Marine Biodiversity

Halting the loss of marine and coastal biodiversity is an important component of maintaining ocean and coastal ecosystem function. The main drivers of marine biodiversity loss are inherently difficult to control and are predicted to increase in the future, as the world’s coastal population continues to grow. Recognizing this problem, the world’s governments took a bold step during the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in agreeing to a target to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 and to develop representative networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2012.

Despite a growing understanding of the critical importance of marine biodiversity and ecosystems, the 2010 biodiversity target and the 2012 Marine Protected Area target were not met. Furthermore, the global decline in marine biodiversity has been well-documented. Available indicators, show a continued decline overall in the abundance, diversity and distribution of marine species. Despite increases in the number of protected areas, biodiversity in the oceans is declining in ecosystems ranging from coastal estuaries and shellfish reefs to deep-sea seamounts and pelagic fisheries.

With the aim of reversing these negative trends, the Global Ocean Forum focuses on improving the implementation and management of Marine Protected Areas, in the context of the integrated, ecosystem-based approach. The Global Ocean Forum collaborates with a number of partners from all sectors, including the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, to conduct multi-stakeholder dialogues and policy analyses to assess best practices in conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity and outline potential options to achieving major global biodiversity goals.

For more information on the Global Ocean Forum’s work on Marine Biodiversity and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), please click here.