The Marine Regions Forum

A unique dialogue platform that supports transformative change in the way we govern the ocean

In the ocean, no boundaries exist. Its waters – and its marine species but also pollution – are not confined by national boundaries. To protect the ocean, collaborative actions are therefore needed across states, sectors, and actors.

@ Shaah Shahidh | unsplash

In this endeavour, the Marine Regions Forum acts as an inclusive exchange platform for different stakeholders from the world’s marine regions. It is setup as an informal space at the science-policy-society interface. We aim to strengthen regional ocean governance through joint learning processes in support of regional action and international governance processes alike, and ultimately help to attain the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the ocean, SDG 14.

The Marine Regions Forum emerged from close cooperation between actors from science and ocean policy making. Germany announced in 2017 at the UN Ocean Conference in New York, and then together with the European Union (EU) at the 2017 Our Ocean conference in Malta, that a platform would be setup by 2020 to bring together a diverse range of stakeholders to strengthen cooperation and to support the development of new approaches for integrated ocean governance at the regional level.

Under the banner, “Achieving a healthy ocean – Regional ocean governance beyond 2020”, the first Marine Regions Forum conference, held in Berlin, Germany in 2019, brought together decision-makers, scientists and civil society from across the world’s diverse marine regions. The second Marine Regions Forum conference, “Navigating ocean sustainability in the Western Indian Ocean and beyond“, took place in Dar es Salaam in 2023.


Long-term vision

To facilitate transformations towards integrated ocean governance for marine regions.


The way we work

@Quangpraha | pixabay

With our work, we strive to advance ocean dialogue and action by

  • Connecting people: The Forum engages diverse decision-makers and stakeholders from non-governmental organisations, industry (such as fisheries, tourism, shipping and energy), government, and the scientific community.
  • Strengthening regional governance: Regional efforts to improve marine management have a long track record of success and play a critical role in facilitating cooperation, yet they are often overlooked and underfunded.
  • Co-developing solutions: Working together to find effective and scalable responses to pressing Ocean sustainability challenges.
  • Linking knowledge to policy: An interface between science and policy, developed by independent research institutes and think tanks together with a network of experts, in dialogue with decision-makers and civil society.
  • Providing informal and inclusive spaces: A space outside the constraints of formal governance arrangements and political negotiations, where stakeholders can speak freely and equally as experts.


Where we work

@James Donaldson | unsplash

The Marine Regions Forum strives to strengthen ocean action at three different scales: supporting progress within marine regions, advancing dialogue among marine regions, and giving regional ocean governance a voice in global processes.

Governance at the regional level allows customized management strategies geared towards the specific environmental and socioeconomic circumstances of each region. National actions can be coordinated at the regional level, assisting states in meeting global commitments, and realising sustainable development. In addition, the regional level can be more flexible and can set more ambitious goals than the global level.