The Sustainable Ocean Management Pledge a Good First Step

Last week Canada joined forces with 13 other countries in a pledge to sustainably manage all national ocean areas in the next five years. Doing this will help curb climate change and ensure the ocean stays healthy for generations to come. It is important that these countries have come together and understand that the ocean is central to life on earth. A vast amount of discovered and undiscovered biodiversity lives in the ocean, rising temperatures and declining population put many of these species at risk. This will be no small task. Climate action is always at odds with business, issues of overfishing and CO2 emissions will face fierce opposition. Lobbying groups are sure to put up a fight. Hopefully, the combined efforts of all 14 member countries will help enough power to over

Canada has over five million square kilometers of ocean area, which is among the most in the world. The new agenda addresses future sustainability, Canadian needs, and greenhouse gas emissions. With the new mandates, it is possible 6 times more food could come from the ocean globally. Green energy also has the possibility of sharply increasing, 40 times more renewable energy could be generated worldwide lifting millions of people out of poverty, and contributing to one-fifth of the GHG emissions reductions needed to say within 1.5 degrees Celsius established by the Paris Agreement.

The ocean is critical to many cultures, many communities and even countries are very reliant on waterways not only for food but, energy and medicine as well. Activities around the ocean are deeply embedded not only in foreign countries but also in Canadian affairs.

In an interview, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to protecting 25% of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025. Canada has the world’s longest coastline, so it is important to our economy and nation’s well-being to focus on the health of our oceans.

The world’s oceans are currently at a critical turning point, as some experts estimate that the world is experiencing a decline of 50% in marine resources. In Canada alone, only 25% of fish stocks are considered reliably healthy.

The ocean panel consisting of: Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palau, and Portugal hope to have 100% of oceans under national jurisdiction sustainably managed by 2025. These countries plan to balance “protection, production, and prosperity” while taking a holistic approach in managing oceans, which will impact nearly 30 million square kilometers of national waters. The panel hopes to add more countries to the panel and have 30% of oceans protected globally.

Whenever I see agreements like this being made by countries from different continents, it makes me happy because something like protecting the oceans will take a team effort to be achieved. All global governance issues are made very complex due to different agendas, levels of commitment and political conflicts. I am interested in seeing what tangible steps are taken. Although this is a good first step, it's only the beginning, tangible and clear actions have not been identified. 14 countries is a good starting point, but it will be crucial for the panel to get other countries on board. The US is likely critical to these plans, they are an international power that other countries look at. President-elect Joe Biden is committed to climate change and bringing the US back to the international table. This is a good sign for both the sustainable ocean management pledge and the Paris Agreement. This is a good sign as they have the potential to work together well through synergies in their goals. I look forward to seeing the impact this panel can have on our oceans, economy, and climate change, but first, we must see what steps they plan to take.

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