Healthy oceans form the basis of human life. They provide a vital source of sustenance, regulate the global climate, and host a wealth of biodiversity. Humans use the world’s oceans in many different ways, but a lack of adequate frameworks to manage the exploitation of marine resources by diverse interest groups is putting them under severe pressure. The “Ocean Governance” project conducts research to support the development of standards and regulatory frameworks necessary to facilitate the sustainable management of oceans and marine resources.
Developing frameworks for transboundary governance
Our researchers are studying existing frameworks and processes governing transboundary and transsectoral regulation and management in an effort to answer three key questions: How can marine biodiversity be protected in areas beyond national jurisdiction? What regulatory frameworks do we need to manage the mining of deep seabed mineral resources that belong to the common heritage of mankind? And how can the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals be translated into policy processes and legally binding measures?
Identifying solutions to sustainability challenges
This research will improve our understanding of innovative approaches to ocean governance and will engage relevant stakeholders and actors in dialogue to build upon these insights. These activities will contribute to analyses of existing and emerging challenges in the field of ocean governance and highlight opportunities to improve the protection and sustainable management of the world’s oceans, coasts and marine resources.
Ocean sustainability research at the IASS
The “Ocean Governance” project is the umbrella for a range of research activities in the field of ocean sustainability at the IASS. This project is flanked by a number of other initiatives, including the COST-Action “Ocean Governance for Sustainability”, which aims to establish a European-wide research network. Other activities in this area include the development of a partnership for regional ocean governance in cooperation with UNEP, IDDRI and TMG-Think Tank for Sustainability, and third-party funded research on the development of ecological safeguards for deep seabed mining (funded by the Federal Environment Agency) and around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for Oceans and Coasts (funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented in cooperation with the German Agency for International Development).
01/2017 to 12/2020
Project partners (selected):
- Scientific partners: “Future Ocean” Cluster Of Excellence | Kiel Marine Science (Kiel University and GEOMAR); German Marine Research Consortium (KDM); Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI); TMG – Think Tank for Sustainability; Leibniz Centre for Marine Tropical Research (ZMT); University of Tokyo; Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS); International Ocean Institute (IOI); Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI)
- Federal government: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ); Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB); Federal Foreign Office (AA); Federal Environment Agency (UBA); Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN); German Agency for International Development (GIZ)
- International organisations: UNEP, Abidjan Convention Secretariat, Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS), Nairobi Convention Secretariat, Sargasso Sea Commission, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- Civil society: WWF, PEW Charitable Trusts, Birdlife International
Ocean governance, marine resources, fragmentation, transboundary, sustainability, partnership, regional ocean governance, regional cooperation
Scientific Project Leader: Sebastian Unger
Research Associates: Stefanie Schmidt, Carole Durussel
Project Coordinator - Deep Seabed Mining: Sabine Christiansen
Research Associates: Kate Houghton, Yvonne Waweru
Senior Fellow: Janna Shackeroff
Research Assistant: Stefanie Hansen