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14 Countries Commit to Ocean Sustainability Initiative

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14 Countries Commit to Ocean Sustainability Initiative
Scaling up offshore renewable energy is one of the ways that governments can improve ocean sustainability efforts. BerndBrueggemann / Getty Images

On Wednesday, governments responsible for 40 percent of the world's coastlines and 20 percent of global fisheries announced a series of new commitments that comprise the world's biggest ocean sustainability initiative.


The fourteen countries, which combined control an ocean area the size of Africa, committed to sustainably manage their national waters by 2025 and encouraged all other nations to join them by 2030.

In practice, this means that these governments will pursue a range of strategies, including reducing shipping emissions, reducing marine pollution, scaling up offshore renewable energy, and taking a precautionary approach to deep sea mining.

"You can't just prosper, prosper, prosper—fish more, drill more," Jane Lubchenco, an environmental scientist, former NOAA administrator, and one of the panel's expert co-chairs, told Fast Company.

"You have to do it in a way that minimizes the impacts on the ecosystem and maximizes the equitable benefit."

The new sustainable ocean agenda, if achieved worldwide, would dramatically increase food and renewable energy production, and contribute a fifth of the greenhouse gas pollution reductions required to stay within 1.5°C of global warming.

For a deeper dive:

The Guardian, Fast Company, Nature, Deutsche Welle, BBC Radio, Undercurrent News, Seafood Source, National Geographic; Commentary: Nature, Jane Lubchenco, Peter Haugan, Mari Elka Pangestu comment, Nature, Erna Solberg op-ed

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