United Nations
Ocean Data Alliance
by World Economic Forum (Partnership)
The Ocean Data Alliance will seek to design and build this open-source integration platform for all ocean data and to ensure that it is geared from the outset to serve the global public interest. The key will be to encourage collaboration among all the key sensor enterprises to catalyse the process of integrating their data from a range of sources. With a design concept a blueprint in place for the integration exchange or platform, app designers and large data processors such as IBM Watson can then engage in public-private design labs to work with various oceans and fisheries stakeholders from across industry, research and government to find out exactly how best they may want to use the data streams on offer. For example, the design process would identify which data feeds are of most use, who the identified end users are, which behaviours need to be focused on to change as a result, and what the targeted access rights should be for a particular innovation (globally open access versus closed for a particular enterprises value chain). From such a process, waves of ocean apps drawn from the open-access API can emerge.

Those who have developed technology initiatives already in the oceans agenda would benefit greatly from this data integration initiative and also make the most of their first-mover advantage. For example, existing initiatives could regularly upgrade their offerings through enhancing optionality with new imagery sources as they become available to the platform. This will turn first-stage technology projects into continuously upgradable apps.

With a strong public-private dimension to the build of the open-source integration platform, specific government or international organization stakeholders will also be supported to co-design apps that suit their own particular user needs and capacities, with further support to train their staff in the capabilities to use the apps they co-design to better manage their ocean resources (or regional or global organizations if engagement from RMFOs, or international organizations like FAO, UNDP, UN Environment and IUCN etc.).

Citizens, research organizations, civil society groups, investors, insurers and enterprises across the world will also be able to access and contribute to such an open-source integration platform (much ocean data is held by individuals and smaller organizations). This will create a self-improving system for global ocean data and enhancing the platforms use both in the global public interest as well as for a slew of new business model and government innovations.
Progress reports
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Eco-labelling, traceability, certification programmes
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
  • Data access and sharing
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
Governance discussions on Data Platform
Prototype Open Ocean Data Exchange
Proof of concept around Tuna Traceability
In-kind contribution
Data sensors and processing resources, in addition to convening governance discussions
Basic information
Time-frame: 06/2017 - 06/2020
World Economic Forum (International Organisation), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (academic), UC Santa Barbara's Benioff Ocean Initiative (academic), Data Science for Social Good Europe (academic), FAO Fisheries Division (UN entity), International Seabed Authority (UN entity), UNDPs Ocean Program (UN entity), ICO (UN entity), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, The Nature Conservancy's Ocean Program (NGO), IBM (private), Salesforce (private), Digital Globe (private), Planet Labs (private), Spire (private).
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Victoria E. Lee, Dr., victoria.lee@weforum.org,
Other SDGs
United Nations