In his opening remarks to the conference, IASS Founding Director Klaus Töpfer emphasized the urgent need for international cooperation to protect the oceans and highlighted the importance of the climate strike movement and the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. The time for action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on “Life Below Water” (SDG 14) is now, he said. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP, highlighted four steps that foster a healthy marine environment: fighting climate change, rethinking fisheries, putting land-based pollution into the ocean agenda, and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems.
Aiming to develop clear recommendations, catalyze actionable outputs, and build partnerships for stronger regional ocean governance in support of SDG 14, the Marine Regions Forum provides a space for decision-makers, scientists, and civil society from around the world to discuss solutions for ocean health.
The Forum features interactive plenary and parallel dialogue sessions on the following themes:
- Achieving SDG 14, including issues such as the fight against marine plastic pollution, the establishment of networks of marine protected areas, the development of sustainable coastal and marine tourism, and strengthened regional frameworks for coordinated SDG 14 implementation;
- Underpinning global processes, including the role of regional approaches as strategic levers for key global processes for ocean sustainability, and regional-level engagement on emerging issues such as deep seabed mining; and
- Knowledge for ocean action, focusing on the generation of policy-relevant scientific information and the challenges of integrating different types of knowledge.
More information about the ongoing discussions can be found here: https://enb.iisd.org/oceans/marine-regions-forum/2019/