The ocean is the largest natural resource on the planet. Billions of people rely on a healthy ocean for food and jobs. But the impacts of climate change and human activities — such as overfishing and pollution — are pushing marine species and coastal ecosystems to the brink. Every year, eight million tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean and over a third of fish stocks are overfished.  

Friends of Ocean Action (FOA) aims to use its knowledge, network of ocean leaders and influence to help the international community take urgent steps to conserve and sustainably use our ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Since launching in January 2018, the pace and ambition of FOA has accelerated progress toward achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Life Below Water by forging new relationships between organizations committed to ocean conservation and development. These partnerships have elevated and amplified ocean action initiatives and delivered tangible results such as the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP), spawned from the Friends of Ocean Action, is tackling marine plastic pollution at the source and across country-level pilot initiatives, contributing to the realization of SDG 14.1 by 2025.  Other partnerships include the Global Tuna Alliance and the Getting to Zero Coalition.

In its first phase, FOA championed 12 key action tracks designed to address some of the most pressing issues facing the ocean. At the start of 2021, FOA entered its second phase and condensed these 12 action tracks into five key pillars:

  • Activating ocean finance: Enhance levels of finance, from across the spectrum, that flow towards sustainable blue economy activities.
  • Building a resilient ocean: Promote sustainable and equitable ocean management to enhance the ocean’s ability to adapt to and recover from multiple stressors. In turn, the ocean can continue to provide for and strengthen the resilience of nations, economies and people.
  • Creating a digital ocean: Scale the liberation, use and governance of ocean data to benefit public good, ocean health and knowledge and to support the UN Decade of Ocean Science and the Ocean Data Platform.
  • Nourishing billions: Improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods from blue food by expanding fish stocks, growing sustainable aquaculture practices and reducing seafood waste.
  • UpLink Ocean: Nurture ocean innovators and scale their solutions by connecting them with influential networks.

Photo Credit: Giachen's World on Unsplash.