There are a raft of high-level global ocean conferences taking place in 2022, some which have the potential for great significance in setting the future for global ocean management. Time will tell whether this comes to pass but all are worth watching over the coming months to determine if the outcomes will be transformational or not.

This week, the One Ocean Summit takes place in France, and on 11 February President Emmanuel Macron ‘will bring together a small but determined group of Heads of State and Government, leaders of multilateral institutions, business leaders and civil society policymakers to take ambitious commitments. Several important initiatives will be launched on this occasion in favour of marine ecosystem protection and sustainable fisheries, intended to fight pollution, in particular from plastics, respond to the impacts of climate change, as well as advocate for improved governance of the oceans.’

At the end of February, the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly takes place online and in Nairobi. A key element of the summit will be the potential for a global treaty on plastic pollution. The UN has previously noted the need for political action to handle the growing plastic production and waste. From February 28 to March 2, the UN Environment Assembly will meet to create a treaty framework, hammering out what will and won’t be included. It has been reported that the Assembly will primarily focus on two drafts: one that includes a more comprehensive approach for plastics, from production to waste management, and one that focuses on ocean pollution and plastic disposal.

Finally, members of Friends of Ocean Action recently have endorsed a statement calling for ambitious action in 2022 to achieve a healthy, thriving ocean and advance the Sustainable Development Goal for the ocean, SDG14. Co-Chair of Friends of Ocean Action, HE Isabella Lövin, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, said: “We depend on the ocean for our ability to live and thrive, from providing food and livelihoods to buffering against climate change and generating the oxygen in every second breath we take. Meaningful, ambitious ocean action at the global scale has never been more urgent, and 2022 offers critical opportunities to achieve significant progress for a healthy ocean.”

To support the implementation of SDG14, the global community will convene at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, on 27 June to 1 July 2022. Read the Friends of Ocean Action statement here. In preparation for the conference, the UN has launched a Global Online Stakeholder Consultation to gather inputs to concept papers of interactive dialogues from citizens. A flyer for the consultation can be found here.

These three gatherings have huge potential – and will certainly produce numerous announcements – and will be worth keeping an eye on.

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