New 'Global Partnership for Oceans' Initiative Announced
February 25, 2012

New ‘Global Partnership for Oceans’ Initiative Announced

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick announced at The Economist's World Oceans Summit a plan to better manage and protect the world's oceans.

Zoellick said governments, international organizations, civil society groups and private interests are joining together under the name "Global Partnership for Oceans" to confront problems like over-fishing, marine degradation, and habitat loss.

He said the new partnership would help bring science, advocacy, the private sector, and international public institutions together to help save oceans.

“The world´s oceans are in danger, and the enormity of the challenge is bigger than one country or organization," Zoellick said at the event. "We need coordinated global action to restore our oceans to health.  Together we´ll build on the excellent work already being done to address the threats to oceans, identify workable solutions, and scale them up.”

He said the alliance was committed to mobilizing at least $300 million in finance, helping out millions of those who rely on oceans for jobs.

“The health of the world´s oceans is critically important," Roger Bing, Vice President, Seafood Purchasing, Darden Restaurants, said in a statement. "Like so many, we depend on the natural resources the oceans provide and investing in their health helps ensure the long-term viability of those resources."

Andrew Hudson, Head, UNDP Water & Ocean Governance Program, said most the challenges facing ocean sustainability are due to governance and market failures.

“Our experience has been that supporting ocean governance reform at all levels creates an enabling environment that can in turn catalyze sizeable quantities of public and private sector finance to sustain ocean ecosystem services," Hudson said in a statement.

He said that the new partnership will help provide a "key means of implementation to scale up proven approaches."

Zoellick said during the event that the partnership should help increase the annual net benefits of fisheries to between $20 billion and $30 billion.  He said that global fisheries currently run a net economic loss of about $5 billion every year.

"The oceans' stock is in trouble. We have diminished its asset value to a huge degree and poor asset management is poor economics," Stephen Palumbi, director of the Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, told the conference.


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