The state of the Ocean is declining. Yet its good health is essential to our planet's equilibrium, and provides invaluable services to the billions of men and women who depend on it, particularly the 20% of the world's population who live less than 30 kilometres from the coast. Intense competition between governments and private players is leading to the over-exploitation of marine resources, massive pollution and the destruction of ecosystems, which is no longer confined to coastal areas but extends to all the world's seas, including areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The combination of these threats with the effects of climate change is leading to a profound alteration in the biological functions and ecosystem services provided by the marine environment. It also brings major challenges for populations, in terms of food security and adaptation to climate change for example.
These challenges call for strong international cooperation. However, the governance framework for the Ocean is not devoid of rules. Indeed, recent decades have seen a significant development of agreements aimed at regulating marine human activities, such as the recently adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Treaty on the Conservation of High Seas Biodiversity. However, the political, institutional and legal framework for governance of the oceans still needs to be perfected, and existing rules need to be effectively implemented.
IDDRI intends to contribute to meeting these challenges through an approach based on:
- Strengthening intergovernmental collaboration at UN level, through the development and implementation of new agreements dedicated to the Ocean and the integration of marine issues into other international regimes (climate, biodiversity, etc.);
- The development of regional governance frameworks, essential links in ensuring both the preservation of resources and the protection of the populations that depend on them.
To this end, IDDRI is currently investing in:
- Supporting the creation of marine protected areas on the high seas, with particular attention paid to issues of funding and control, monitoring and surveillance;
- Contributing to ongoing discussions on the risks associated with the exploitation of deep-sea mining and on the necessary changes to the rules governing the management of these resources;
- The development of a governance framework for coastal and marine tourism, to ensure sustainable, inclusive and resilient development while meeting the associated environmental, socio-cultural and economic challenges.
- Strengthening regional governance of the Ocean, in particular through the Marine Regions Forum;
- Adaptation to climate change, particularly in coastal areas.