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World Resources Institute

Sustainable Ocean Economy

Moving from a current ocean economy of overexploitation, extraction and abuse to regeneration.


The ocean adds $2.5 trillion each year to the global economy, feeds 3 billion people, is home to more than half the world’s species, produces half the planet’s oxygen and absorbs a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions. And it is greatly in peril. Many of the dire problems the ocean now faces – overfishing, pollution, uncontrolled coastal development, coral reef dieback and some of the severe consequences of a changing climate – are market and governance failures. Done right, however, a new sustainable ocean economy can provide lasting growth and prosperity.

To build a sustainable ocean economy, we must stop the degradation of the world’s marine ecosystems and improve the environmental status of the oceans. This will require action from all of us.

Erna Solberg,
Prime Minister of Norway, co-chair of the
High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy

Norway and the Republic of Palau co-chair the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, which includes 14 sitting heads of state, to address these issues. The High Level Panel has commissioned research on evidence-based solutions to the ocean crises and how to address them. This will include a series of “Blue Papers” by global experts exploring issues such as sustainable fisheries, ocean-based energy solutions and tourism, as well as new approaches to marine protected areas and ocean finance. The papers will inform an action-oriented report to be released in 2020. An advisory network of corporations, multi-laterals and NGOs will also work to embed the recommendations into the ocean industry to shift towards a sustainable ocean economy. Dynamic Planet is a strategic advisor to the Secretariat, housed at the World Resources Institute, and assists in supporting and facilitating the work of the High Level Panel.

For more on Sustainable Ocean Economy: oceanpanel.org