Tracking Progress on Global Ocean Targets, Building Capacity, and Placing Oceans in the Climate Agenda


The Global Ocean Forum is one of the dynamic players in the global ocean policy landscape. Since its creation in 2002, the Global Ocean Forum has been tracking progress achieved (or lack thereof) on major ocean-related goals, bringing together national and international data on the range of issues related to oceans, especially regarding the cross-cutting goals (integrated, ecosystem-based management).

Our mission is to advance the global ocean agenda toward sustainable development for the well-being of humanity, in the context of climate change. – Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, President, Global Ocean Forum

The Global Ocean Forum has built an inclusive and mutually-supportive global network of ocean policy leaders from 110 countries, facilitating cross-sectoral linkages, informal diplomacy, and goodwill among the ocean community.

The Global Ocean Forum fostered some of the first cross-sectoral dialogue on the issue of areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), and continues to foster discussion and analysis on current developments as well as build capacity among various actors in this issue area. It is actively involved in a supportive role as part of civil society, in the Intergovernmental Conference on an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).


Just recently, the GOF led the organization of a high-level event on Common Oceans–Why Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction Are Essential for People and Planet that took place on June 27, 2018 at the Nausicaá French National Sea Center in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. The event aimed at boosting the general public’s understanding of ABNJ. The Global Ocean Forum has also organized the development of a policy brief on capacity building in ABNJ. The policy brief, a multi-author, multi-institutional effort involving a set of 35 Authors, is intended to contribute directly to the discussions at the Intergovernmental Conference on BBNJ.  The high-level event, the development of the policy brief, along with other multi-stakeholder workshops and capacity development activities in ABNJ, have been carried out under the GEF/FAO/GOF project on Strengthening global capacity to effectively manage areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) under the GEF/FAO Common Oceans Program.

Peter Thomson
Peter Thomson, Fiji, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean and President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, speaks during the closing plenary of Oceans Action Day at the UNFCCC COP 23, 11 November 2017, Bonn, Germany

Since 2008, the Global Ocean Forum has actively worked to place the oceans squarely in the climate change agenda. It started by featuring oceans and climate change in the agenda of the 4th Global Conference on Oceans and Coasts held in Hanoi, Vietnam in April 2008. Through a series of Oceans Days at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2017), the Global Ocean Forum, together with partners from governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, have collaborated to advance the oceans and climate change agenda at the UNFCCC.

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