United Nations
Building International Capacity to Monitor, Understand, and Act on Ocean Acidification
by The Ocean Foundation (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
The Ocean Foundation commits to building international capacity to address ocean acidification through four types of actions: monitoring, analyzing, engaging and acting.

Observing how, where, and how quickly is change occurring
Ocean acidification is causing rapid changes in chemistry, and these changes are not consistent across the globe. The first step to fighting ocean acidification is to monitor our waters so that we can better understand how, where, and how quickly the change is occurring. We have tools to monitor both the chemistry such as the change in pH and the biology like the change in algae distribution. Right now, entire regions of the ocean have limited or no capacity for such monitoring. The Ocean Foundation will work to increase monitoring capacity by providing training workshops for early career scientists, deploying tailored kits that enable monitoring efforts, and by supporting the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (the GOA-ON).

Studying how are we being affected now, and how will we be affected in the future
Once we have data, we identify patterns and conduct experiments informed by real world conditions. With enough experimental data, we produce models that help us predict future scenarios so that we know where, how, and when to act. The Ocean Foundation will support training on how to design experiments that help us better understand how ocean acidification might affect economically, ecologically, and culturally valuable species, and the communities that depend on them, and the building of models and forecasting systems that give us predictive abilities and the power to adapt.

Building partnerships and coalitions with stakeholders
Armed with data and a scientific understanding of the threat, we engage stakeholders with a compelling story of what ocean acidification could mean to them. We work with fishers, shellfish farmers, and others in coastal communities to interpret how the changes will affect them, and we work with policy makers to demonstrate how their constituents and the economies of their districts might be affected. The Ocean Foundation will work with community groups and legislatures across the world to help bring attention to ocean acidification and its potential impacts.

Enacting legislation that mitigates ocean acidification and helps communities adapt
By building a coalition of stakeholders stakeholders who are armed with strong science we have the power to act. The Ocean Foundation will work with legislatures around the world to craft legal language that addresses ocean acidification from the local level to the international level. We develop legislation that both helps mitigate ocean acidification through reduction of CO2 pollution or blue carbon restoration, including plantings of seagrass, mangroves and salt marsh grasses and adapt to ocean acidification through programs that provide the tools and resources needed by those industries being affected now, such as early warning systems and tools for reducing mortality at hatcheries.

The Ocean Foundation will work with international and regional partners to support these actions and effect change through five program areas:
Capacity Building
Delivering Technology
Global Policy Advisory Center
Blue Carbon Mitigation
Progress reports
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Coastal carbon sinks/blue carbon
  • Adaptation to more acidic ocean conditions
  • Scientific research and cooperation to address ocean acidification knowledge gaps
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
December 2020
Capacity Building through the training of 120 scientists in ocean acidification monitoring techniques through the six regional training workshops (two in South America, one in the Arctic, one in the Caribbean, one in Africa and one in the Pacific Islands). Scientists who receive training will be eligible to receive all equipment and materials needed to collect high quality ocean chemistry data.
December 2020
Increased monitoring capabilities through the development and delivery of 12
December 2020
Increased international collaboration and research through support for the Pier-2-Peer mentorship program, regional convening calls, five, 4-week internships for junior level scientists per year and travel stipends for six scientists per year, for a total of 12 internships and 18 travel opportunities
December 2020
Increased global policy and mitigation efforts through international and domestic stakeholder engagement, communication to policy makers, support for drafting legislation, including one policy convening meeting per year, five international policy stakeholder trips and five domestic stakeholder trips, for a total of three policy convenings, 15 international policy stakeholder trips, and 15 domestic policy stakeholder trips.
Financing (in USD)
675,667 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Staff / Technical expertise
Staff / Technical expertise
University of Gotenburg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, SPREP
Basic information
Time-frame: 2016 April - 2020 December
The Ocean Foundation, Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON - Scientific Community), Heising-Simons Foundation (Philanthropic), X-PRIZE Foundation (Philanthropic), International Atomic Energy Associations International Coordination Centre for Ocean Acidification (IAEA OA-ICC - United Nations Entitity), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP - Intergovernmental Organization)
Ocean Basins
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Indian Ocean
  • South Atlantic
  • South Pacific
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Arctic region
Contact information
Mark J. Spalding, President, mspalding@oceanfdn.org, 202-887-8996
Washington, DC
Other SDGs
United Nations