Partnering for a sustainable ocean – the role of regional ocean governance in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 14

In this report, two sets of case studies provide a detailed exploration of the contribution that regional approaches to ocean sustainability can make. Selected to highlight a variety of regions and a range of ROG types, eight of the case studies pertain to particular SDG14 targets, and five highlight the role that regional approaches can play in advancing integrated ocean governance overall. The case studies show that regional organisations have mandates covering most of the SDG14 targets and that they are already addressing a range of key issues, including marine pollution, sustainable management and production, fisheries, and conservation. At the same time, cross-cutting initiatives are starting to bring a new level of cooperation and coherence to a notoriously fragmented ocean governance system.

Key Messages:

  1. Regional cooperation is essential for ocean sustainability. Regional approaches to ocean governance make it possible for States and stakeholders to cooperate at an ecosystem scale and work together across sectors and national boundaries.
  2. Most of the SDG14 targets can be addressed through regional initiatives. Regional approaches and instruments can play a key role in meeting most of the SDG14 targets, with par – ticular relevance in the areas of marine pollution, sus – tainable ocean management, fisheries, conservation, and economic benefits for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
  3. Regional ocean governance is a driver for the development of integrated approaches. Regional approaches can help advance ocean govern – ance by bringing all relevant actors together, taking the interdependencies among SDG14 targets into account, and providing co-benefits for the other SDGs.
  4. Regional ocean governance efforts require greater support to overcome gaps and institutional weaknesses. Regional cooperation is key to the success of SDG14 and the 2030 Agenda, and should be further strength – ened, including through capacity building and the development of regional partnerships.

Wright G., Schmidt S., Rochette J., Shackeroff J., Unger S., Waweru Y. & Müller A., 2017. Partnering for a sustainable ocean – the role of regional ocean governance in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 14. IDDRI, IASS, TMG & UN Environment. Report.

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