There are many challenges facing our planet’s oceans which have not been addressed to date by any single group of citizens, lawmakers, fishermen or world leaders. Fortunately, hope can be seen in the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO), a growing alliance of “governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and private sector interests that will mobilize knowledge and financial resources to address threats to ocean health, resilience and productivity.” This partnership, announced in February, has garnered the support of over 80 signatories so far and represents a bold and courageous front to save the oceans and preserve their social, biological and economic benefits for generations to come.
A declaration was released today by the GPO stating its objectives for achieving its international commitments for healthy and productive oceans. Among the GPO’s agreed goals are targets for significantly increasing global food fish production from sustainable aquaculture and sustainable fisheries; halving the current rate of natural habitat loss and increasing marine-managed and protected areas to at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas; and reducing marine pollution especially from marine litter, waste water and excess nutrients.
With the official start of Rio +20 coming up on June 20-22, the world will turn its attention to solving the many global environmental crises while pursuing sustainable development. Challenges facing the Oceans and ensuring their ability to feed the 950 million people that depend on fish as their main source of protein is one of the seven priority areas that will be covered at the conference. A commitment at the RIO +20 summit to support the World Banks recovery plans and scale up catch shares globally could be the most significant and tangible contribution. Catch shares have the ability to recover depleted fisheries; stabilizing millions of fishing jobs and sustainably feeding millions of people who depend on fish for their daily protein.
World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said,
“The world’s oceans are in danger, and the enormity of the challenge is bigger than one country or organization. We need coordinated global action to restore our oceans to health. Together we’ll build on the excellent work already being done to address the threats to oceans, identify workable solutions, and scale them up.”
This partnership represents an opportunity for humanity to invest and triumph in creating a sustainable and profitable future for the oceans that sustain and feed the growing world population.