WOC Engages Ocean Industries in UN Sustainable Development Goals through the Global Business Alliance and International Chamber of Commerce

14 August 2014

Last month the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) submitted seventeen SDGs to the UN General Assembly. The SDGs will form the basis for the global sustainable development agenda from 2015 through 2030.

One of these goals - the Ocean SDG - aims to "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development". See below for details.

Ocean industries are encouraged to send comments about the Ocean SDG to the WOC by 29 August to ensure ocean business community input to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) submission to the UN on the draft SDGs.

Ocean industry representatives are also invited and encouraged to attend theWOC Business Forum on Ocean Policy and Planning (New York, 29-30 September 2014) where the ocean business community will determine priorities for engaging on ocean policy, including for the Ocean SDG.

Specific targets of the Ocean SDG include:
▪ Preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution of all kinds – by 2025.
▪ Sustainably managing and protecting marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts – by 2020.
▪ Minimizing and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification – no target date.
▪ Restoring fish stocks by regulating harvesting, ending overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing, and implementing science-based management – by 2020.
▪ Conserving at least 10% of coastal and marine areas – by 2020.
▪ Prohibiting certain fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminating subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing, and refraining from introducing new such subsidies – by 2020.
▪ Increasing the economic benefits to small island developing states and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources – by 2030.

What does the Ocean SDG mean for ocean industries?
▪ For the ocean business community as a whole?
▪ For the fishing industry in particular, which is the focus of several specific goals?
▪ How can ocean industries provide leadership and collaboration to ensure theOcean SDG is practical and implementable, and that it supports both responsible economic activity and sustainable development?

The Ocean Business Community now has a crucial opportunity to provide input to the UN Ocean SDG.

As a next step on the SDG’s, the UN Secretary General’s office will prepare a synthesis report as a guide for UN General Assembly negotiations. The Global Business Alliance (GBA), which is coordinated by the ICC and includes the WOC, will prepare a letter to send to those drafting the synthesis report in early September 2014.

The UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda follows on from the UN Millennium Development Goals for 2000-2015 that were developed as a shared framework for global action and cooperation on development. UN Member States increasingly recognize the role of the private sector as an engine of growth and development and the benefits that business can bring, and understand that business and development objectives often coincide.

The WOC has provided ocean industry presence in the UN SDG process and worked with the ICC to ensure ocean business community is heard. The GBA is an international platform organized by the ICC to advance the role of private sector in achieving sustainable development. To further ensure an effective agenda for the UN Post-2015 Development discussions, the GBA is coordinating private sector involvement in intergovernmental processes. Capitalizing on its unique global role in catalyzing ocean business leadership and collaboration, the WOC joined the GBA to foster ocean industry input to the Post-2015 Development process.

Full details of all proposed SDGs may be found at sustainabledevelopment.un.org

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