Yesterday the Executive Secretary of the former Global Ocean Commission, Simon Reddy, spoke at a conference on the ocean in Trondheim, Norway. Reddy started out with pointing to the need to focus on the ocean as a whole and not on oceans due to their connectivity. "That is why we did not name our commission "The Global Oceans Committee", Reddy explained. He also told the audience that the commission at an early stage realized the need for not being idealistic but to strive for solutions that could be politically and economically realistic. From this he moved to explain why the ocean is in a severe decline, having taken up 90 % of global warming and 25 % of Co2 emissions as well as hosting enormous amounts of plastic waste. He pointed to the fact that plastic waste increases with economic development and argued that Asia, due to this, is now responsible for 80 % of ocean plastic emissions. Reddy ended his presentation by urging Norway to play a much more active role in global ocean management.
The Global Ocean Commission was an international initiative that launched in February 2013. The commission worked to raise awareness, and promote action to address, the degradation of the ocean and help restore it to full health and productivity. Its focus was on the high seas, the vast ocean areas that lie beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone of individual states. Commissioners included senior political figures, business leaders and development specialists, and consulted and collaborated widely with a diverse group of constituencies, including ocean users, governments, scientists, economists, business leaders and trade unions. In their final report "The Future of Our Ocean: Next Steps and Priorities" presented in February 2016, the commission identified five key drivers of ocean decline: a rising demand for resources (food); technological advances; declining fish stocks;climate change (including ocean acidification); biodiversity and habitat loss and weak high seas governance.
Photo: Simon Reddy, Executive Secretary Global Ocean Commission