A healthy, thriving planet requires a healthy ocean. The ocean is critical for protecting biodiversity. It feeds billions of people and employs millions more. And it is essential for absorbing carbon and keeping climate change in check.

But these benefits are only possible if the ocean is managed sustainably. Countries need to act rapidly to address threats to the ocean’s health, ranging from climate change, acidification and ocean warming to marine pollution, overfishing and biodiversity loss.

In 2020, members of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) committed to sustainably manage 100% of the ocean areas under their national jurisdictions by 2025 through Sustainable Ocean Plans. This is a major step in the right direction. However, the Ocean Panel consists of just 18 countries; all coastal states must develop Sustainable Ocean Plans to ensure that 100% of the ocean is protected and sustainably managed. This will require overcoming a range of political, technical and financial challenges that can make it difficult for countries to commit to and implement more sustainable ocean economies.

Ocean Action 2030 was launched in response to this new ocean agenda. Ocean Action 2030 works to support countries within the Ocean Panel membership and beyond in developing and deploying their Sustainable Ocean Plans.

The overarching goal of Ocean Action 2030 is that by 2030, all coastal and ocean states will have embraced Sustainable Ocean Plans, ensuring their marine areas are managed sustainably. This vision represents a significant stride towards a healthy ocean that benefits people, nature and the economy.

Ocean Action 2030 addresses challenges in the adoption of Sustainable Ocean Plans through:

  • Raising ambition: Helping countries understand the economic, social and environmental benefits of Sustainable Ocean Plans to encourage more ambitious action.
  • Providing technical assistance: Assisting governments in developing their Sustainable Ocean Plan through hands-on technical assistance (both content and process) and building local capacity.
  • Offering financial assistance: Provide access to financing needed to support plan development.
  • Sharing learnings: Helping countries share best practices in plan development, implementation and continuous improvement. 

Ocean Action 2030 brings together 20 leading institutions that can provide the technical and financial assistance countries may need to develop and implement Sustainable Ocean Plans.

Ocean Action 2030 is supported by 20 leading institutions that provide the technical and financial assistance necessary to develop and implement Sustainable Ocean Plans (SOPs). Each country appoints an SOP focal point who participates in bimonthly meetings to review progress made towards their SOP commitments. Additionally, coalition focal points convene to offer the required support.

Our role is to facilitate matchmaking between institutions and SOP focal points, ensuring in-country engagement and addressing the most urgent needs to fulfill their commitments. Through these collaborative efforts, we aim to drive effective and sustainable ocean management worldwide.

Cover image by Denys Nevozhai/Unsplash