A new platform aims to mobilise different stakeholders for a more committed maritime policy.
A new platform aims to mobilise different stakeholders for a more committed maritime policy. Shutterstock/Tawansak

Headline: International Ocean Governance Forum


With IASS support, the European Commission is in the process of developing a new platform for discussion and exchange on international ocean governance: the International Ocean Governance Forum (IOG Forum). Ocean actors and stakeholders are invited to participate in the Forum's online-seminars, thematic workshops, conferences and online consultations and develop joint proposals to advance the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean. In this way the IOG Forum is contributing to the further development of European Union policy on international ocean governance.

EU aims to strengthen international ocean governance

In their 2016 Joint Communication "International Ocean Governance (IOG): an agenda for the future of our oceans"", the European Commission and the EU High Representative set out how the EU can contribute to more sustainable use of the world's ocean and seas. The proposed measures are intended to strengthen the regulatory framework for international ocean governance, reduce the pressures on the ocean, ensure sustainable use of marine resources, and expand knowledge on the ocean.

This IOG Agenda is one of the EU's contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular to Sustainable Development Goal 14, which focuses on the protection and sustainable use of the ocean, seas and their resources. In the three years since the Joint Communication, progress has been made towards many of the targets set by the IOG Agenda. Nevertheless, policy challenges remain which can only be addressed through strong partnerships, multilateral dialogue, and international cooperation.

New platform unites ocean governance actors

Led by the Directorate-General for Marine Affairs and Fisheries (DG Mare), the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) are now developing a new dialogue platform for actors and stakeholders involved in various aspects of ocean governance. The aim is to work out joint solutions to address challenges related to ocean conservation and the sustainable use of the ocean, and make recommendations for how the EU can play a more effective role in international ocean governance.

The IASS is involved in both the conceptual development and implementation of the new platform, the International Ocean Governance (IOG) Forum. The IOG Forum aims to mobilise states, international and regional organisations, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders to further advance policy and action for improved ocean governance and foster fruitful exchange between these actors through targeted activities. These will include:

  • Conferences and online-seminars
  • Thematic working groups (TWGs) with online-seminars and workshops
  • Online surveys und consultations

The working groups will focus on the following issues:

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission and the project consortium adjusted the format of the launch event, originally planned as a face-to-face meeting in Brussels, and other planned activities to ensure that experts and actors can engage in a constructive dialogue despite the existing restrictions.

Thus instead of the planned launch event, three introductory online-seminars were held from 22 to 24 April 2020 to present the aims of the IOG Forum and the focus of working groups, and gather initial feedback from international experts and actors. The work programme, which encompasses further thematic online workshops and a targeted online consultation in addition to these online-seminars, is being continually refined and implemented in close cooperation with the European Commission and the project partners. Together with TMG - Think Tank for Sustainability, the IASS is contributing to the conceptual development and implementation of the IOG Forum's activities in the area of international ocean governance (TWG 1).

This project is funded by the European Commission's Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).