Reversing the rapid decline in ocean health is critical to addressing climate change. It is a global challenge requiring a global solution. Our oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface, generate over 50% of the world’s oxygen, absorb half the carbon produced and account for 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. Ocean Health is critical for economic and food security reasons, with over 100 million households livelihoods dependent on the fisheries industry and 3 billion dependent on seafood as their primary protein.
All indicators on ocean health indicate a biosphere in rapid decline. Demand for seafood is increasing, yet most of the world’s fisheries are in collapse with 85% fully exploited. Ocean acidification and sea temperature rise have led to coral bleaching and increasing ocean dead-zones. Many scientists fear we are on the brink of a large scale maritime extinction event unless urgent action is taken.
The World Economic Forum’s Ocean Action Agenda project supports a range of initiatives and events from the public and private sectors to ensure the long term sustainable use of the Ocean. Designed as a PPP delivery mechanism to help advance SDG 14 ('Life Below Water'), the New Ocean Vision offers a platform for key industries to work together with government, civil society and the scientific community on implementation and accountability. This unprecedented multistakeholder coalition seeks to improve ocean management by exploring cross-cutting opportunities and leveraging new technologies to scale promising solutions. It has three primary objectives through 2020:
1) Partner with the office of the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean to spearhead the creation of a global platform to shape and drive an action track for SDG 14.
The "Ocean Action Track" will help identify, scale and accelerate innovative ideas and projects which many in the Ocean community are already engaged in, including the 1400 commitments registered by the UN Ocean Conference in June 2017. It will be an informal, ad hoc, globally representative, cross-sector mechanism to support the Ocean Action agenda. A key component of the action track, supported by the Forum's 4IR for the Earth project, will be harnessing technology for Ocean action. 2) Mobilize a cross-sectoral "Friends of Ocean Action" group to advance the Ocean Action Track
. Chaired by the Special Envoy, with leadership support from the political, scientific, NGO and business community, the Friends of Ocean Action will provide an influential community of 40-60 leaders in the cause of Ocean action. The World Economic Forum will create a small secretariat to support this group and its work on the Ocean Action Track. The secretariat will be based in Geneva and work closely with the Special Envoys’ office. 3) Mobilize additional finance in support of the Ocean Action Track
. Leveraging the Forum's network and unique position as a neutral convener in support of SDG 14, the NVO team will identify and pursue funding from philanthropic organizations, donor agencies and high net worth individuals in support of the Ocean Action Track.