UN Global Compact launches new action platform for Sustainable Ocean Business and development

Friday, on World Oceans Day,  the United Nations Global Compact launched the newly formed Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform — a three-year global programme bringing together business, civil society, the UN and Governments to advance the ocean economy and sustainable development.

The ocean, the world’s greatest common resource, holds a great potential to deliver on the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Global Goals while meeting the increasing global demand for more sustainable food, energy, minerals and transport for a growing world population.

Rooted in the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, the Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform gathers leading businesses in the ocean industries together with experts, civil society, Governments and UN partners to explore and define how ocean-based companies can deliver on the Global Goals.

At the launch Friday, which took place in the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, said, ‘’I am truly encouraged by the huge interest of the private sector to step up and take action on delivering on the Global Goals. The ocean industries are true global companies, facing unique challenges and opportunities every day in a competitive marketplace. Balancing environmental challenges, social development and economic growth is all about understanding long-term risks and opportunities. And the biggest risk of all is not delivering the 2030 Agenda.

Threats such as overfishing, marine litter and acidification have put the health of the world’s ocean in a very fragile state. The private sector can play a significant role in ensuring this crucial resource is sustainably managed. By contributing innovation, investment, development and providing new products, services and business models, companies can negate harmful impacts on ocean ecosystems while at the same time contributing to global economic growth.

The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Per Sandberg, spoke at the event Friday: “The ocean is a vital source of life, food, energy, medication and new opportunities. It is facing severe challenges that we need to find solutions to. We have to work together, and our policies for development and business have to work together. We must foster an international understanding of the fact that sustainable use of the ocean will enable higher value creation. Norway welcomes the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, and we will share our experiences and acquired knowledge.”

Peter Thompson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, also spoke at the launch event, saying, “The ocean is the common heritage of humankind — we have a common responsibility for the ocean — a common responsibility to save our ocean. Goal 14 binds us all. We need to make sure there is integrity in the implementation. And the only way to do this is through partnerships. There is no way Governments can do this alone. We have to bring business — it’s about the sustainable use of ocean — production and protection. […] We may be losing the battle now, but we will win.”

The launch was attended by 100 participants from leading ocean businesses, civil society, the UN and Government representatives. Her Excellency Fatima Kyari Mohammed, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, gave the closing remarks, saying, “The blue economy is at the centre of the African Union Agenda 2063 — the new frontier of African renaissance. And the launch of the Sustainable Business Ocean Action Platform is an important step in the right direction — to build and strengthen global partnerships… We believe when these partnerships are fully realized, we can produce significant forward economic development and the expansion of peace and prosperity for Africa and the rest of the world as well.”

Over the next three years, a diverse group of multi-stakeholder platform participants will aim to deliver leading action on ocean sustainability and advance shared ocean priorities.

Photo: Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director, United Nations Global Compact

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