We are all ocean people, whether we live by the sea or not. The ocean sustains all life on our planet, and throughout time human interactions with the ocean have shaped our history and cultures. Beyond material goods and services, the ocean provides different forms of well-being, including cultural identity, knowledge, sense of place and belonging, and elicits human emotions such as curiosity, awe and a sense of adventure. These diverse set of values are essential to human flourishing.

Only through recognising these diverse human relationships with the ocean, keeping equity and inclusion at the centre, can we build a sustainable ocean economy that works for all ocean users. Ocean governance is a “collective responsibility of humanity” and therefore must ensure that those who have lived in, worked on and stewarded coastal and continental waters are included in future governance decisions. The access people have to the ocean is also being threatened by increasing privatisation and zoning of coastal areas. Without contact with the ocean, people’s relationship with the ocean is under threat, as well as the economy that has grown out of this relationship. Just as the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of public spaces in cities across the world, we need a similar realisation about the societal benefits of maintaining access to the ocean and coast.

This webinar will launch the latest Blue Paper commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), ‘The Human Relationship with our Ocean Planet’. This paper identifies the diverse relationships with the ocean that contribute to human wellbeing and recommends actions that can help ensure the creation of a fair and equitable sustainable ocean economy that recognises these relationships.

Join the paper’s authors and other stakeholders as they discuss how to ensure that a plurality of ‘ocean values’ are represented in processes of planning and implementing a sustainable ocean economy.

This event is part of the series of webinars featuring new scientific ‘Blue Papers', commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel).


  • Taholo Kami, Special Representative for Oceans; also the Sherpa to the Prime Minister on the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Fiji (Panelist)
  • Eddie Allison, Research Director, Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center, and Research Chair for Equity and Justice in the Blue Economy, WorldFish (Co-lead author and panelist)
  • John Kurien, Founding Member of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, Visiting Professor at the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, India and Honorary Fellow at WorldFish, Penang, Malaysia (Co-lead author and panelist)
  • Nireka Weeratunge, Anthropologist and independent scholar, affiliated as a Research Fellow to the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka (Contributing author and panelist)
  • Sophie Benbow, Head of Marine, Fauna & Flora International (Panelist)
  • Heather Koldewey, National Geographic Fellow, Programme Lead, Bertarelli Programme in Marine Science, Senior Technical Advisor, Zoological Society of London (Moderator)

Share With Your Networks








About the Ocean Panel and Blue Papers 

The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) is a unique initiative by 14 world leaders who are building momentum for a sustainable ocean economy in which effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand. By enhancing humanity’s relationship with the ocean, bridging ocean health and wealth, working with diverse stakeholders and harnessing the latest knowledge, the Ocean Panel aims to facilitate a better, more resilient future for people and the planet.

In the spirit of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), providing value to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the Ocean Panel commissioned a comprehensive assessment of ocean science and knowledge that has significant policy relevance. This includes a series of 16 Blue Papers that offer a synthesis of knowledge, new thinking and perspectives, and opportunities for action that serve as inputs to the Ocean Panel’s deliberations for its forthcoming action agenda.