World Ocean Council Membership, Momentum and Actions Continue Major Progress
The WOC is increasingly called upon to advance private sector leadership and collaboration in addressing the challenges facing ever more crowded seas. On January 20th 2011, WOC Executive Director Paul Holthus highlighted the essential role of industry in ocean stewardship to the more than 1,100 participants at the opening plenary of "Our Changing Oceans", this years' conference of the National Council on Science and the Environment in Washington D.C.
The WOC is forging unprecedented cross-sectoral industry leadership on ocean sustainability:
° Marine spatial planning (MSP) - facilitating the ocean business community's understanding and involvement in MSP as it advances in the US, Europe and elsewhere.
° High seas - ensuring coordinated ocean industry participation in governance, protected areas and other developments affecting the use of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
° Arctic - establishing a forum for ocean industries to engage in the policy and practical efforts needed to address the challenges of responsible operations in the changing Arctic.
° Ocean science - exploring how to scale-up the number of vessels and platforms collecting ocean and atmospheric data that contribute to better understanding of the changing seas and climate.
° Cross-cutting issues - creating multi-industry platforms for tackling shared issues and cumulative effects, such as: invasive species, water pollution, noise, marine mammals, marine debris, etc.
° Ocean policy - ensuring constructive industry engagement in the Law of the Sea, Convention on Biological Diversity and other international policy processes affecting ocean use and governance.
The WOC is moving forward on these priorities in the coming months, e.g., hosting a workshop on MSP at the Seafood Summit; co-organizing a panel on best practices in preventing marine debris at sea at the International Marine Debris Conference, engaging Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission/World Metrological Organization scientists on expanding industry data collection. The WOC also continues to be invited to speak at a growing range of industry conferences, including upcoming shipping, offshore oil, cruise ship tourism, and marine technology events.
These plans build on the WOC's 2010 achievements, such as the Sustainable Ocean Summit, which convened more than 150 ocean industry representatives for the first time, and on other efforts in which the WOC was requested to ensure broader industry involvement in ocean sustainability initiatives.