From the report, a message from the Co-chairs:
It is no exaggeration that all life on Earth, including our own
survival, depends on a healthy, vibrant ocean. Containing an
almost unfathomable diversity of life, billions of us rely on it for
food, clean air, a stable climate, rain and fresh water, transport
and energy, recreation and livelihoods.
Our ocean is in decline. Habitat destruction, biodiversity loss,
overfishing, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification are
pushing the ocean system to the point of collapse. Governance
is woefully inadequate, and on the high seas, anarchy rules the
waves. Technological advance, combined with a lack of regulation,
is widening the gap between rich and poor as those countries that
can, exploit dwindling resources while those that can’t experience
the consequences of those actions. Regional stability, food security,
climate resilience, and our children’s future are all under threat.
Yet we are also inspired by the opportunity that exists for the high
seas to play a regenerative role in restoring whole ocean health,
and by the potential of a small number of bold proposals to
stimulate a cycle of recovery. We believe that ocean degradation
can be reversed and the current cycle of decline can be
transformed into a cycle of recovery.
The independent Global Ocean Commission was launched in
February 2013. It had one particular ambition: to bring the debate
about the future of the high seas and the value of this immense
area of our planet out from the margins of political debate and
much closer to the mainstream. The Commission comprised a mix
of public and private sector figures including former Heads of State,
government ministers and business people, whose experience
spans foreign affairs, finance, defence, education, development
and the environment. Though not all were ocean experts, all were
united in their commitment to helping reverse ocean degradation
and address the failures of high seas governance. Over the last
18 months, supported by respected scientific and economic
expertise, the commissioners have undertaken a journey of
discovery about both the value and the abuse of the global ocean.
Conceived by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and supported in
partnership by Pew, Adessium Foundation, Oceans 5 and the
Swire Group Charitable Trust, as a fresh, dynamic and energising
force to put forward bold, pragmatic, cost-effective, and politically
feasible proposals, the Commission is independent of all while
being hosted by Somerville College at the University of Oxford.
McKinsey Global Center for Sustainability provided facts and
At the heart of the Commission’s endeavour through its four
meetings since February 2013, in Cape Town, New York, Oxford,
and Hong Kong, has been rigorous consideration of the latest
science and analysis from ocean experts, combined with broad
stakeholder engagement. Members of the public were also invited
to participate via a worldwide survey comprising over 13,000
online questionnaires, revealing strong support for more effective
governance of the global ocean.
What we found was cause for alarm. The ocean is under threat,
and humanity’s approach to it is uncontrolled. Benign neglect
by the majority, and active abuse by the minority, have fuelled a
cycle of decline. No single body shoulders responsibility for ocean
health, and an absence of accountability is characterised by blind
exploitation of resources and a wilful lack of care. We call this the
cycle of decline.
Through consideration of the latest scientific and political analysis,
we have identified proposals for action. These both sound a
warning and indicate what needs to be done. While some are not
new, all are pragmatic and possible, and should incentivise public
and private sectors alike to take responsibility. We must now begin
to turn the tide.
The task of saving the global ocean is one that no government or
company or individual can achieve alone. Stopping the abusive
and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and freedoms,
and restoring ocean health, requires a coalition for change with
a clear mission. We are convinced that if the package of eight
proposals that we now put forward is expeditiously acted upon,
it is possible, within the next decade, to reverse the degradation
of the global ocean.
The proposals here sound a warning, but they also offer a
politically feasible way forward. As leaders and global citizens,
as mothers and fathers, and as humble champions for the global
ocean, we appeal to each and every one of you to join us. The
riches of the global ocean are our common inheritance. The time
to act is now, for ourselves and for future generations.
Mission Ocean is the name we have given our call for action.
Join Mission Ocean and work with us to prove to the world that
positive change is possible and that we can leave the legacy of
a healthy, vibrant ocean system to future generations.
With deepest gratitude to our fellow commissioners and our
secretariat, we commend these proposals to you.
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