“Life Below Water” Workshop at IPI Suggests Goals for UN Ocean Conference

A workshop on “Life Below Water” was held at IPI on February 13th, 2017 to gather advice and counsel for participants in an Ocean Conference to be held at the United Nations in June.

The Ocean Conference is the first of its kind, providing a forum for member states to adopt a call to action outlining concrete, action-oriented commitments to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. SDG 14 outlines the UN’s commitment to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

The workshop was co-sponsored by Secure Fisheries, One Earth Future Foundation, the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations, the World Ocean Council and the International Peace Institute. The discussion was conducted under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution.

The key takeaways from the event were:

June’s Ocean Conference should establish multi-stakeholder, expert working groups for SDG 14 to work in coordination with UN agencies. These working groups would allow for multi-stakeholder engagement by matching the specific needs and capabilities of member states–such as access to technology, capacity building and funding–with the services of the relevant stakeholders.

The forum further recommended that the international community strengthen data-sharing initiatives between stakeholders. Specifically, it endorsed the establishment of a data-collection hub for the purpose of better identifying gaps and avoiding overlapping efforts, while building trust and creating synergies between the various communities, including governments, scientists and industry.

The workshop also highlighted the importance of incentivizing the implementation of SDG 14 to finance ministries and industry representatives worldwide. It was suggested that an expert working group be established in order to “make the case” for the economic benefits of sustainable interaction with the world’s seas and oceans.

Lastly, the workshop advocated a global communication strategy that would lay out an aspirational vision for the oceans. This strategy would employ a “naming and faming” approach, putting the emphasis on ocean success stories that support bringing the aims of SDG 14 to bear at all levels–global, regional, national and municipal–and would be targeted towards civil society, the private sector, academics, practitioners, and ordinary citizens.

Welcoming remarks were made by IPI Vice President Adam Lupel.

Jimena Leiva-Roesch, IPI Research Fellow, served as a chair during the discussions. 

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