GLASGOW (November 2, 2021)—World leaders from the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) met at COP26 to reaffirm their commitment to sustainably manage 100% of their national waters and urge other countries to join them in this undertaking. The Ocean Panel engages directly with heads of state and an international network of experts and partners in business, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and finance to develop an action agenda for transitioning to a sustainable ocean economy. 

Click here to view the leaders’ statement outlining the science underpinning this call to action and here to view the press release for this announcement, including more information on the addition of the High Level Panel’s newest member, the United States of America.

Following is a statement from the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy:

We, the members of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), recognise that the health of the ocean, and the livelihoods and economies that depend on it, requires the world to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We believe that a sustainable ocean economy can play an essential role in closing the emissions gap, while providing jobs, reducing inequality, supporting food security, sustaining biological diversity, and enhancing resilience. 

On the occasion of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, we urge all actors to join us in accelerating progress on the following key ocean-based climate actions to support the achievement of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  1. Invest in Nature-based Climate Solutions
  2. Harness Ocean-based Renewable Energy
  3. Decarbonise Ocean Industries
  4. Secure Sustainable Food for the Future
  5. Advance the Deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage
  6. Expand Ocean Observation and Research

These ocean-based climate actions offer significant opportunities to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and form the basis for a sustainable ocean economy. Ocean Panel commissioned research found that ocean-based climate actions can deliver up to a fifth (21% or 11 GtCO2) of the annual greenhouse gas emissions cuts needed to limit global temperature rise by 1.5℃ by 2050. Additional Ocean Panel commissioned research found that investing US$1 in ocean-based climate actions can yield at least US$5 in global benefits over the next thirty years.1

As the Ocean Panel, we have committed to develop and be guided by Sustainable Ocean Plans within five years, with the aim of sustainably managing 100% of the ocean area under our national jurisdiction, and identified transformative priority actions. These commitments will contribute to a sustainable ocean economy that can tackle climate change head on. This transformation is vital for a sustainable and equitable relationship between people and planet—the entire blue planet. 

We have a collective opportunity and responsibility to protect and restore the health of our ocean and build a sustainable ocean economy that can provide food, empower vulnerable coastal communities and Small Island Developing States, power our cities, transport our people and goods and provide innovative solutions to the global challenge of climate change. 

In accepting this responsibility and seizing this opportunity, we can give a blue boost to our economies and improve the welfare of our people today while building resilience for the future.

We urge all actors to join us in this endeavour to ensure that the ocean and the ocean economy continue to play a vital and sustained role in tackling climate change.

Scott Morrison  
Prime Minister of Australia 

Uhuru Kenyatta  
President of Kenya 

Justin Trudeau 
Prime Minister of Canada 

Andrés Manuel López Obrador  
President of Mexico 

Sebastián Piñera  
President of Chile 

Hage Gottfried Geingob  
President of Namibia 

Frank Bainimarama 
Prime Minister of Fiji 

Jonas Gahr Støre  
Prime Minister of Norway 

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo  
President of Ghana 

Surangel Whipps, Jr.  
President of Palau 

Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo  
President of Indonesia 

António Costa  
Prime Minister of Portugal 

Andrew Michael Holness 
Prime Minister of Jamaica

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
President of the United States of America

Fumio Kishida  
Prime Minister of Japan may be consulted for further details

World Resources Institute acts as Secretariat for the Ocean Panel.