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Global Partnership for Oceans Releases Blue Ribbon Panel Report

globalpartnershipforoceans16 October 2013: A panel of leaders from 16 countries, representing government, the private sector and civil society, has released recommendations for actions to improve ocean health. The Blue Ribbon Panel was convened by the World Bank to provide multi-stakeholder perspectives on achieving ecological, social and economic goals in the management of global oceans in support of the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO).

In the report, titled 'Indispensable Oceans,' the panel rejects the business-as-usual approach to managing oceans and agrees that fragmented approaches cannot be expected to respond to the challenges facing ocean health. It underscores the importance of a healthy ocean for human wellbeing, as well as the oceans' role in the Earth's life-support system. The report stresses that the ocean generates oxygen and mitigates climate change, while noting that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and associated changes to the climate are projected to exacerbate the influence of direct pressures on oceans from fishing, habitat destruction and pollution, in ways that run the risk of being non-linear in nature.

It calls for investment through public-private partnerships (PPPs), and underscores that the Global Partnership for Oceans can act as a platform for technical exchange and finance to support the sustainable management of oceans.

The panel proposes that investments through the GPO consider five principles: sustainable livelihoods, social equity and food security; a healthy ocean and sustainable use; effective governance systems; long-term viability; and capacity building and innovation.

In addition to developing a strategy with guiding principles and criteria for setting priorities, the report describes approaches to measuring progress and calls for the design of holistic solutions.

The GPO is an alliance of over 100 governments, international organizations, civil society groups and private sector actors committed to addressing threats to the world's oceans. It aims to tackle problems including overfishing, pollution and habitat loss, working to meet a series of objectives by 2022. The GPO is completing its design phase and is anticipated to develop catalytic investment packages in up to ten key ocean regions globally in the coming years. The GPO will seek to align existing resources toward a common objective, mobilize finance through a specific GPO fund, spur new public and private investment, and develop "investment packages." The World Bank is providing interim secretariat services. [GPO Press Release] [Publication: Indispensable Oceans: Aligning Ocean Health and Human Well-being] [World Bank Press Release] [Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Press Release]