“The world’s ocean basins are critical to the success of our Nation and, indeed, to life on Earth. The ocean powers our economy, provides food for billions of people, supplies 50 percent of the world’s oxygen, offers recreational opportunities for us to enjoy, and regulates weather patterns and our global climate system.”
– President Joseph R. Biden, June 1, 2021
During the World Leaders Summit at COP26, the United States announced plans to join the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (“Ocean Panel”). This multi-national initiative is harnessing the power of the ocean to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide jobs and food security, improve climate resilience, and sustain biological diversity.
Co-chaired by Norway and Palau, the Ocean Panel includes Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palau, and Portugal. Together, these 14 nations represent nearly 40 percent of the world’s coastlines, 30 percent of its exclusive economic zones (EEZs), 20 percent of its fisheries, and 20 percent of its shipping fleet. The Ocean Panel is advised by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.
Advancing Ocean-Climate Action
COP26 is a timely moment to join the Ocean Panel. The ocean sustains all life on this planet, yet its health is under threat from greenhouse gas emissions and other anthropogenic stressors. At the same time, the ocean is a source of climate solutions, from reducing shipping emissions, to scaling up offshore renewable energy, to protecting coastal ecosystems that store carbon and defend coastlines from climate impacts.
Since its establishment in 2018, the Ocean Panel has worked to advance ocean-based climate solutions. Its research has underlined the role that a sustainable ocean economy can play in tackling the climate crisis, including by helping to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5℃ within reach.
Sustainably Managing the Ocean for People and the Planet
Through the Ocean Panel, world leaders work to create a sustainable ocean economy, informed by the latest science, for the benefit of people and the planet. As creating a sustainable ocean economy is an all-of-society effort, the Ocean Panel has strong engagement with civil society, industry, and intergovernmental organizations.
Ocean Panel members act with determination to create a sustainable ocean economy in accordance with national capacities and circumstances. As a member of the Ocean Panel, the United States will develop a national plan within five years to sustainably manage our ocean area under national jurisdiction. Sustainable Ocean Plans provide public- and private-sector decision-makers with a roadmap for healthy ocean ecosystems that advance thriving economies and societies.
For additional inquiries, contact ClimateComms@state.gov.