Ocean sustainability requires an Action Plan in response to ocean change
IMBeR Action Plan for the Ocean Team
The oceans are changing, affecting human communities across the world. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit future warming is an immediate priority but we also know that decarbonisation will not be sufficiently rapid to limit warming to less than 1.5C. No matter what we do now, further major and potentially rapid changes to ocean ecosystems are inevitable over the coming decades. Planning and preparing now for those changes is a priority.
The United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal in June 2002 demonstrated a high-level of international political and public recognition of the threats to the ocean. The need for action to address these threats has also been emphasized, as has the crucial importance of improving understanding of the ocean.
An extensive range of important international activities studying the ocean have been initiated under the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. There are several excellent science projects analysing the impacts of change and programs developing potential policy responses. A systematic approach is also required to develop and coordinate activity from local to global scales.
Developing an Action Plan for the Ocean
Recent years have seen the generation of extensive international assessments of ocean change and future risks. IMBeR Scientists have proposed the development of an Action Plan for the Ocean to respond to these changes and risks.
This will involve a risk-based approach with three major components:
(1) assess and rank risks,
(2) identify options for action, and
(3) develop action plans for adaptation at local, regional and global scales to respond to future change.
Murphy, E.J., Robinson, C., Hobday, A.J., Newton, A., Glaser, M., Evans, K., Dickey-Collas, M., Brodie, S. and Gehlen, M. (2021). The Global Pandemic Has Shown We Need an Action Plan for the Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science 8(1835). doi: 10.3389/fmars.2
Murphy, E.J., Robinson, C., Hobday, A.J., Newton, A., Glaser, M., Evans, K., Dickey-Collas, M., Brodie, S. and Gehlen, M. (2022) Ocean sustainability: act before it’s too late. Nature 609, 676 (2022) doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-02981-5
This process needs to be continuously updated as new information becomes available and understanding improves. Development of the Action Plan will also require engagement with those encompassing the full range of interests and perspectives on the ocean at local, regional and global scales.
The Integrated Marine Biosphere Research Programme (IMBeR) is now coordinating activity around this Action Plan and invites partnership and participation in the next steps.
Develop an integrated ocean community.
Develop international capacity in integrated analyses and risk-based development of ocean actions.
Provide a forum for the global ocean community to engage in the development of an Action Plan.
Undertake a targeted workshop to develop the Action Plan process (2023).
Develop an internationally supported programme to generate, implement and sustain an Action Plan for the Ocean.
Register your interest to be involved here.