The Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth took place from 22-25 April 2014, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Summit was organized by the government of the Netherlands, in close collaboration with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank and the governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Mauritius, Norway and the US.
Over 600 participants attended the meeting, representing governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia and the private sector. Delegates heard several substantive presentations on the relationships between ocean health, global food security, livelihoods and economic growth, in the face of challenges such as climate change, pollution, overfishing and habitat loss. In six working groups, delegates discussed: balancing growth and conservation; private sector and social equity; areas beyond national jurisdiction and exclusive economic zones; models for governance; financing mechanisms; and action-oriented partnerships. The Summit also included a substantial high-level segment, with over 80 ministers, CEOs and heads of organizations attending from around the world.
The meeting was characterized by an eagerness to move from problem definition to concrete action, and by a focus on responding to the question of “what we are going to do differently, starting on Monday?” It produced a meeting report containing principles and recommendations charting a pathway towards positioning ocean health and “blue growth” more prominently on the international development agenda.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL OCEANS POLICY AND MANAGEMENT
The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, was the first major international gathering to address issues related to sustainable development at the global level. UNCED participants adopted Agenda 21, a plan for achieving sustainable development in the 21st century. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 calls for new and integrated approaches to the sustainable development of oceans and coasts, and the Rio Principles on environment and development introduced the precautionary principle as a new approach to ocean-related agreements.
POST-UNCED AGREEMENTS AND ACTIVITIES: Since UNCED, significant progress has been made in the development of legislation, agreements and programmes of action at the international level. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) entered into force in 1994, and provides an overall framework for other ocean-related agreements. The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Jakarta Mandate on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity (Jakarta Mandate) and the UN Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UN Fish Stocks Agreement, or UNFSA) were all adopted in 1995. UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme, launched in 1974 in the wake of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, continued after UNCED to guide the process of regional cooperation.
Numerous efforts in capacity building and marine and coastal management have also been undertaken at national and local levels, including the creation of policy frameworks and the establishment of protected areas and conservation projects. Investments by the private sector in partnership with governments, advances in technology and scientific research, and non-governmental organization (NGO) efforts to raise public awareness have all contributed to the evolution of sustainable development and management of marine and coastal areas.
WSSD: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) convened from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The outcomes of the Summit included the adoption of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, which contains a number of goals and targets related to oceans management, including: encouraging the application of the ecosystem approach by 2010 for the sustainable development of the oceans; promoting integrated coastal and ocean management at the national level, and encouraging and assisting countries in developing ocean policies and mechanisms on integrated coastal management; protecting the marine environment from land-based activities; achieving a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010; developing and facilitating the use of diverse approaches and tools; eliminating destructive fishing practices; establishing marine protected areas consistent with international law and based on scientific information, including representative networks by 2012; eliminating subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to overcapacity; and maintaining or restoring depleted fish stocks to levels that can produce their maximum sustainable yield on an urgent basis and where possible no later than 2015.
GLOBAL CONFERENCES ON OCEANS, COASTS AND ISLANDS: At the WSSD in 2002, an informal coordinating group established the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands. The Forum is comprised of individuals from governments, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and the private sector, and serves as a platform for cross-sectoral information sharing and dialogue on issues affecting oceans, coasts and islands, with the goal of attaining sustainable development in these areas. Following a first conference in Paris in December 2001, the Forum organized four additional Global Conferences on Oceans, Coasts and Islands in 2003, 2006 (both in Paris, France), 2008 (Hanoi, Viet Nam) and 2010 (Paris, France). The conferences assessed essential issues in the governance of the world’s oceans, with a focus on moving toward an ecosystem-based and integrated approach to oceans governance at national, regional, and global levels. At the 2008 meeting, for the first time, a concerted effort was made to bring oceans policy together with climate change issues. At the 2010 meeting, participants drew up a joint action plan to further mobilize citizens and civil society around the world.
UN FISH STOCKS AGREEMENT: Annual Informal Consultations of States Parties to UNFSA were held from 200-2009. In 2010, mandated by Article 36 of UNFSA and by General Assembly resolutions 63/112 and 64/72, the UNFSA Review Conference convened and recommends further actions in a range of areas. A key issue addressed was the conservation and management of fish stocks, including outcomes on sharks, the ecosystem approach, excess fishing capacity and developing states’ abilities to develop their fisheries. The outcome also addresses: mechanisms for international cooperation; monitoring, control and surveillance, compliance and enforcement; and developing countries and non-parties to the UNFSA. In addition, the document provides guidance on the future of the UNFSA process, establishing that the Informal Consultations of States Parties would continue and also that the formal Review Conference could resume, although not until at least 2015.
WORKING GROUP ON MARINE BIODIVERSITY IN AREAS BEYOND NATIONAL JURISDICTION: UN General Assembly resolution 59/24 of 17 November 2004 established the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group of the General Assembly to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The Working Group was established to, inter alia: examine the scientific, technical, economic, legal, environmental, socioeconomic and other aspects of the conservation and sustainable use of BBNJ; and indicate, where appropriate, possible options and approaches to promote international cooperation and coordination for the conservation and sustainable use of such biodiversity. The Working Group has met seven times to date, most recently from 1-4 April 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting was the first of three meetings (April 2014, June 2014 and January 2015) convened by the UN General Assembly through its resolution 68/70 to discuss the scope, parameters and feasibility of a possible new international instrument on BBNJ under UNCLOS. The outcome of these meetings is expected to contribute to a decision to be taken at the sixty-ninth session of the UN General Assembly.
REPORT OF THE SUMMIT
OPENING STATEMENTS: On Tuesday, 22 April, Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture of the Netherlands, opened the Summit. She noted that most of the challenges facing oceans are already well documented, emphasizing that there can be no food security without sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. She identified important elements in developing a strategic road map for action, including: learning from success stories; reducing subsidies that encourage overfishing; encouraging partnerships and international cooperation; developing ecosystem-based approaches in management, including selective fisheries methods; and focusing on local communities.
Jozias van Aartsen, Mayor of The Hague, pointed out that climate-smart agriculture has become a household phrase, expressing hope that a similar smart oceans policy may be derived from the Summit. Stressing the vital role of oceans for coastal regions, economic development, food security and cultural identity, he called for creative, innovative and ambitious global-scale action to protect marine resources, ultimately contributing to peace and justice.
Through a video message, Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, outlined the World Bank’s work regarding conservation, pollution and illegal fishing. He stressed the need to recognize the links between economies, communities and the sustainability of ecosystems to promote blue growth and healthy economies.
Árni Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, shed light on challenges and opportunities related to the blue economy concept. He identified several justifications for blue growth and reflected on major challenges, including overfishing and climate change. He stressed that the blue economy is “not an appendix in the sustainability agenda,” underscoring its importance and the sense of urgency.
FEEDBACK FROM RELEVANT OCEANS MEETINGS: Sharif Cicip Sutardjo, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, reported on the Asia Conference on Oceans, Food Security and Blue Growth held in Bali, Indonesia in June 2013. He said its recommendations included: employing science and policy at local and global levels to support a sustainable increase in food production; addressing poverty alleviation and shared prosperity; encouraging strong governance, focusing on sustainable and equitable uses of ocean and water resources; improving market access and value chain efficiency; and providing viable and bankable financial mechanisms.
Charles Goddard, The Economist Asia Pacific, reported on The Economist World Ocean Summit held in San Francisco, US, in February 2014. He emphasized The Economist’s role within the debate, bringing the science, business, technology and political communities together to discuss economic and policy tools to sustainably manage ocean resources. He noted the meeting’s call for better ocean governance, and stressed the need to “encourage, include and incentivize” the private sector for the sustainable management of ocean resources.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, and coordinating lead author of the Oceans chapter in the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, delivered a keynote address on “Positioning the ocean within the global action landscape.” He described some of the challenges faced by oceans, including climate change, chemical and plastic pollution, and overfishing, stressing the resulting threats to coastal livelihoods, global food security and ecosystems.
Hoegh-Guldberg said devastating changes are already occurring in the oceans due to climate change, and noted that these changes make the task of responding to other ocean challenges much harder, if not impossible. He underlined that not dealing with climate change is unthinkable, as dead zones would expand and fisheries would have no future. However, he said timely, global action can still turn the tide, solutions exist, and the cost of implementing these solutions amounts to less than three percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) over 30 years. Hoegh-Guldberg concluded that the Summit provides an opportunity to establish an agenda for ocean action and “create the necessary perfect storm of change.” He called on participants to widely spread messages of hope and brilliant ideas, including through social media.
PANEL DISCUSSION: On Tuesday morning, Zeinab Badawi, BBC, moderated a panel discussion on the theme “Perspectives on ocean challenges as well as opportunities for transformation.”
Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment, Seychelles, underscored the importance of small businesses and argued that inclusivity is more important than growth in economic terms. He concluded that blue growth is not only about financial concerns, but also encompasses considerations including social growth, local communities and the role of women.
Fatou Mboob, TRY Oyster Women’s Association, The Gambia, advocated a bottom-up approach, stressing that addressing the grassroots, as well as understanding experiences and needs of local populations, is crucial for any sustainable path.
Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, Rockefeller Foundation, proposed that some of the challenges be regarded as development challenges rather than as ocean problems. She called for a gender approach as well as inclusive blue growth, preventing marginalized groups from lagging behind.
Sebastian Troëng, Conservation International, noted the need to incentivize achievements and scale those solutions up. He called for fixing the economic compass by incorporating ecosystem values, noting that while awareness has grown, the status quo has deteriorated.
Underscoring the importance of the involvement of local communities, Lori Kennedy, Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd, pointed out that these communities may be devastated by large fishing companies, and that multilateral agreements are needed to prevent this.
Stephen Hall, WorldFish, said that a balance is needed between small enterprises and larger ones, noting that current efforts are fragmented and should be aligned. He pointed out the need to address the issues in a broader context, noting that discussions tend to focus on the resource, while other considerations such as market or infrastructure access should also be taken into account.
Six working groups met throughout the week, addressing: balancing growth and conservation; private sector and social equity; areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) and exclusive economic zones (EEZs); models for governance; financing mechanisms; and action-oriented partnerships. Each working group addressed three different themes, in consecutive sessions.
BALANCING GROWTH AND CONSERVATION: This working group was moderated by Angus Friday, Ambassador of Grenada to the US, and discussed growth, conservation, and solutions.
Growth: On Tuesday, Chair Friday called for a focus on concrete solutions. Scott Nichols, Verlasso, addressed aquaculture and its potential to contribute to feeding an increasing global population. He highlighted the use of fishmeal and fish oil in the diets of farmed fish, underscoring that it is not sustainable to continue to harvest wild fish to feed farmed fish.
Naseegh Jaffer, World Forum of Fisher Peoples, underlined the constant marginalization of coastal fishing communities. He stressed the importance of small-scale fishing, and defined growth as an increasing number of communities with access to food rather than the accumulation of wealth.
Randall Brummett, World Bank, addressed ways to increase aquaculture production, taking into account existing limitations. He stressed that engaging the poorest of the poor in this process has multiple positive effects concerning income distribution.
Peter Gullestad, Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, prioritized improving governance that he said is currently characterized by deficiencies, and stressed the potential of coastal zone and offshore aquaculture.
Underscoring the importance of small-scale fisheries for stewardship and social equity as well as the need to bring all stakeholders together, John Tanzer, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Global Marine Programme, pointed out the importance of investment for restoration purposes that also involve habitats.
In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia: governance; capacity building and education; investment sources and trajectories; data and stock assessment improvement; degradation of coastal regions caused by other activities; inefficient use of fish products; and issues of ownership and benefits, especially at the micro-level.
Conservation: On Tuesday, John Tanzer stressed knowledge limitations, uncertainty levels and the importance of the precautionary principle. He underlined the need for integrated management, especially in developing countries.
Drawing from the Norwegian experience, Peter Gullestad pointed out that conservation is mainly characterized by traditional fisheries management, adding that if the latter is in place, it is much easier to address additional problems.
Advocating an ecosystem approach, Randall Brummett said current approaches are inadequate, and called for a functional working relationship between local communities and regulators.
Naseegh Jaffer suggested finding a balance between compliance and stewardship, underlining the importance of local knowledge and the extension of the notion of vulnerability impact assessment.
Stressing that aquaculture, as all agricultural activity, has an environmental effect, Scott Nichols focused on the importance of mitigating waste during fishing activities.
During the ensuing discussion, participants focused on: successes around the world, such as a holistic approach to fish sanctuaries in Jamaica; marine protected areas (MPAs) and their potential for proper management; secondary uses of by-products; traditional systems to control access to marine and coastal resources; public and private financing; the role of regional structures to promote good governance; institutional arrangements at the regional and national levels; and the limitations of conservation recommendations in the face of cultural differences.
Solutions: On Wednesday, Scott Nichols presented potential solutions on aquaculture. He addressed the importance of: research into the carrying capacity of farming areas; species improvement and breeding programmes; and close partnerships between research institutions and producers.
Naseegh Jaffer addressed small-scale fisheries, highlighting the significance of security of access to fishing grounds. He underlined that small-scale fisheries’ primary function is to facilitate local economic development, job creation and value added for local communities.
Randall Brummett addressed aquaculture challenges. Noting that growth stability may attract investment, he called for the creation of a coherent platform for producers to communicate and agree on rules. He called for innovation allowing for offshore aquaculture, but cautioned against the possibly resulting economies of scale that may threaten small-scale fisheries. He also expressed skepticism regarding the definition of “carrying capacity.”
Peter Gullestad addressed the need to reduce post-harvest losses and waste, and channel research towards aquaculture, exploring, among others, offshore options. He prioritized: good governance, which in this context he described as sustainable fisheries and aquaculture management; and reduced fishing capacity, underlining the importance of small-scale fisheries.
John Tanzer called for truly global and cross-sectorial initiatives on oceans and stressed the importance of governmental investment and systematic capacity building.
In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia: information on fish stocks and catch limits as compared to scientific recommendations; understanding of the essence of natural capital in each community; breeding systems and genetic diversity in connection to diseases in shrimp and salmon; quota systems and effective control; new technologies and related intellectual property rights; sanctuaries and MPAs; and peer-to-peer capacity building.
On Wednesday morning, working group Chair Friday reported the group’s deliberations to plenary.
PRIVATE SECTOR AND SOCIAL EQUITY: This working group was facilitated by Darren Brown, Logical Minds Consulting, and addressed: the role of the private sector in blue growth; ensuring equitable benefits for local economic development; and moving from talk to action.
Role of the private sector: On Tuesday, John Connelly, US National Fisheries Institute, reminded delegates that the private sector includes large- and small-scale fisheries, banks and technology firms, and called for a concrete definition of “blue growth.”
Pointing to greenhouse gas contributions from livestock, Neil Sims, Kampachi Farms LLC, referred to aquaculture as the “least impactful” protein source from a lifecycle analysis perspective.
Calling for the protection of small-scale fishers to ensure local economic development and food security, Margaret Nakato, World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers, reminded delegates to consider who has the capacity to invest, pointing to the differences between large- and small-scale fishermen.
Lori Kennedy, Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd, stressed the private sector’s role in contributing to blue growth’s innovation and vision. Sharing an example from Nova Scotia, Canada, where fish species are migrating northward due to climate change, she called for stakeholder collaboration to address new challenges, new markets and new methods to support sustainable fisheries.
Paul Holthus, World Ocean Council, encouraged delegates to see the bigger picture, noting sustainable seafood harvesting requires sustainable seas and marine ecosystems, stressing the need for leadership and collaboration to bring industries together.
Participants then discussed, inter alia: reconfiguring partnerships to address blue growth; improving transparency and inclusion; sharing planning examples along ocean floors, rivers and lakes; balancing scale; and encouraging regulatory frameworks for consistency and predictability.
They also addressed ways in which the private sector could facilitate blue growth, including: financing for scaling up innovative blue growth models; balancing profits and productivity with the ocean’s ability to sustain production; restoring depleted ecosystems; lauding MPA initiatives; supporting property rights for fisheries management; using “deep sea labs” to test blue growth models; remembering the competitive nature of the fisheries industry; and influencing diet preferences.
Equitable development: On Tuesday, Margaret Nakato shared an example of inclusive investment in the Lake Victoria region, stressing the importance of dialogue and community engagement to build trust and ownership, especially among local fisherwomen. John Connelly shared a market-based approach in the Asia-Pacific region wherein communities receive a higher price for a larger crab, ensuring long-term species sustainability. Recognizing that while aquaculture and fisheries are often depicted as opposing industries, Neil Sims shared an example of fish-aggregating devices, which have an incidental benefit to both. Lori Kennedy emphasized long-term community engagement to generate mutual respect and loyalty.
Concluding the discussion, participants addressed: women’s rights in the fisheries industry; benefits for local communities based on improved market access; goodwill, equity and “genuine and sustainable partnerships” to ensure inclusion; small- and medium-sized enterprises and policymakers working together to build a common language of a blue growth concept; and the private sector as the “growth in the blue.”
Action: On Wednesday, the working group identified concrete actions, splitting into seven brainstorming groups on: academia, research and innovation; international agreements; private-sector partnerships; investment; regulatory frameworks; enabling authentic partnerships; and other issues, including eco-labeling and MPAs.
The academia, research and innovation group identified the need for solution-focused and co-designed research, and working with local communities. They suggested financial institutions support blue economy research centers and rights-based management research.
The international agreements group highlighted “market inclusion or exclusion,” calling for actions to improve market access, capacity building and raising awareness of existing instruments.
The private-sector partnerships group identified “a common desire to work together” and suggested assembling real-world examples at local, regional and international scales while taking into account food security and livelihood concerns.
The investment group called for diverse investment responses, remembering ethical principles that build synergies with local communities.
The regulatory frameworks group identified how poor legislation on blue growth public-private partnerships can affect small-scale fishers. They called for collaboration and regulatory frameworks that support market predictability.
The participation group suggested convening conferences to share engagement strategies in order to enhance participation.
The “other issues” group discussed fisheries projects, certification schemes, inclusion and participation. They stressed recognizing and rewarding best practices, developing funding opportunities for communities to seek “value-added improvements” and promoting certified products.
In the ensuing discussion, participants acknowledged the importance of, inter alia: open data access; FAO and World Bank engagement in demonstration projects, focusing on scale, efficiency and certification; and diverse investment models, including NGOs or researchers to support initial ideas and investments. Participants also identified the link to climate change, and the need for “problem ownership” and communication with finance ministries.
On Wednesday, Margaret Nakato summarized the working group’s discussions in plenary.
ABNJ/EEZs: The working group on ABNJ and EEZs was facilitated by Martin Tsamenyi, Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security. It addressed illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, plastics in the marine environment, and cooperation.
IUU fishing: On Tuesday, David Balton, US Department of State, identified three “baskets of problems” relating to fisheries: overfishing, IUU fishing, and environmental damage resulting from fisheries, for instance excess by-catch. Balton noted that although IUU fishing is notoriously difficult to quantify, it seems to be increasing. He said many of the tools for combating IUU fishing have already been developed, for instance the Port State Measures Agreement, which was established in 2009, and is already implemented by various states and regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), but is yet to enter into force.
David Agnew, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), described successful actions undertaken to address IUU fishing, including: national government-initiated measures, such as increased patrolling; international initiatives, such as the Port State Measures Agreement; and civil society and industry actions, such as “naming and shaming.” He underlined the importance of cooperation between government and civil society. Describing the MSC certification scheme, he flagged the difficulties of preventing elements of IUU fishing from entering into the supply chain.
In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the need to: blacklist flag states that fail to comply with fishing regulations; increase data on IUU fishing; address national legal constraints; improve transparency; improve the effectiveness of certification and traceability schemes; remove incentives and increase disincentives for IUU fishing; build capacity; establish an international IUU database, including port state information; and develop ways to continually monitor and expose IUU players.
Plastics in the marine environment: On Tuesday, Jacqueline Alder, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), addressed the issue of marine plastic-based litter and its economic, social and environmental impacts. She identified microplastics as an emerging issue through plastic breakdown, manufacture of plastic products, and as microbeads purposely added to cosmetics. She says microplastics may have an ecotoxicological effect and cannot be removed from the environment. Among potential solutions, she highlighted regulatory, technological, social and economic approaches.
Edward Kleverlaan, International Maritime Organization, highlighted flag, port and coastal state measures required under various conventions, notably the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (the London Convention). He called for strategies to address the inadequacy of port reception facilities, including through regional cooperation and capacity building, and said enforcement of regulations relies on the political will and capacity of flag states. He also stressed the need for: new techniques, mechanisms and arrangements to prevent and remove marine debris; capacity building to improve enforcement of existing regimes; incentives for garbage collection; enhanced manufacturers’ responsibility; innovation in fishing gear design; and cleaner production and recycling initiatives.
Participants agreed that the primary cause of marine litter is the lack of solid waste management on land and that this problem needs to be addressed at the source. They also discussed the need to: assess the impact of plastic litter on marine life; actively involve all stakeholders, notably the private sector; increase the biodegradability of plastics; find alternatives to plastic; design a zero-waste economy; and incentivize abiding by existing regulations.
Cooperation: On Wednesday, the working group discussed strategies to improve cooperation.
Alejandro Anganuzzi, Global Coordinator for the ABNJ Tuna Project, said it is impossible for RFMOs to meet high expectations, noting that: they are not designed to make quick decisions; they rely on scientific information that is often outdated; their decisions are made by consensus; and developing states are often at a serious disadvantage. Identifying opportunities to improve RFMO performance, he stressed the need to first address the reasons for lack of compliance by their member states, and advocated new partnerships, increased transparency and accountability, and new ways of cooperation, including through capacity building.
Maurice Brownjohn, Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Office, described challenges related to fisheries in the PNA region. He said although many parties are small economies, such as Nauru and Tuvalu, they are in fact large ocean states, but the fisheries resources within their EEZs are threatened by foreign-owned vessels. He outlined various measures being taken under the Nauru Agreement, including inspections, vessel tracking, discard bans, and catch documentation schemes. He called upon foreign fishing nations to cooperate with PNA and ensure their participation and sharing in the economic benefits.
Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea, UN Office of Legal Affairs, addressed assistance to developing states. She said the principle of cooperation is firmly embedded in UNCLOS, which includes, among other things, an obligation to provide technical assistance to developing states, including: human resources development; financial assistance; advisory services; provision of information; and transfer of technology. Among persisting challenges, she identified the need for: sustainable financing, including through the UNFSA Assistance Fund; a coordinated and cross-sectoral approach; public-private partnerships; and progress assessment.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates discussed how to: move away from the current state-based model of RFMOs; make fisheries management less complex and more transparent; facilitate developing states’ access to RFMOs; and persuade large fishing nations to invest in sustainability and developing states’ participation. They also recommended: stronger cooperation between RFMOs and the UNEP Regional Seas Conventions; mechanisms to optimize the benefits to developing nations; transfer of fishing capacity to developing nations; ensuring optimal functioning of the UNFSA Assistance Fund; and a tax, auctioning or licensing regime for high seas fishing.
On Wednesday, working group Chair Tsamenyi reported the group’s deliberations to plenary.
MODELS FOR GOVERNANCE: This working group addressed integrated management, best-practice community management, and co-management of local fisheries.
Integrated Management: On Wednesday, Terje Lind, Ministry of Climate and Environment, Norway, chaired the session on integrated management of the marine ecosystem.
Per Schive, Ministry of Climate and Environment, Norway, presented Norway’s integrated management of the marine ecosystem (IMME), developed in partnership with nine ministries and taking into account scientific advice. He stressed the need for, inter alia: political will; information sharing; a spirit of compromise; and safeguards of ecosystem functions.
Leo de Vrees, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, stated that while there is often an assumption of “wide open spaces,” there are many competing activities in the marine environment, calling for management tools and marine spatial planning at sector, national, regional and European levels.
Darius Campbell, Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) Commission, identified OSPAR’s role to bring science and policy together via a risk-based approach and to facilitate collaboration between partner countries.
Elizabeth Taylor Jay, Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, stated only ten percent of marine areas are currently protected, leaving many communities vulnerable. She underscored the need to work with neighboring countries and local communities. In working with local communities, she stressed the importance of: using social codes of conduct and incentives; supporting alternative livelihoods; and creating flexible management plans.
Abou Bamba, UNEP, highlighted the Abidjan Convention, linking 22 Atlantic countries in Africa. Recognizing that Africa’s Atlantic is home to some of the most productive fishery zones, he underscored the “mob rush” for exploitation of its ocean and coastal resources. He pointed to barriers to implementation of good ocean governance, including a lack of political will, funding, institutional capacity, regional integration, assessments and surveillance.
Discussion focused on: the need for capacity building; sectorial responsibility in IMME strategies; inclusion of river basins in IMME; and IMME as a “cost versus saving approach” via conflict avoidance.
Summarizing the session, Chair Lind underscored the need to translate experiences into context-specific approaches, noting a World Bank draft report on IMME.
Best practice community management: On Wednesday, Valerie Hickey, World Bank, chaired the working group session on creating the conditions for best practice community management.
Nilanto Perbowo, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia, drew attention to traditional fishing practices, noting that in some communities, fishing only takes place in certain seasons, allowing fish stocks to recover.
Stephen Hall, WorldFish, stated community-based approaches to fisheries can lead to greater acceptance, particularly in marginalized communities. He stressed linking a “human rights dimension” to fisheries policy.
Michele Kuruc, WWF, reminded delegates that people in many marginalized communities are not always full-time fishers, calling for a more comprehensive and holistic view.
Regarding inclusion within management and consultation, Patricia Majluf, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru, noted that small- and large-scale fisheries are often treated differently.
Dale Gavin, Rare, addressed how to best support local communities in the adoption of sustainable fishing behaviors, emphasizing developing “pride of place.”
Delegates then engaged in an interactive debate, which resulted in the following five recommendations: giving voice and listening to fisher communities; facilitating access to information and expertise; facilitating market access; supporting rights; and offering direct payments.
On giving voice and listening to fisher communities, participants discussed: building trust; co-developing agendas; linking local voices to global discourses; and remembering small-scale fisheries operate like small-scale businesses, with a focus on survival.
On facilitating access to information and expertise, participants recommended: translating policies into local language and cultural contexts; engaging fisheries communities in research; employing community knowledge; and using social media.
On facilitating market access, participants favored: supporting artisanal fisheries, recognizing they often provide higher valued products; and taking into account intermediary market actors.
On supporting rights, participants suggested encouraging tenure rights and property management, and streamlining communication between governments and fisheries.
On offering direct payments, participants recommended: mandating stakeholder engagement in government policies, and providing support to do so; encouraging policies to reduce overfishing; and engaging communities by offering side benefits, such as training or supplemental income.
On Thursday, Lisa Svensson, Sweden’s Ambassador for Oceans, Seas and Freshwater, summarized the highlights of the previous two working group sessions in plenary. She underscored that there is no silver bullet and stressed the importance of enabling communities to be heard in international fora. She insisted that we should not wait for the perfect moment, but instead “learn by doing.”
From top-down to bottom-up: On Thursday, Tom Grasso, Environmental Defense Fund, chaired the session entitled “From top-down to bottom-up: transitioning to co-management of local fisheries.” Panelists included: Wes Erikson, a fourth-generation commercial fisherman, Canada; Momo Kochen, Fishing and Living, Indonesia; Cathy Demesa, Tinambac, Philippines; Raúl García, WWF Spain; and Sunoto Mes, Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia.
The panelists described experiences with co-management in their respective regions. In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the importance of, among other things: assigning leadership and clear roles in communities; communicating basic principles of environmental sustainability and blue growth; creating a network among fishermen to share ideas and build local capacity; establishing legal and policy frameworks that support co-management; promoting shared responsibilities; and harnessing outside financing and other incentivizing benefits to make the investment in transformation worthwhile.
FINANCING MECHANISMS: This working group addressed: insights from public, private, and multilateral institutions; financing the transition to sustainable blue economies; and banking on sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems.
Insights from institutions: On Wednesday, Lisa Svensson, Swedish Ambassador for Ocean, Seas and Freshwater, chaired the working group session entitled “Why invest in the ocean? Insights from public, private, and multilateral institutions.”
Leah Bunce Karrer, Global Environment Facility (GEF), elaborated on GEF initiatives aimed at improving ocean governance and partnerships. She emphasized that the GEF plays a key role not only in financing, but also in bringing together countries and key stakeholders. She clarified that the GEF provides grants, not loans, and also engages in co-financing and in-kind contributions.
Mark Cackler, World Bank, highlighted several partnerships aimed at increasing investment in healthy oceans, such as the Global Partnership for Oceans. He said these initiatives could provide financing, technical assistance as well as knowledge platforms.
Barry Gold, Moore Foundation, addressed principles of private funding, noting that foundations tend to seek leveraging through partnerships with public or private actors. He said the Moore Foundation is partner in a collaboration aimed at getting projects to the level where they are investible, and then linking them with potential investors. He also highlighted the advantages of rights-based management.
Delegates discussed alternative financing mechanisms, including through collaboration and partnerships with other sectors, such as tourism, coastal development, extractive industry and transport. One participant noted that such initiatives already exist, including under the Global Partnership for Oceans, the Global Islands Partnership and 50in10. Participants recommended: creating incentives rather than subsidies; innovating rather than just increasing catch levels; integrating natural capital accounting into the business models; regarding sustainability as best business practice; and approaching oceans issues from the investors’ perspective.
Financing the transition to sustainable blue economies – the potential for Blue Bonds: This session was held on Wednesday and was chaired by Justin Mundy, Prince’s Charities International Sustainability Unit. Mundy recalled the worldwide success of green bonds and wondered how to translate some of this success to the oceans context. He acknowledged that land-based energy and infrastructure investments may generate large profit relatively quickly, which is more difficult in the oceans context.
Christopher Flenborg, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), stressed that green bonds are ordinary bonds from a financial point of view. Although he noted the need to define “green,” he said the green bond has already proven a useful tool to enable the financial sector to engage in sustainability projects. Consequently, he identified a huge potential for blue bonds.
Peter Wheeler, The Nature Conservancy Europe, underlined the increasing popularity of bonds that support aims such as poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability. He said the advantage of bonds is that borrowers have to account for the money invested and report on results, and that their increasing popularity makes them financially more attractive. Reaffirming the fact that investing in oceans is more difficult than investing in sustainable energy or infrastructure, he said the challenge lies in identifying investment applications that will generate blue growth.
Larry Band, Independent Consultant on Blue Bonds, discussed ways to bring projects to the capital market. He said success depends on: the nature of the management framework; the capital need; the financial return proposition; investment structure; risk management; and adequate ways to track progress.
Michael Bennett, World Bank, shared lessons learned on how to tap into the power of bond markets. He stressed the importance of: scale, suggesting pooling projects to create a more attractive investment option; diversification, particularly geographically; limited complexity in communication with potential investors; and credit ratings.
Delegates also discussed, among other things: how to increase investors’ interest in impact bonds; third-party certification; parallels with microcredit; protecting community interests; and addressing corruption.
On Thursday, Lisa Svensson summarized the highlights of Wednesday’s previous two working group sessions in plenary. She pointed out the importance of tools for private finance, including blue bonds, and called for stimulation of innovation as well as investment in research.
Banking on sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems: On Thursday, the working group addressed this issue in a session chaired by Charles Goddard, The Economist. Panelists included: Walt Reid, Packard Foundation; Aldin Hilbrands, Royal Ahold; Trip O’Shea, EKO Asset Management; Thomas Ursem, Rabobank International; and Ayana Johnson, Waitt Institute.
Participants addressed the challenge of combining environmental and social sustainability, and opportunities for cooperation between industry, government and local communities. They also acknowledged the need to empower governments and businesses with abilities to assess opportunities and risk, and to develop the regulatory and policy frameworks needed for addressing oceans issues in an integrated way. Furthermore, they discussed: empowerment of communities; consolidation through vehicles such as cooperatives to scale up projects, thus making them attractive to potential investors; the creation of viable and sustainable supply chains; opportunities for reducing risks associated with investments in small-scale fisheries; and capacity building to enable climate solutions.
PARTNERSHIPS: This working group addressed public partnerships, lessons from effective partnerships, and private-sector partnerships.
Public partnerships: On Wednesday, Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy, chaired the session on public partnerships for transformative action. She underlined the importance of robust participant engagement as well as information building and sharing.
Merina Eduards-Jessamy, Policy Development Officer, Grenada, highlighted the Global Partnership for Oceans and the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), which aims to provide greater leadership for protecting and sustainably managing the marine and coastal environment across the Caribbean. While CCI countries are developing their National Conservation Trust Funds, she highlighted the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund, which is ramping up to support protected area management.
Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment, Seychelles, discussed the development of partnerships among different ministries in the Seychelles. He highlighted: marine spatial planning to strengthen management of important ecosystems that involves communities and the industry; and the debt-for-adaptation swap focusing on vulnerability and resilience.
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Global Change Institute, University of Queensland, highlighted guiding principles for partnerships developed by the Blue Ribbon Panel, including sustainable use of resources, social equity maximization, food security, long-term viability, and capacity building. He proposed that in complex situations, more considerations should enter the equation and provided examples of win-win collaborations.
Caleb Tyndale Okauchi Otto, Ambassador of Palau to the UN, outlined the Micronesia Challenge, which is a shared commitment to effectively conserve at least 30 percent of the near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. He highlighted the creation of a shark sanctuary, the imposition of a green tourist tax and the development of a ban on commercial fishing in Palau.
In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, among other things: the corporate social responsibility paradigm; the strategic role of the insurance industry; political or informal leadership change and its effects; and the urgency to deal with the issues at a global level as time runs out for many small island countries.
Lessons from effective partnerships for ocean health: This session was held on Wednesday and was chaired by Gerald Miles, Rare. He underscored equity, transparency and justice, as well as respect and loyalty as prerequisites for partnerships.
Fatou Mboob, TRY Oyster Women’s Association, The Gambia, described the successful association formed by marginalized women in The Gambia. She stressed that local women are excellent environmental stewards as they know the importance of healthy ecosystems.
Larry Epstein, Environmental Defense Fund, addressed incentives for partnerships through the allocation of rights to fishermen in Belize. He referred to co-management agreements between communities, NGOs and the government, leaving day-to-day management to the fishermen. He underlined that a robust administrative structure was essential.
Lida Pet-Soede, WWF Global Marine Programme, presented the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security, a multilateral partnership of six countries of Southeast Asia to address the urgent threats facing their coastal and marine resources.
Mike Kraft, Bumblebee Foods LLC, focused on motives for private companies to engage in partnerships. He concentrated on the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and its mission to assure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing by-catch and promoting ecosystem health.
Miguel Jorge, 50in10, said another five-year plan of action was not needed and called for a process to build trust necessary for generating partnerships. He stressed the multi-dimensionality of the issues involved, calling for a shared vision and models for experimentation, as well as prototypes of success.
During discussions, participants addressed, inter alia: partnerships including scientific bodies; market incentives to induce change; dynamics between large and small partnerships; and the importance of the process as well as that of the final product.
On Thursday, Lisa Svensson summarized the highlights of Wednesday’s previous two working group sessions to plenary, underlining, among other things: the significance of effectively using media to increase awareness and education; the need to build on existing partnerships; and the necessity to ensure governance arrangements that sustain coordination and integration.
Private-sector partnerships for sustainable fisheries: This session, held on Thursday, was chaired by John Connelly, US National Fisheries Institute. Panelists included Susan Jackson, International Seafood Sustainability Foundation; Alejandro Robles, Noroeste Sustentable; Andrew Kaelin, AIS Aqua Foods; and Robert Eduardo, RGE Agridev Corporation.
Participants heard successful case studies from different regions and considered challenges regarding: assessing the economic impact and environmental performance of partnerships; involving stakeholders from industry, civil society as well as government; creating business incentives for sustainable oceans management; scaling up initiatives to make them more attractive to investors, while promoting potential advantages of investing smaller amounts; combating the notion that sustainable fisheries constitutes a niche market; and creating an economic infrastructure for sustainability without displacing local communities.
In a plenary session on Wednesday, William Moomaw, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, addressed delegates on “Perspectives on ocean health and productivity – implications for fisheries.” Providing time-series data on marine wild catch and on the degree of exploitation of fishing stocks, he focused on direct impacts on fisheries. He referred to existing relevant treaties and questioned the usefulness of the notion of maximum sustainable yield. He made special notice of climate change and ocean acidification, addressing loss of coral reefs and decline in phytoplankton as critical indicators. Among challenges, he highlighted by-catch, IUU fishing, legal overfishing, destructive fishing practices, subsidies, and failure to enforce treaties, urging for a massive restorative effort.
On Thursday morning, Sharon Dijksma, Dutch Minister for Agriculture, opened the Summit’s high-level segment, stressing the need to reduce tensions between growth and conservation as well as between private and community interests. She announced a new agreement between Grenada and the Netherlands to transform Grenada to a Blue Economy Ocean State, and called for a roadmap for ocean action as a solid outcome of the Summit.
Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, highlighted small island developing states’ (SIDS) vulnerability to climate change, overfishing and ecosystem degradation. He expressed confidence that small-scale enterprises can help feed the world’s growing population, and welcomed investments in cooperation, capacity building and enforcement. Mitchell advocated a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on oceans, as well as a multi-sectorial approach, outlining recent regional initiatives and cooperation with, among others, the World Bank, the GEF and the UN Development Programme, on integrated oceans management. He highlighted Grenada’s recent commitment to protect 20 percent of its marine and coastal environment by 2020.
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, addressed the meeting by video message. Referring to the world’s oceans as a common resource, he underscored shared responsibility and stewardship to protect the oceans. Highlighting challenges of pollution, acidification and overfishing, he called for a new global ocean policy agenda, and government policies ensuring that only legally caught fish can enter markets. He invited participation in a forthcoming Ocean Summit, organized by the US State Department in Washington DC, US, in June 2014.
Stating that living ocean resources are renewable, but not infinite, Elisabeth Aspaker, Minister of Fisheries, Norway, underscored sustainable fisheries as critical for food security, poverty alleviation and social welfare. She suggested several policy approaches to facilitate sustainable fisheries, such as removal of subsidies that contribute to overcapacity, discard bans, and appropriate timing of fish harvests. She emphasized that downward trends can be reversed, as has happened in the case of the Norwegian-Russian cod stocks.
Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister for Environment and Water, United Arab Emirates (UAE), conveyed UAE’s commitment to sustainable growth, food security and protection of marine resources. He pointed out that the marine environment faces serious challenges that affect both the economy and society as a whole, and which have to be addressed through international cooperation. He highlighted recent efforts by UAE, including the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project, Green Growth Strategy; and its contribution to the Blue Economy Summit, held in January 2014 in Abu Dhabi.
Árni Mathiesen, FAO, commended the convergence of ideas and opinions, but noted that the devil lies in the details. He stressed the importance of small-scale fisheries and the need for specific regulatory frameworks and increased investment.
Juergen Voegele, World Bank, advocated moving from problem definition to action and avoiding a polarized debate. He exemplified the Global Partnership for Oceans’ Blue Ribbon Panel as a “silo-breaker,” underscoring that there is no point to talking globally without action at the local level.
HIGH-LEVEL ROUNDTABLES: On Thursday morning and afternoon, two high-level roundtables convened to discuss a working document, entitled “Pitches for action,” which summarized the recommendations emanating from the Summit. After listening to high-level speakers, delegates were invited to offer feedback, including additional considerations not included in the document, and to express commitment to its general principles.
High-level roundtable A: Sharon Dijksma, Dutch Minister for Agriculture, moderated the first high-level roundtable.
Rupert Howes, MSC, noted that while there is no silver bullet to solve ocean management problems, there are numerous solutions involving the market. He addressed MSC’s mission, namely to use their eco-labeling and fishery certification scheme to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing consumer choices on seafood, and working with their partners to make the seafood market sustainable. He called for public investment to fund improvements and leverage private funding.
Robert Guba Aisi, Permanent Representative of Papua New Guinea to the UN, underscored the need for a dedicated, stand-alone SDG on oceans, as ocean resources are indispensable for people’s livelihoods. He outlined the main challenges, including: IUU fishing and overexploitation in general; pollution and acidification; unsustainable fishing practices; control and surveillance; biodiversity loss and reduced ecosystem services; and climate change related sea level rise, calling for stronger support to promote inclusive blue growth.
Johan van de Gronden, WWF Netherlands, stressed that, in contrast with the terrestrial context, the idea of a network of protected areas in the ocean environment is still disputed. Stressing the need for sustainable oceans management, he called for specific goals and a dedicated SDG on oceans. He addressed the importance of a mechanism to coordinate all efforts and investments and questioned whether a proposed new blue growth alliance or the revitalization of the Global Partnership for Oceans represented the best way forward.
In the ensuing discussion, numerous delegates supported the formulation of a specific SDG on oceans. Specific suggestions were tabled to include measurable targets within a set timeframe, with delegates stressing the need for a robust legislative framework to achieve implementation. Several delegates focused on the potential of aquaculture and offered ideas to promote capacity building.
Many delegates expressed concern over fisheries subsidies that exert significant economic or environmental adverse effects. Suggestions were made to phase out such subsidies or to transform them in order to serve sustainability goals. Natural capital accounting and the idea of placing a monetary valuation on biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by the oceans were also discussed, as a means to incorporating these values into cost-benefit equations and development planning.
Regarding IUU fishing, delegates urged taking the discussion out of its theoretical framework and coming up with realistic solutions, promoting specific safeguards and pointing out that in order for any effort to be successful, capacity to implement and monitor is essential.
Delegates underlined the need for national, regional and international synergies as well as private-public partnerships. They exchanged ideas on whether it is sufficient to revitalize existing institutions and initiatives or if a new global effort is needed. They further stressed the role of small-scale fisheries and the importance of increased transparency, and proposed strengthening RFMOs.
Cooperation in the field of science and innovation was highlighted by some speakers. A number of delegates stressed the need to invest in public awareness campaigns and protect specific areas through a participatory approach as well as explore ways to improve decision making. Discussion also focused on capacity building, especially in SIDS, and on a potential collaboration between MSC and Mauritius to initiate an eco-label for the Indian Ocean.
Concluding their discussion, participants prioritized moving from defining problems and solutions to urgent actions.
High-level roundtable B: Roland Bhola, Grenada’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment, and Fred Boltz, Rockefeller Foundation, co-chaired the first part of this roundtable.
Peter Seligmann, Conservation International, called on country commitments to data gathering, community-driven planning processes, private-sector reporting and the use of social media to support blue growth. Lauding effective initiatives, he introduced the Pacific Ocean Scape, noting the engagement of 15 countries in regional ocean stewardship.
Joost Oorthuizen, Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), presented IDH as a concrete example of a public-private partnership aimed at bringing sustainability to the core of internationally-traded commodities. He introduced the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, launched together with WWF, and called for working with fishers, traders and producers in a stepwise approach towards responsible aquaculture certification.
Co-Chair Boltz then presented the working document’s section on “integrated approaches: breaking down silos,” highlighting, among other things: linking this Summit to the post-2015 development agenda; underscoring the connection between blue growth and climate change; supporting regional integrated coastal management, for example IMME; and supporting dialogue and integrating local knowledge. Several ministers made interventions, addressing, inter alia: examples of national ocean strategies, built on the pillars of research, exploitation and preservation; the need for legal and financial mechanisms; and ways in which the Summit could link with and build on other conferences and conventions, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio +20”) and UNCLOS.
Delegates offered feedback on other issues to be included in the working document, such as: underscoring the urgency of addressing ocean actions on blue growth; prioritizing climate change, stating that “if we do not address climate change, there is no need to address sustainable development and blue growth”; acknowledging MPAs that are also certified as UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Marine World Heritage Sites; linking the UNFCCC process to blue growth; and developing a holistic understanding of blue growth, which should also include social progress and inclusive welfare in addition to GDP growth.
The second part of this high-level roundtable was co-chaired by Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, and Fred Boltz, Rockefeller Foundation.
Henry Puna, Prime Minister, Cook Islands, delivered an opening statement. He advocated a precautionary approach and using balanced management, noting “principles of sensitivity and respect” in the Cook Island’s management of its extensive EEZ. Underscoring the cultural, spiritual and ecological core values of Pacific Islanders as guiding principles for its marine policies, Puna described the need for inclusive consultation and full participation in planning and implementation processes, a “sense of ownership” by communities and civil society, and equitable consideration of present and future generations.
Co-Chair Boltz lauded existing blue growth partnerships and commitments. He announced a “blueprint for blue growth” to be developed in 2014 by the Rockefeller Foundation, together with partners, including the government of the Netherlands and FAO.
Addressing the working document “Pitches for action,” delegates called for increased emphasis on, inter alia: improving inclusion and market access for artisanal and small-scale fishers; acknowledging coordination and monitoring; demonstrating the need for and value of certification schemes to the private sector; and recognizing different resource availabilities and capacity in different member states. Delegates discussed the possibility of: working with partners on a stand-alone ocean SDG; providing small-scale fishery guidelines; closing governance gaps on the high seas; explicitly mentioning the existing overcapacity of trawler ships and policies and finances which subsidize this overcapacity; combating overfishing of reef areas; deterring illegal harvesting and poaching; addressing invasive species; accelerating finance and discovering existing finance streams; focusing on disaster resilience; and using social media and data sharing platforms.
Many parties, in particular SIDS, underscored addressing climate change as a key factor enabling or limiting blue growth, suggesting the concept be linked to upcoming events and negotiations on climate change.
PARALLEL JOINT WORKING GROUP DISCUSSION
On Thursday afternoon, in parallel with the high-level roundtables, delegates attended a joint working group session chaired by Angus Friday, Ambassador of Grenada to the US. Friday invited comments on the Summit’s working document “Pitches for action.”
Delegates observed linkages with existing initiatives, agreements and documents, including the “Rio+20” outcome document “The Future We Want,” and suggested connecting the UN Conference on SIDS with the post-2015 development agenda.
There was a call for increased emphasis on: monitoring and enforcement; linkages with, for instance, Interpol’s programme on illegal fishing; the impact of climate change on fisheries; the importance of sustainable fisheries in the context of food security; MPAs and their positive impact, not only on local fisheries, but also on tourism, food security and ecosystem resilience to climate change; transparency within RFMOs regarding member states’ compliance, for instance by ensuring that RFMO compliance reports and meetings are public; deficiencies in governance and institutional structures; poverty reduction; and developing nations’ concerns.
Identifying direct actions, delegates agreed on the need for governments to ratify and implement existing agreements, and for RFMOs to embrace sustainability, new knowledge and technology. They supported the development of a web-based platform through which stakeholders could interact worldwide, creating partnerships and sharing knowledge, expertise and best practices. To that end, they recognized the need to identify: information needs; the costs for such a platform; and a business model to ensure that such a platform does not solely rely on donors.
Delegates also addressed the need to develop, monitor and implement principles for investment in blue growth, taking into account the needs of coastal communities, including transparency, integrity and benefit sharing. Reference was made to the existing Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment, jointly initiated by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank, which can be applied in the oceans context as well. Delegates observed that a potential direct action would be to recognize these principles internationally, and then regionalize and nationalize them.
It was also noted that although tourism can be a positive force, it may also have negative impacts on coastal areas.
Discussions also highlighted the need and obligation of the private sector to engage in research and development towards products that will further reduce environmental impacts, also in aquaculture, acknowledging the need to incentivize such product development. Some felt that the main potential for growth lies in offshore aquaculture, but innovation and investment are needed to exploit this potential and ensure its sustainability.
Delegates also addressed the importance of monitoring and transparency, with a fisherman remarking that “the way we fish is different with a monitor on board,” and that positive impacts of this approach on fish stocks are already being observed in some places. One delegate drew attention to the recently launched Global Salmon Initiative, which brings together salmon farmers committed to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s standards.
The closing plenary was chaired by Hans Hoogeveen, Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Netherlands.
Frits Thissen, Counselor for Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the EU, summarized the discussions held on Thursday in High-Level Roundtable A. Among recurring themes, he identified the need for: a stand-alone SDG on oceans; incorporation of oceans in the UNFCCC process; institutional action to end IUU fishing; regional, integrated coastal management; and research, development and innovation in technology, without neglecting social dimensions. He highlighted the fact that the Seychelles had joined the initiative by Mauritius and the MSC to establish a certification scheme for specific fish species in the Indian Ocean.
Fred Boltz, Rockefeller Foundation, reported on the discussions held during High-Level Roundtable B. Among recommendations, he underscored, among other things, the need to: integrate oceans into the climate change agenda; link with other intergovernmental bodies and processes such as UNFCCC, UNCLOS and Rio+20; increase technology transfer and capacity building; and go beyond GDP calculations in order to include economic valuations of ecosystem services. In addition, Boltz highlighted commitments by countries and organizations to promote blue growth and sustainable ocean management.
Angus Friday, Ambassador of Grenada to the US, framed the discussions held on Thursday during the parallel joint working group meeting, in terms of old, new and future considerations. He underlined the need for an information platform to bring together and disseminate key expertise in governance and capacity building. He focused on integrated approaches and called for concrete steps to support effective decision making. He concluded that linking key challenges with long-term investors may prove the key to catalyzing global action.
Hoogeveen presented the draft Chair’s summary of the meeting, including the recommended actions emanating from the Summit’s High-Level Segment, inviting comments or amendments. Delegates asked that the report also reflect, inter alia: non-fish marine species as food sources; partnerships that serve “as a means, not an end” to identifying innovative blue growth solutions; real-time information shared between industry players; that language on fisheries subsidies not be weaker than that reflected in the Rio+20 Outcome Document; discussions on invasive aquatic species transported in ballast water; fish as food, versus feed for fishmeal; policies to address marine plastic waste at the source, acknowledging producer responsibility; and that good examples of IMME exist in both developed and developing countries.
Closing remarks were made by Valerie Hickey, World Bank, and Árni Mathiesen, FAO, who both stressed the urgent need for real commitments and expressed optimism that the Global Oceans Action Summit had proved useful in that respect. Colombia, Papua New Guinea and WWF delivered closing statements, with the latter underscoring its partnership with the government of the Netherlands to assess the environmental and socioeconomic impact of MPAs.
Chair Hoogeveen commended participants on their efforts and enthusiasm, and expressed the hope that the Summit would result in meaningful actions on the ground and would in fact be able to “turn the tide.” He closed the Summit at 1:30 pm.
Final outcome: The Chair’s summary of the Global Oceans Action Summit contains the “Pitches for action” emanating from the meeting’s discussions and further elaborated during its High-Level Segment. These recommendations were not formally adopted, but rather regarded as “key messages” from the Summit. They are grouped under five themes: integrated approaches – breaking down silos; governance; public-private partnerships; investments; and research and development/innovation.
On integrated approaches for action – breaking down silos, the document proposes to, inter alia:
- embed oceans in the post-2015 development agenda to align human wellbeing and ocean health, preferably in a stand-alone SDG on oceans;
- address climate change to restore ocean health;
- improve regional integrated coastal and high seas management, including by supporting approaches such as IMME;
- convene intersectoral national dialogues on oceans that bring together public agencies, the private sector, civil society and local communities and develop national action plans for blue growth;
- increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters;
- integrate local knowledge from small-scale communities into national- and ecosystem-level policies and strategies for the more equitable use of and access to benefits from marine resources;
- address the impact and role of industrial fisheries on drivers of ecosystem degradation, putting greater emphasis on the key role of fish and other sea food as important resources for global food security; and
- join forces to truly protect the 46 UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites.
On governance, the document encourages all states concerned to accede to and implement existing international instruments pertaining to the management of living marine resources. It also proposes to, inter alia:
- accelerate the entry into force of the Port States Agreement;
- operationalize the FAO Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines and Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry;
- strengthen the mandate, effectiveness and financing of RFMOs;
- promote ecosystem approaches to fisheries and aquaculture management;
- accelerate the implementation of the global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and supply Vessels, including the addition of information on vessel activities in support of an effective implementation of Port State Measures Agreement;
- eliminate harmful fisheries subsides that contribute to overfishing and overcapacity and instead incentivize activities that promote conservation and sustainable fishing in the industrial, artisanal and small-scale fisheries sectors;
- conserve at least ten percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020, as committed to in the Aichi Targets by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD;
- invest in information and communications technology to detect non-compliance, and transparently share information in real time, including with law enforcement agencies mandated to act on such information;
- share selected monitoring and surveillance information, including own-vessel tracking, to assist companies in their own vessel management to ensure self-regulation and compliance; and
- invest in a global information service to support, inter alia, knowledge on the actors in global oceans, international legal and policy platforms, best practices and compliance and enforcement actions, and research, development and innovation.
On public-private partnership, the document proposes to, inter alia:
- commit to existing and new innovative partnerships, such as the Global Partnership for Oceans and the blue growth concept;
- scale up financing for replicating best practices and knowledge platforms, including via South-South cooperation and in triangular partnerships;
- design extension services that bundle knowledge and technical assistance from relevant public, private and civil society agencies to reduce transaction costs from local communities, small- and medium-sized enterprises and countries, seeking to enhance ocean health; and
- underpin public-private partnerships by principles of equity, justice and transparency, to ensure they contribute to improved benefits for local communities and developed countries.
On investments, the document proposes to, inter alia:
- strengthen the uptake and execution of innovative financing mechanisms, such as blue bonds, to mobilize domestic and international and private resources for enhancing ocean health;
- invest in small- and medium-sized enterprises and local communities as effective agents for delivering broad-based blue growth and aquaculture production;
- incorporate natural capital accounting of marine resources and the valuation of ecosystem services into sustainable planning and policy making;
- develop principles for inclusive investment that take into account the needs of local coastal communities;
- develop risk management approaches to attract private investment in sustainable fisheries and sustainable aquaculture, including to deal with invasive alien species;
- reduce the transaction costs and upfront capital requirements that exclude countries and communities from securing access to niche markets and financial benefits from ocean-related certification schemes;
- endorse the Committee on Food Security’s Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment;
- call for a special fund to be set up by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank and other international financial institutions to support the investment needs of developing and least developed countries in the areas of infrastructure, processing facilities, and capacity building of small- and medium-sized enterprises; and
- provide support for more advanced economies to support developing and least developed countries in the areas of investment identified above.
On research and development/ innovation, the document proposes, inter alia, to:
- enhance private and public investment in research and development, and the dissemination of knowledge in order to increase the knowledge base on oceans, fisheries management and aquaculture to capture the potential of new technologies to secure benefits from oceans;
- incentivize private and academic research institutions to undertake research and develop solutions for site-specific oceans challenges;
- research and develop the sustainability, governance, investment and regulatory frameworks for offshore aquaculture, including in the high seas;
- invest in research that would allow countries and companies to scale up sustainable aquaculture, innovative new fish feed and reduce food waste; and
- invest in a robust global information service that collates and shares info and knowledge in an accessible, transparent and timely manner.
World Coral Reef Conference: This meeting will focus on coral reefs ecosystems, aiming to: implement inventory, and compile the synchronization and establishment of policies and action in the management and utilization of coral reef resources; collect and formulate shared values, perceptions and purpose in the management of coral reef ecosystems as treasured natural resources to inherited for future generations; and inform and adopt best practices, methods, approaches, knowledge, science, and latest technology to be applied for coral reef resources regarding the management of local coral reef ecosystems. date: 14-17 May 2014 location: Manado, Indonesia contact: WCRC 2014 Secretariat phone: +62 (431) 834068 e-mail: email@example.com www: http://www.wcrc2014.org
15th Meeting of the Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea: This meeting will focus on the role of seafood in global food security. It will include plenary sessions and discussion panels on the following areas: understanding global food security and the current role of seafood; the role of seafood in global food security in the context of sustainable development; and opportunities for, and challenges to, the future role of seafood in global food security. The meeting will result in a Co-Chairs’ summary of ideas and issues raised and discussed. date: 27-30 May 2014 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US contact: UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) phone: +1 (212) 963-3962 fax: +1 (917) 367-0560 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.un.org/depts/los/consultative_process/consultative_process.htm
World Environment Day 2014: The UN General Assembly declared 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). World Environment Day (WED) 2014 will be celebrated under the theme of SIDS, with the goal of raising awareness of their unique development challenges and successes regarding a range of environmental problems, including climate change, waste management, unsustainable consumption, degradation of natural resources, and extreme natural disasters. date: 5 June 2014 location: worldwide e-mail: email@example.com www: http://www.unep.org/wed/
World Oceans Day: World Oceans Day is meant to raise global awareness on the benefits derived from the oceans and the current challenges facing oceans, such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, habitat destruction, over-exploitation, marine pollution and ocean acidification. The Day also provides an opportunity for reflection on our collective and individual duty to interact with oceans in a sustainable manner. The Day also coincides with the first day of the 24th Meeting of Parties (MOP) to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Other celebrations for World Ocean Day 2014 will be marked globally and online. date: 8 June 2014 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US, and worldwide contact: UN DOALOS phone: +1 (212) 963-3962 fax: +1 (917) 367-0560 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.un.org/depts/los/wod/commemoration-2014.html
UNCLOS MOP-24: The 24th MOP to UNCLOS will take place in June in New York City, US. date: 8-13 June 2014 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US contact: UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea phone: +1 (212) 963-3962 fax: +1 (917) 367-0560 e-mail: email@example.com www: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/meeting_states_parties/twentyfourthmeetingstatesparties.htm
31st Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI-31): The Committee presently constitutes the only global inter-governmental forum where major international fisheries and aquaculture problems and issues are examined and recommendations addressed to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fishworkers, FAO and international community, periodically on a world-wide basis. date: 9-13 June 2014 venue: FAO headquarters location: Rome, Italy contact: FAO Fisheries e-mail: FAO-COFI@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/cofi/en/
“Our Oceans – International Ocean Conference 2014”: This meeting is organized by the US Department of State, and will review the state of the science, outline the challenges, review lessons learned, and determine concrete actions that can be taken at all levels - by the international community, governments, communities, organizations, and individuals. date: 16-17 June 2014 location: Washington DC, US contact: US Office of Oceans and Polar Affairs (US State Department) www: http://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/opa/2014conf/index.htm
8th Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on Marine BBNJ: This meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ) is the second of three meetings (April 2014, June 2014 and January 2015) that the UN General Assembly (UNGA) requested be convened. The meetings aim to make recommendations to the UNGA on the scope, parameters and feasibility of an international instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). These three meetings are expected to result in a summary of discussions that will be submitted to the President of the UNGA, and are anticipated to contribute to a decision to be taken at the 69th Session of the UNGA on the development of a new international instrument under UNCLOS. date: 16-19 June 2014 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US contact: UNDOALOS phone: +1 (212) 963-3962 fax: +1 (917) 367-0560 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: https://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversityworkinggroup/biodiversityworkinggroup.htm
Third International Conference on SIDS: The 3rd International Conference on SIDS will focus the world’s attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities. date: 1-4 September 2014 venue: Faleata Sports Complex location: Apia, Samoa contact: Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN Secretariat Building fax: +1 (212) 963-4260 www: http://www.sustainabledevelopment.un.org/about.html
2014 Climate Summit: This event is being organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the aim of creating political momentum for an ambitious international climate agreement through the UNFCCC process. date: 23 September 2014 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US www: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit2014/
Climate Symposium 2014: This event will focus on the theme “Enhanced Understanding of Climate Processes through Earth Observation.” It will help in developing an efficient and sustained international space-based Earth observation system; bring together international experts in climate observations, research, analysis and modeling; and emphasize the role of space-based Earth observations in improving knowledge of the climate at global and regional scales, and in assessing models used for climate projections. date: 13-17 October 2014 location: Darmstadt, Germany contact: Organizing Committee email: email@example.com www: http://www.theclimatesymposium2014.com/
67th Session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee: The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will meet for its 67th session in London, UK, in October 2014. date: 13-17 October 2014 venue: IMO Headquarters location: London, England, UK contact: IMO Secretariat phone: +44 (0)20 7735 7611 fax: +44 (0)20 7587 3210 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.imo.org/
20th Session of the COP, UNFCCC and 10th Session of the COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol: COP 20 and CMP10 will be held in Lima, Peru on December 2014. date: 1-12 December 2014 location: Lima, Peru contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49 (228)815 1000 fax: +49 (228)815 1999 e-mail: email@example.com www: http://www.unfccc.int
9th Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on Marine BBNJ: This meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (BBNJ) is the third of three meetings (April 2014, June 2014 and January 2015) that the UN General Assembly (UNGA) requested be convened. The meetings aim to make recommendations to the UNGA on the scope, parameters and feasibility of an international instrument under UNCLOS. These three meetings are expected to result in a summary of discussions that will be submitted to the President of the UNGA, and are anticipated to contribute to a decision to be taken at the 69th Session of the UNGA on the development of a new international instrument under UNCLOS. date: 20-23 January 2015 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US contact: UNDOALOS phone: +1 (212) 963-3962 fax: +1 (917) 367-0560 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: https://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversityworkinggroup/biodiversityworkinggroup.htm