The health of our entire planet is inextricably linked to the health of the ocean. For decades, centuries even, we have used the ocean as our playground, our food store, our motorway and our dumping ground, but as we approach the end of this turbulent year we all need to acknowledge that the ocean is not too big to fail. We are pushing it – and ourselves – to the brink and, in doing so, we are wilfully squandering the opportunity of a lifetime. The true potential of the ocean remains relatively untapped: the potential to deliver 21% of the emissions reductions needed to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C; the potential to deliver six times more food than it does today; the potential to leverage five dollars of benefits for every single dollar invested into a sustainable ocean economy.
Over the course of 2020, global leaders have joined forces on the High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy (the Ocean Panel), a unique initiative of 14 serving world leaders building momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy, where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand. Never before have so many leaders of the world’s ocean nations come together in such a collaborative way outside the UN framework. The Ocean Panel member states, which together account for 40% of the world’s coastlines and 30% of the so-called exclusive economic zones, are seeking to bring about transformative change for our collective blue economy.