Acknowledging the central importance of a healthy ocean, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets clear targets for tackling the pressing issues facing the marine environment. While responsibility for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) lies with the member States of the United Nations, meeting the ocean goal SDG 14 will require integrated and ecosystem-based governance approaches that reflect the interconnected nature of marine ecosystems and address the cumulative impacts of human activities. There is therefore a strong impetus for governments and stakeholders to collaborate across sectors and boundaries.
Theme 1 focused on how marine regions can effectively collaborate to meet these ambitious global goals. In addition to addressing concrete regional issues such as the fight against plastic pollution and the development of sustainable coastal and marine tourism, this theme discussed solution-oriented models for enhancing regional collaboration and accelerating progress in delivering the ocean SDG.
- Topic 1.1 Beyond the garbage patch: Achieving SDG 14.1
- Topic 1.1 looked at the regional challenges for implementation of SDG 14.1 towards preventing and significantly reducing marine litter. Looking at practical examples from various regions, the objective was to highlight pathways to improve cross-sectoral cooperation at the regional level through sharing of best practices and to foster greater collaboration and coordination through partnerships.
- Topic 1.2 Strengthening regional frameworks for SDG 14 implementation
- This topic aimed at providing an opportunity for exchange on innovative practices and lessons learned from regional approaches. Different regional models were explored that facilitate greater integration and help taking into account synergies or trade-offs with interlinked SDGs. Ways forward and possible barriers for regional coordination as well as the scaling-up and acceleration of innovative practices or models were discussed in order to deliver practical recommendations.
- Topic 1.3 Towards regional frameworks for sustainable tourism
- The objective of this topic was to assess the current challenges and identify ways for marine regions to better regulate coastal and marine tourism and mitigate related environmental impacts.