COST-Action on “Ocean Governance for Sustainability – Challenges, Options, and the Role of Science”

Oceans play a key role in the sustainability debate. Human impacts already adversely affect almost half of the world’s oceans. The international community needs to take swift action to protect oceans and coasts and achieve more sustainable use of water resources. However, the current legal and political regulatory frameworks for the oceans are highly fragmented and of limited scope.

The COST Action on “Ocean Governance for Sustainability – Challenges, Options, and the Role of Science” is a transdisciplinary network of 58 actors that seeks to come up with approaches for a consistent governance architecture. The IASS represents Germany on the Management Committee of COST Action. COST stands for European Cooperation in Science and Technology and is the longest running framework to support transnational cooperation between researchers, engineers and other experts in Europe.

A new governance architecture for Europe

Through its activities, COST Action provides scientists and policymakers with impulses for a better regulatory framework for oceans. In inter- and transdisciplinary workshops, the network encourages an exchange of ideas at international level, while strengthening regional dialogue at the same time. In working groups on different topics, natural and social scientists will produce output that cuts across both academic fields and disseminate it through various channels. At the same time, the network will create a broad platform for institutional partners from academia, civil society and policy institutes with the aim of bridging the gap between science and policy.

Intensive PR operation for COST Action

Research findings will be presented, for example, in EU policy briefs and are intended to inform concrete policy decisions. Further publication platforms include the quarterly OceanGov Newsletter and the OceanGov website, where information on events and activities is provided and publications and audiovisual material related to COST Action are published. Participants will also present the network at major conferences and policy forums.


Sebastian Unger

+49 (0)331 288 22 328


09/2016 to 09/2020

Project partners:


ocean governance, ocean governance research, land-sea interaction, area-based fisheries management, food security and fisheries, marine spatial planning


Scientific Project Leader: Sebastian Unger

Research Associate: Stefanie Schmidt

With the support of colleagues from third-party funded projects

Supervising Directors: Prof. Patrizia Nanz, Prof. Mark Lawrence