Our Journey So Far

a brief history of the Ocean Sanctuary Alliance

The Ocean Sanctuary Alliance (OSA) is a movement within the United Nations to achieve increased ocean protection by member states as part of Sustainable Development Goal 14. 

Initiated in 2013, OSA became instrumental in establishing a stand-alone goal for the oceans as part of the broader SDGs Goal 14 contains a provision (Target 5) to conserve at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information. OSA exists to mobilize countries and scientists to make the only numerical target within SDG 14 a reality. 

OSA  grew out of the Fund for a Sustainable Palau, which was formed in 2012, to support Palau’s efforts to create a nationwide sanctuary in its territorial waters in the far western Pacific, an area the size of France. Palau’s President Tommy Remengesau Jr. has emerged as a global voice for protecting fisheries, and his message has resonated with many other countries. He has spoken numerous times at the UN on this subject.

Our successes so far include five high-level symposia at the UN: 

·       December 2013: OSA members called for a stand-alone ocean goal, and presented the first draft.

·       February 2014: OSA members called for establishment of marine sanctuaries and the resources to make them successful.

·       September 2014: Member-states and members of civil society called for the passage of SDG 14 for the oceans, including a numerical goal of at least 10% of the ocean to be protected.

·       March 2015: OSA organized world renowned scientists to present evidence making the case that sanctuaries can indeed be regenerative and reverse the decline in fish stocks.

·       July 2015: OSA convened experts in marine sanctuary science, funding, and enforcement to highlight best practices, as well as Member States that have implemented successful marine protected areas in their waters. 

    September 2015:  UN General Assembly unanimously approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 14 and target 5 which calls for protection of 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020.

    November 2015:  The Republic of Italy and OSA launched the 10x20 initiative and the formation of the 10x20 Steering Committee of member-states, agencies, and civil society to push for achievement of target 5.

   March 2016:  The Republic of Italy, OSA, and the UN Environmental Programme assembled 25 marine scientists and representatives of 33 member-states in Rome to plan a way forward for achievement of the 10x20 Initiative.