Neumann, B. et al. (2021). Marine Regions Forum: An international stakeholder forum to strengthen regional ocean governance. German Environment Agency.
The transboundary nature of the marine environment, along with the complexity of ocean issues and constraints arising from the current governance system, requires collaborative action across sectors and territorial boundaries. Cooperation among stakeholders and coordination of policies and actions within and between marine regions are important levers to achieve ocean sustainability, yet are far from being widely implemented. Employing a transdisciplinary process, the Marine Regions Forum was setup in responses to these needs, as a new participatory space for dialogue that brings together decision-makers, scientists, civil society representatives and other actors from diverse marine regions to exchange outside of formal governance processes. Through exchange, joint learning, and showcasing of existing collaborative efforts, the Marine Regions Forum aims to enable collective responses and support the development of governance solutions that catalyse transformative change towards the sustainable use and conservation of the ocean, and ultimately the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The first larger-scale event held under this new platform was set up as an international conference and hosted in 2019 in Berlin, Germany, under the theme “Achieving a healthy ocean – Regional ocean governance beyond 2020” and was attended by 200 international ocean actors. The outcomes of this first phase show that, by complementing existing processes, facilitating multi-stakeholder exchanges across sectors, and disseminating emerging recommendations to the formal policy processes, dialogue spaces such as the Marine Regions Forum have the potential to facilitate progress in ocean governance and sustainability transformations.