The ocean is in a severe and accelerating crisis, threatening the environment and human well-being. First among the problems plaguing the ocean is overfishing, which has caused the collapse of fish stock and the loss of biodiversity. It is threatening food security for many nations, affecting those most where hunger is widespread.
This is a global problem and it will require a global solution to bring the ocean back from the brink of irreversible decline. International collective action starting at the United Nations (UN) is the most effective way to create such a solution. For the first time, a worldwide effort to stabilize the ocean has been adopted by UN Member States as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), an internationally negotiated list of priorities and objectives to mobilize resources and bring about collective action.
At the UN's Sustainable Development Summit on September, 25, 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which contained 17 SDGs, among them SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
The Ocean Sanctuary Alliance (OSA) has been instrumental in calling for a "stand alone" oceans SDG and the target to protect at least 10 percent of marine areas within national jurisdiction by the year 2020. This is the only numerical goal in SDG14, and it is achievable.
OSA’s short-term objective is to aid in the creation of scientifically based-marine sanctuaries and then help oversee a rigorous multi-year program to effectively implement the plan. If this opportunity is missed, the next occasion to debate these issues at the global level will be 2030, when the damage done may be irreversible.
OSA is uniquely positioned to achieve its mission because its leadership includes state actors who can make commitments on behalf of the nations they represent. Our coalition is growing, and OSA country supporters to date include Australia, The Republic of Maldives, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Sweden, European Union, Iceland, Israel, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Poland, Republic of Palau and Marshall Islands.
Led by Chairman Mr. Mark Newhouse, and a diverse and unique team of Board Directors, among which is H.E. Mr. Stuart Beck, Ambassador of Oceans and Seas for the Republic of Palau, H.E. Dr. Elliston Rahming, Permanent Representative for The Bahamas and Mr. Amir Dossal, the OSA hopes to continuously strengthen and expand this UN coalition, seize upon the growing scientific and political consensus to ensure that ocean fisheries and resources thrive for generations to come.
The window of time to secure a healthy ocean for future generations is short and quickly closing and support is needed now.