Key Fishing Nations Endorse the Protection of 30% of the Ocean

The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel), composed of 14 serving world leaders, is putting forward a new ocean action agenda for building a sustainable ocean economy where protection, production and prosperity go hand in hand. In addition to releasing commitments and policy actions designed to transform how the world can protect and use the ocean and ultimately sustainably manage humanity’s impacts on it, the Ocean Panel will also release a new comprehensive report spotlighting ways to accelerate, scale and finance ocean action. 

With their announcement today, the Ocean Panel, including key ocean leaders like Australia, Japan, Norway, Indonesia, Mexico and Portugal, are joining a growing group of champions for nature at the highest levels who propose the protection of 30% of our oceans, and recognize that the protection of nature is critical to biodiversity, climate and long-term economic growth and prosperity. 

Recent studies have found that protecting more nature would yield benefits that exceed costs by at least  five to one, and would support 30 million jobs in ecotourism and sustainable fishing. And with over half of world GDP dependent on nature, investing in green projects is essential for global economic growth. A transition to a nature-positive economy could generate up to $10.1 trillion in annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030.

In response to the Ocean Panel’s launch today:

Minister Andrea Meza, Minister for Energy and the Environment for Costa Rica and Co-Chair of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People commented:

“I wish to congratulate the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy for their tireless efforts for the last 2 years. Their finding on the importance of protecting 30% of the Ocean by 2030 is in line with our effort through the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People to protect 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030. I wish to thank the leaders of the panel that have joined the HAC for Nature and People and I invite the leaders that haven’t done so to join our coalition and the leaders Pledge to champion a global agreement for 30% protection. Moreover, we must work together towards a Blue Economy creating blue jobs, promoting healthy oceans and healthy communities, that will help us come out of this crisis enhancing resilience and sustainability while increasing our environmental ambitions.’’

The Campaign for Nature, issued the following statement:

Enric Sala, Explorer in Residence, National Geographic and the author of the recently published book The Nature of Nature, Why We Need the Wild

The 14 world leaders who make up the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy are sending a powerful message to the world that we can not treat the ocean—already suffering from overfishing, pollution and global warming—as the next frontier of economic exploitation and profit, without regard for the cost. 

By calling for transformative action on oceans, these champions for nature are sending a strong signal that the emerging blue economy can and must be sustainable and resilient—as well as profitable. 

Whereas the fisheries sector and other ocean-based industries treat the ocean like a bank account where everybody withdraws but nobody makes a deposit, the establishment of 30% of the ocean into marine protected areas (MPAs) will restore vibrant ocean life, radically increase fish stocks, and help local and regional economies thrive.


The Campaign for Nature works with scientists, Indigenous Peoples, and a growing coalition of over 100 conservation organizations around the world who are calling on policymakers to commit to clear and ambitious targets to be agreed upon at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China in 2021 to protect at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030 and working with Indigenous leaders to ensure full respect for Indigenous rights.

The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People is an intergovernmental body made up of countries that have committed to protecting at least 30% of the planet’s lands and seas by 2030.

The coalition, led by France and Costa Rica, is driving forward this ambitious target as a key element of the treaty to be agreed on at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), expected to take place in 2021.  The High Ambition Coalition now has over 38 members including Costa Rica, France, The United Kingdom, Canada, Peru, Gabon, Grenada, The Seychelles, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Colombia, Mozambique, Switzerland, Mongolia , Pakistan and the European Commission, . Recently, the UN Secretary-General, HRH Prince Charles and Christiana Figueres also announced support for this ambitious target.

The High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) is a unique initiative of 14 serving world leaders building momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy, where effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand. By enhancing humanity’s relationship with the ocean, bridging ocean health and wealth, working with diverse stakeholders and harnessing the latest knowledge, the Ocean Panel aims to facilitate a better, more resilient future for people and the planet. 

Established in September 2018, the Ocean Panel has been working with government, business, financial institutions, the science community and civil society to catalyze and scale bold, pragmatic solutions across policy, governance, technology and finance, and ultimately develop a new ocean action agenda for transitioning to a sustainable ocean economy. The Ocean Panel’s new agenda is built upon leading edge knowledge and science, transformative recommendations, and action that is underway across a variety of partners. 


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