United Nations
Issue 2 | 12 May 2017

43 new Voluntary Commitments for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 to #SaveOurOcean were received this past week. The distribution of entities that put forward commitments include Governments (12); IGOs (7); UN entities (7); NGOs (4); Private Sector (5); Partnerships (2); Academic Institutions (2); Scientific (2) Philanthropic Organization (1) and Other actors (1).

Among governments is a commitment from Spain for training and capacity building on fisheries for young men and women through the INTERMARES training vessel for Latin America. Six commitments from the State of California of the United States were also received, and 3 from France. In addition, 1 commitment was received from Cook Islands.

Among the IGOs were commitments from the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), committing to cutting 80% of NOx emissions from ships operating in the Baltic Sea, and a commitment from the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on strengthened regional cooperation for national action on the sustainability in the Caribbean Sea. Other commitments from IGOs include the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP), and the International Seabed Authority.

Commitments from other stakeholders include: Vulcan Inc (a Paul G. Allen Company) committing to help address the problem of illegal fishing and a commitment from Legambiente ONLUS (an NGO) to promote a ban on plastic carrier bags below 100 microns, except bags for primary transport. Others include Future Earth which has established multi-stakeholder platform the Ocean Knowledge-Action Network which aims at advancing integrated ocean research globally to chart a course from knowledge of ocean systems.

Establishment of and strengthening of existing Regional Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance mechanisms in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region

Lead Entity: Southern African Development Community (SADC).

This Voluntary commitment aims to strengthen/establish fisheries MCS mechanisms in the regional fisheries sector. This will be done through expanding on existing inter-governmental cooperation mechanisms between coastal countries to implement the regional joint action plans (deterrent laws and regulations in place, sustainable national capacities in place to monitor and control the fishing activities in their waters); coordinating and hosting the regional database exchange systems, the deployment of joint patrols and joint inspections in the fishing waters and in the landing areas or ports, in the market places and in the major trade centres within the cooperation areas; performing risk analysis relating to the most important conservation and management measures enforcement challenges ahead for each and every fishery (artisanal and industrial) targeting the species covered within the RFOs' Agreements; effective monitoring of the fishing activities and of the traceability of the fisheries products, to deter access market by IUU caught fish; supporting the strengthening of prosecution systems and legal regimes in combatting IUU fishing; and fostering compliance of the parties to the national legislation and regional fisheries management organisations.

Reducing marine debris in California watersheds and ocean waters

Lead Entity: Ocean Protection Council on behalf of the State of California.

The Ocean Protection Council on behalf of the State of California is committing to continue addressing the impacts of marine pollution, in the State of California by:

  1. Researching, developing, and validating trash monitoring methodologies to assess the effectiveness of the policy prohibiting trash discharge from stormwater systems;
  2. Developing a policy model for comprehensive statewide packaging materials management reform to achieve the 75 percent reduction by 2020;
  3. Updating the States’ Ocean Litter Strategy, which will include goals and priority actions that can be taken by government agencies, nonprofits and others to reduce plastic pollution in waterways and improve waste management inland; and
  4. Engaging students and the general public in ongoing, annual beach and inland waterway cleanup efforts to remove accumulated trash before it can enter the ocean.

Training and capacity building on fisheries for young men and women through the INTERMARES training vessel for Latin America

Lead Entity: Secretariat for Fisheries, Spain.

The Secretariat for Fisheries, Government of Spain will train, build capacity and promote through the exchange of experiences, for the increase of added value of fishery products, and possible certification of the same.

The objectives are to facilitate:

  1. Campaigns to promote activities in the field of fisheries, such as facilitating technological exchange through training programs, technical support in management programs (in case of participation of managers in these countries, especially in the case of female managers) And fisheries management.
  2. Transportation and marketing of fishery products: cooperation in the development of knowledge of systems and their application for the development of possible forms of commercialization for first sale (different presentations ranging from a minimum processing, to fresh selling of different presentations or in Preservation, freezing)
  3. Promotion of private entrepreneurship through training and knowledge of new techniques that allow the increase of added value of product.
  4. Integral training in operation of a fishing vessel (mechanical modules) in other subjects required in ship's crew as a mechanic.
  5. Training in fishery resources sustainability.
  6. High specialisation modules.

Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities

Lead Entity: United Nations Development Programme - UNDP

This commitment aims to address key aspects of the market forces that drive overfishing, adding to the transformation of the seafood market by mainstreaming sustainability in the value chain of important commodities from developing countries, improving emerging tools such as corporate sustainable purchase policies, sustainable marine commodities platforms, and fisheries improvement projects (FIP), developing national capacities, and generating learning to be shared worldwide.

This will be achieved through:

  1. Engaging major seafood buyers in the main world markets (EU, Japan, US) into responsible sourcing, providing tools to prepare and implement sustainable seafood sourcing policies.
  2. Adapting the concept of green commodities platforms (currently used in agriculture) to the seafood value chain, implement public-private sustainable marine commodities platforms in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia and Philippines to generate experience that could be used in other countries,
  3. Supporting the stakeholders of these platforms to develop practical experience with fisheries improvement projects and upgrade existing tools for FIP implementation and monitoring, and
  4. Upgrading existing information platforms to facilitate access to reliable material to value chain stakeholders in support of sound decision making, and capturing, documenting and disseminating the learning of the project. The target fisheries include tuna fisheries in the Pacific Ocean, mahi mahi and large pelagic fish in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, Indonesian snapper, Filipino octopus, and blue swimming crab fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Advancing solutions oriented integrative ocean sustainability research within the Ocean Knowledge-Action Network (Ocean KAN)

Lead Entity: Future Earth (Scientific community)

The rate of change in ocean health is accelerating, putting at risk the many services that the ocean provides to humanity.

A recently established multi-stakeholder platform the Ocean Knowledge-Action Network (Ocean KAN) supported by the international programmes Future Earth and its marine Global Research Projects, WCRP-CLIVAR, IOC-UNESCO and ICSU-SCOR, and aims at advancing integrated ocean research globally to chart a course from knowledge of ocean systems to changes in policies, practices, governance and behaviours that will support sustaining those systems. In a bottom-up process the Ocean KAN facilitates the formation of transdisciplinary teams and new integrative initiatives that will address these challenges by co-designing scalable and integrated systems-approaches in collaboration with natural and social sciences, economics and engineering, as well as policymakers, resource managers, businesses and industries, civil societies and other societal partners. It will also generate new research and partnerships to ensure fast track response to pressing societal questions and the implementation of SDG14.

Shellfishing WITHOUT litter (Mariscar SEM Lixo): Awareness and beach cleaning voluntary campaign in the Sado estuary, Portugal

Lead Entity: Ocean Alive

Shellfishing WITHOUT litter" (Mariscar SEM Lixo): Awareness and beach cleaning voluntary campaign commits to:

  1. Encourage the behavioural change of razorshell shellfisheries to avoid leaving the plastic salt containers in the estuary,
  2. Clean the Sado estuary margins and
  3. Promote the vision of a clean estuary maintained by its coastal community.

Every month organize (when possible) a voluntary beach cleaning campaign and raise shell fishers awareness of the issue. Implement a good practices network empowering fisherwomen to be leaders of behavioural change within the fishing community. Increasing engagement of local stakeholders such as councils, industry and tourism enterprises like local supermarkets (which sell the sea salt) in the dissemination of good practices messages.

Designation and enhancement of implementation of the Baltic Sea as NOx Emission Control Area for ships and public-private partnership

Lead Entity: Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission - HELCOM

HELCOM countries have committed to cutting 80% of NOx emissions from ships operating in the Baltic Sea in order to combat the problem of eutrophication in the region. HELCOM together with its partners will promote the green shipping technology and use of alternative fuels to further reduce harmful exhaust gas emissions and greenhouse gases from ships.

Stop plastic bags in the Mediterranean Area

Lead Entity: Legambiente ONLUS

One of the most widespread waste in our oceans and seas are plastic bags. In Mediterranean Sea an estimated 25 million plastic bags pollute every 1,000 kilometres of coast, more than 1 trillion for 46000 kilometres of the Mediterranean Sea per year. The percentage is 56% of the total beached waste and 83% of floating litter.

Legambiente ONLUS commits to promote a ban on plastic carrier bags below 100 microns, except bags for primary transport (i.e. fisheries) and biodegradable and compostable certified EN 13432 or ISO 14855 to all other Mediterranean countries.

Passing through the net of volunteers and other associations, Legambiente, Kyoto club and Environmental Alliance for the Mediterranean aim to address the Mediterranean governments collecting at first the support of the other Mediterranean association and other stakeholder to the plastic bags ban proposed.

Fighting Illegal Fishing with Near Real-Time Data That Enables Enforcement

Lead Entity: Vulcan Inc., a Paul G. Allen Company

At any moment, thousands of illegal vessels are operating somewhere on our oceans. That makes detecting, deterring and detaining illegal fishing vessels incredibly difficult.

Paul G. Allen, the cofounder of Microsoft, a technologist, and a philanthropist, and his team at Vulcan Inc. are developing technology that will advance the fight against illegal fishing on the world's largest crime scene.

To help address the problem of illegal fishing, Vulcan Inc. is building a detection system that uses data science, computer visualization, and machine learning to turn vast amounts of raw data into actionable, up-to-date information about illegal fishing activity that can enable enforcement.

Vulcans system will generate reports and alerts for governments and enforcement bodies, who can then focus their enforcement resources where they can have the most impact.

Marae Moana - Cook Islands Marine Park

Lead Entity: Cook Islands Government

The Cook Islands a nation state in the South Pacific is dedicating its entire Exclusive Economic Zone, an area of 1.9 million square kilometres (550,000 square nautical miles) to protection, conservation and integrated management.

The marine park will ensure the protection of the marine environment whilst providing for sustainable development activities including tourism, fisheries and shipping. As a start, sixteen percent of the marine park, an area of 304,000 square kilometres (89,000 square nautical miles) is being established as marine protected areas where no large scale commercial fishing or seabed minerals activities will be permitted.

A Marae Moana Council is being established to oversee management of the marine park including the review of policy, marine spatial plans, reporting, monitoring and evaluation. Marae Moana policy principles applied include protection, conservation and restoration, sustainable use to maximise benefits, the precautionary principle, community participation, transparency and accountability, integrated management, fostering a culture of investigation and research, ecosystem-based management and sustainable financing.

The Government of France commits to the following:

Through the ‘Initiative franaise pour les rcifs coralliens: IFRECOR 2016-2020’

  1. Strengthen knowledge and develop management tools.
  2. Support the development of regulatory tools
  3. Monitor and communicate on coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds health
  4. Contribute to the reduction of anthropic threats to coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds
  5. Contribute to a better consideration of coral reefs and associated ecosystems in the fight against climate change
  6. Protect reefs by supporting Marine Protected Areas (MPA)
  7. Diversify funding dedicated to the protection of reefs and associated ecosystems by developing public-private partnerships
  8. Educate and raise awareness to protect
Contribute financially to UNEP activities under the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML), for the 2017- 2020 period for

  1. Coordinating and strengthening actions already undertaken at national and sub-national levels and also under conventions or international agreements related to the fight against plastic waste pollution of the seas; and
  2. Contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2015, and more particularly goals 12 and 14.
Prohibit the use of large scale driftnets in the area of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

The Scientific Committee reiterated its recommendation that the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission should consider a ban on large-scale driftnets also in IOTC CPC Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and recalled the negative impacts of such large scale drifting gillnets in areas frequented by marine mammals and turtles. In view of that recommendation of the IOTC Scientific Committee, this proposal intends to replace Resolution 12/12 by extending its scope beyond the high-seas, to IOTC CPC EEZs, according to the following calendar:

  1. Communication by CPCs before 2017, December 31st, of their flagged vessel duly authorised to use large-scale driftnets in their EEZs;
  2. Demand by any concerned CPC to the Scientific Committee to assess during its 2017 session the possibility to establish temporary exemptions to this prohibition attending the selectivity of certain fisheries carried out with large-scale driftnets;
  3. Possible confirmation of the temporary exemptions on the IOTC session in 2018;
  4. Implementation of the prohibition to use large scale driftnets in the IOTC area from 2019, January 1st.

Hawaii Business Blueprint for Action

Lead Entity: Hawai‘i Green Growth

Hawaii Business Blueprint is supporting private sector action on the Aloha+ Challenge: He Nohona Aeoia, A Culture of Sustainability" Hawaiis statewide initiative on sustainable development. Launched in 2014, the Aloha+ Challenge is led by Hawaii's Governor, all four County Mayors, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, State Legislature, and statewide public-private partners to achieve integrated goals by 2030 for environmental stewardship, community resilience, and economic prosperity. In addition to natural resource management, goals include clean energy transformation, local food production, solid waste reduction, smart sustainable communities and climate resilience, and green workforce and education.

The Aloha+ Challenge is recognized as a place-based model that can be scaled to help achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Agreement. Hawaii is working with the Global Island Partnership, UN Development Programme, and other partners to scale the Aloha+ Challenge as a locally and culturally appropriate model to meet the UN 2030 Agenda.

Total stats
Entity types
Registered this week
  • Government of France
  • Cook Islands Government
  • Ocean Alive (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
  • Future Earth (Scientific community)
  • Reef Life Foundation (Philanthropic organization)
  • International Seabed Authority (Intergovernmental organization)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (United Nations entity)
  • Baleen Filters Pty Limited (Private sector)
  • South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) (Intergovernmental organization)
  • International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) (Intergovernmental organization)
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC)
  • Association of Caribbean States (Intergovernmental organization)
  • Hawai‘i Green Growth (Partnership)
  • Government of Spain
  • DR. BALASAHEB G KULKARNI (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
  • Parley for the Oceans (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
  • Vulcan Inc., a Paul G. Allen Company (Private sector)
  • Institute for the Law of the Sea and International Marine Environmental Law (ISRIM) (Academic institution)
  • North Atlantic, Inc./PT Bali Seafood International (Private sector)
  • Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives - ZERI (Scientific community)
  • Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) (Intergovernmental organization)
  • Centre Scientifique de Monaco (Academic institution)
  • Government of the United States of America
  • Legambiente ONLUS (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) (United Nations entity)
  • International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC) (Other relevant actor)
  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO) (United Nations entity)
  • METRO AG Wholesale & Food Specialist Company (Private sector)
  • Norwegian Shipowners Association (Private sector)
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