Connecting people to protect one ocean

Maintaining a healthy ocean is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving global sustainability. It is rich in biodiversity and provides us with, for example, food, energy, and minerals. But the degradation of the marine environment has outpaced the development of governance responses. A central challenge comes from the transboundary nature of ocean: neither fish stocks nor pressures such as marine pollution or climate change are bound by national borders. Another issue is the sectoral divide in ocean governance: human activities in the ocean are regulated through separated regulatory systems with only limited coordination. Addressing these challenges requires collective and coordinated actions by States and other actors to develop integrated approaches to ocean governance within marine regions.

In 2017, Germany announced at the UN Ocean Conference in New York and together with the European Union at the Our Ocean Conference in Malta that they will support “the establishment of a cross-sectoral and cross-boundary multi-stakeholder platform for regional ocean governance under the PROG, the so called PROG-Forums”. The development of this platform will be implemented through the organisation of Marine Regions Forums hosted by the PROG together with its partners.

First Marine Regions Forum will be held from 30 September to 2 October 2019 in Berlin, Germany

The overarching goal is to develop effective cross-sectoral regional governance concepts for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans. The Marine Regions Forum represents a new format for solution-oriented learning and exchange among different marine regions, which the PROG will develop, test, and establish as a participatory instrument at the interface of science and marine policy. The Marine Regions Forum will highlight examples of good practice in integrated marine governance at the regional level and support the development of new governance approaches to address critical for ocean sustainability challenges. A team of ocean governance researchers from the project partners as well as renowned international experts from practice and science will be involved in the conception, implementation and further consolidation of the Marine Regions Forum as a cooperative instrument for international ocean governance. The organisation of the first PROG Marine Regions Forum will also be underpinned by a transdisciplinary research process.

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Project details

Title of the project: Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance: International Forum to Strengthen regional Ocean Governance (PROG-Forum)

Project duration: November 2017 to October 2020

Coordinator: Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)

Project Partners: Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), TMG – Think Tank for Sustainability



Financial support

The PROG Marine Regions Forum is funded by the German Federal Environment Agency in close consultation with the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, as well as the European Union through the European Commission.