and initiatives and – where necessary – trigger new ones to help meet the ocean goal,” said Thomson.

Building on the spirit of the Ocean Conference held at the United Nations in New York in June 2017 under a Sweden-Fiji co-presidency, the Friends of Ocean Action will be co-chaired by Thomson and Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden.

“Urgent action is required to save life in the ocean. We face a generational challenge on our watch and we must rise to the task. Governments, United Nations agencies and international organizations cannot meet this challenge alone. The energy, innovation and resources from all sectors of public life and civil society and from all parts of our business, finance, technology and scientific communities must be drawn upon, from all regions of the world. This is why we are forming the Friends of Ocean Action,” Lövin said.

Salesforce Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff also announced a $4.5 million gift through the Benioff Ocean Initiative to support the new partnership. “Now is the time to take action to save our oceans and deal with major issues such as ocean plastics, over-fishing and acidification “ said Marc Benioff. “There will soon be more plastic in the ocean than fish. If we all act now, we can turn this tragedy into triumph.”

The World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security will support this influential group, helping them build an informal platform for action on SDG 14 to complement official multi-government efforts.

“The Friends of Ocean Action is a unique three-year, time-bound, public-private initiative that will set itself specific goals and foster a portfolio of high-level, impactful initiatives for the proposed UN Ocean Conference to be held in 2020. We are delighted to help advance this important initiative,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership at the World Economic Forum.

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, also launched the High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy. It will consist of heads of government from coastal states coming together to raise global awareness and mobilize political action for responsible ocean management.

“The ocean’s potential for meeting future needs and providing growth, income and jobs for millions of people is huge. We, therefore, need to highlight the importance of the ocean economy for sustainable development. The High-level Panel will focus on the close relationship between clean and healthy oceans, sustainable use of ocean resources, and economic growth and development”, Solberg said.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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