Five ocean-based solutions can support SDGs, pandemic recovery


During the inaugural Ocean Stewardship Annual Review, CEOs addressed five “tipping points” for a healthy and productive ocean.

The five areas for actions are: fully traceable sustainable seafood; decarbonized shipping; harnessing ocean electricity; mapping the ocean; and ending waste entering the ocean.

The outcome documents makes recommendations for how businesses can support each tipping point.


The UN Global Compact held the inaugural Ocean Stewardship Annual Review, aiming to identify critical actions for the ocean to support the Decade of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Ocean Stewardship Annual Review brought together more than 50 CEOs, policymakers, and civil society leaders for a high-level meeting on 21 September 2020, on the sidelines of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The event underscored that accelerating ocean-based solutions can support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and delivery of the SDGs.

According to the UN Global Compact’s Ocean Stewardship 2030 report released in May 2020, five tipping points could secure a healthy and productive ocean. These are:

Fully traceable sustainable seafood;

Decarbonized shipping (“set sail for zero”);

Harnessing ocean electricity;

Mapping the ocean; and

Ending waste entering the ocean.

During the review event, five CEO Roundtables addressed these tipping points. The review resulted in an Outcome Document of the 2020 CEO Roundtables on Ocean, identifying actions business can take to advance the five areas.

On sustainable seafood, the outcome document recommends: contributing to standardize traceability data, harmonize standards and promote interoperability of traceability platforms through the seafood value chain; and increasing the recognition of seafood in the climate and food agendas.

On decarbonizing shipping, recommendations include: providing incentives to develop and scale up low- or zero-carbon fuels, and support transparency and financial capacity; engaging with governments and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in setting up a global research and development fund and calling for further policy action; and sharing best practices regarding technology for zero-emission vessels.

On harnessing ocean energy, the document highlights action areas related to: developing a framework for global strategic planning by governments, in dialogue with relevant stakeholders; and increasing standardization of the industry and setting up global certifications and key performance indicators.

On ending waste entering the ocean, the document calls for: defining the “rules of the game” such as through dependable regulations for the private sector, to facilitate greater public-private collaboration to end ocean plastic; and determining the institutions needed to rapidly scale plastic pollution solutions across countries, as well as funding them.

On mapping the ocean, the outcome document recommends: conducting a gap analysis to take stock of ongoing ocean data initiatives, and data and information needs; and identifying enabling factors and the necessary means to implement them, including support for developing countries, in collecting, sharing, and using ocean data.

On delivering on the Decade of Action, participants identified barriers and actions for business and governments to realize the ambitions highlighted in the Ocean Stewardship 2030 report.

SDG 14 (life below water) addresses the need to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Four of the targets of SDG 14 are due to be achieved by 2020.


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