Headline: Marine Regions Forum 2019: Achieving a healthy ocean – regional ocean governance beyond 2020. Conference Report

In 2017, at the UN Ocean Conference in New York and the Our Ocean Conference in Malta, Germany and the European Union announced their support for establishing a "cross-sectoral and cross-bound-ary multi-stakeholder platform for regional ocean governance" under the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG)1. This important commitment was delivered through the development of the Marine Regions Forum, a participatory, knowledge-based platform at the science-policy-society interface. The first Marine Regions Forum was held from 30 September to 2 October 2019 in Berlin, under the banner Achieving a healthy ocean - Regional ocean governance beyond 2020. The Forum provided a unique space for open and productive exchange on pressing ocean issues, bringing together over 200 leading experts from 50 countries representing diverse marine regions and backgrounds, from academia and research, policy and decision-making, non-governmental organisations and industry, the arts and media. Keen to move beyond simply restating the challenges, participants jointly ex-plored the obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve the sustainable development goal (SDG) 14 and developed new pathways and solutions for accelerating progress. Discussions focussed on the role of regional governance approaches in particular and underpinned the importance of inte-grating knowledge and decision-making for sustainable ocean futures. In addition to eighteen parallel dialogue sessions running under the three conference themes Achiev-ing SDG 14 (Theme 1), Underpinning global processes (Theme 2) and Knowledge for ocean action (Theme 3), the Marine Regions Forum 2019 had daily plenary sessions that ensured the infusion of new ideas and ways of thinking and helped to deepen the debates among participants. Keynote speakers and plenary panellists from different sectors and marine regions reflected on the Marine Regions Forum's discussion topics and shared their views on the role of regions and options for ac-celerating progress. Side activities offered during conference breaks helped to create an inspiring Ocean Realm and offered space for reflection and networking. The Marine Regions Forum 2019 came at a crucial time for global ocean governance. Our ocean is in crisis, threatening the health of marine ecosystems and the vital ecosystem services they provide to humankind. There is nonetheless cause for hope, as the international community is proactively respond-ing by: implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDG 14; negotiating a new legally-binding instrument for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ); integrating ocean issues into the climate discussions; and developing the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021 - 2030). Although these actions offer windows of opportunity, they require strong engagement, coordination and cooperation by marine regions. The year 2020 will be a year of stock-taking and criti-cal review to determine whether our actions are sufficiently ambitious to meet the challenges. The Marine Regions Forum 2019 has shown that the Forum is well positioned to provide solution-oriented input into these processes by bringing together the expertise and insights of actors and stakeholders from different backgrounds and regions, helping to develop integrated answers to the most pressing challenges, and facilitating collective strategies for the period beyond 2020. This conference report aims to provide a summary of the discussions held and recommendations developed during three intense but invigorating conference days. It has been prepared in cooperation with the organisers, moderators, co-hosts and rapporteurs of the dialogue sessions, plenaries and side activities. The conference organisers have, in consultation with the participants of the Marine Regions Forum, prepared conclusions that have emerged from the Marine Regions Forum 2019. These conference messages will be submitted as a solution-oriented input to key ocean governance processes. It is thanks to the over 200 participants and their open dialogue and sharing of experiences, that the space and arrangements became a room for ocean solutions and delivered clear messages to the international ocean governance community.

Publication Year
2020
Publication Type
Reports
Citation

Marine Regions Forum 2019: Achieving a healthy ocean – regional ocean governance beyond 2020. Conference Report.(2020). Potsdam, Berlin, Paris: Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS); Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI); TMG - ThinkTank for Sustainability (TMG).

DOI
10.2312/iass.2020.001
Links
https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/rest/items/item_5041891_8/component/file_5…
Staff involved
Projects involved
PROG Marine Regions Forum - International Forum to Strengthen Regional Ocean Governance