The Global Ocean Forum was first mobilized in 2001 to help governments place issues related to oceans, coasts, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) agenda. During the WSSD preparatory process, it became evident that ocean issues were not on the political agenda. The Global Ocean Forum was mobilized in response to this lack of attention. The GOF held the first Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands (in December 2001 at UNESCO, Paris) to call attention to the economic and social importance of oceans, coasts, and SIDS and the need to address serious ocean-related challenges in the WSSD.

These efforts were successful in encouraging governments to put oceans on the WSSD agenda and agree on an ambitious action plan for oceans, coasts, and islands, with specific targets and timetables, to address major ocean issues and advance sustainable development.

Today, the GOF brings together ocean leaders from all sectors from over 110 countries to advance the global oceans agenda. The Global Ocean Forum continues to work to advance global ocean agenda, supporting a sustainable development approach focused on healthy ecosystems, coastal peoples, and equity by:

–Promoting the implementation of international agreements related to the ocean, coasts, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS);

–Promoting international consensus-building on unresolved ocean issues, including ocean and climate issues, and improving the governance regime for ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction; and

–Anticipating new ocean issues to facilitate forward thinking policymaking and governance.

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