Oceans & Coasts
Ocean ecosystems are probably the least understood, most biologically diverse, and most undervalued of all ecosystems. From deep oceans to coastal reefs, from mudflats to sea grass beds, ocean and marine systems suffer from a lack of recognition of the economic value of their ecosystem services – including vital services such as carbon capture for climate mitigation, and providing livelihoods and protein for over a billion people in the developing world. Valuing these services would provide policy-makers with a strong rationale to improve ocean management and invest in marine conservation for its risk management value and its economic benefits.
A ‘TEEB for Oceans &Coasts’ study will be led by the UNEP Regional Seas Programme, in partnership with GRID-Arendal and the UNEP TEEB Office. The project will seek to draw attention to the economic benefits of ocean and coastal biodiversity and healthy ecosystems and emphasize the unrealized benefits of preserved and enhanced whole ecosystem structures, functions and processes to the well-being of humans and nature. In order to achieve this, it will bridge the gaps in knowledge on ocean ecosystem services and functions and support the mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem considerations into both national policy-making and broader societal perspectives.
The project will consist of four key components:
Consensus building amongst decision-makers and scientists on a set of relevant and context-appropriate assessment and valuation approaches and methodologies (including sectoral and natural capital assessments and ocean wealth mapping) that enable policy transformation.
1. Creating a community of the willing utilizing proofs of concept to illustrate the feasibility for governments and other stakeholders to incorporate component 1 methodologies (including the mapping of ocean wealth) into transformative development policies.
2. Catalyze relevant enabling conditions to facilitate policy and decision-making reforms that incorporate the socio-economic-ecological value of marine ecosystems and their services throughout the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, LME commissions and other existing regional policy platforms.
3. Participatory process design and facilitation, knowledge management, communications, outreach and replication strategy, that targets diverse audiences to enable behavioural and decision making changes.
Why Value the Oceans? – A discussion paper (February 2012) [Download]
Edited by Yannick Beaudoin & Linwood Pendleton.
Oceans cover almost three-quarters of the planet, yet we are just beginning to discover the extent of the resources, both biotic and abiotic, that lie beneath their surfaces. We are also just beginning to understand the complexity of the interactions that tie oceans to the rest of Earth’s systems. And then there is the coastal biome, where vital ecosystem services are most vulnerable. The coastal biome’s links with both land and ocean extend its reach and vulnerability both far inland and well out to sea.
Project info brochure (March 2013) [Download]
Release Date: March 2013
This informative brochure outlines the rationale, objectives and main components of the proposed TEEB for Oceans and Coasts project.
Oceans and Coasts Knowledge Portal – www.teeboceans.org
The Knowledge Portal consists of a web-based platform to monitor, over the long term, the changes in value of ocean and coastal ecosystem services around the world. It will also promote information and knowledge sharing, assist capacity building facilitation and provide a platform for continued knowledge development. The aim of the portal is to help provide end-users with a resource to explore, evaluate, synthesize, and learn about ocean and coastal ecosystem valuation at multiple levels of details. Using ocean and coastal ecosystem valuation research results to inform the decision making process concerning policies or specific measures needed to support a new/green economic paradigm is a challenging, yet crucial, undertaking.
The Knowledge Portal contains environmental, natural/physical scientific, socio-economic and social-ecological datasets amongst others. It will also contain synthesis products of the TEEB for Oceans and Coasts study, tailored for specific user-focused functions for a particular country, region, site or business. The Portal will also provide intelligent links to other resources and tools.
Relevant meetings and events
Global Ocean Commission
Most of the ocean, amounting to nearly half of the Earth’s surface, belongs to no individual country. Management and governance of these areas – the high seas – fall short of the standards needed in the 21st Century.
The independent Global Ocean Commission has been established to chart a way forward for the high seas, to identify challenges and threats, and to highlight reforms that will allow the ocean to be managed effectively, productively and sustainable for the maximum benefit to humankind.
The objective of the Commission is to formulate politically and technically feasible short-, medium- and long-term recommendations to address four key issues facing the high seas: i) overfishing; ii) large-scale loss of habitat and biodiversity; iii) the lack of effective management and enforcement; and iv) deficiencies in high seas governance. Given the importance of ocean ecosystem services in the Earth system, the current and growing threats to fisheries, biodiversity and habitat, and the potential for new uses of the high seas, a report that will highlight the economic benefits of biodiversity and ecosystems and the costs associated with their loss has been sought as a key document to help guide these recommendations.
Gulbenkian Oceans Initiative
The Gulbenkian Oceans Initiative (GOI) is working towards protection, conservation and good management of the oceans and of marine ecosystems. It supports scientific research on the economic valuation of marine ecosystem services. It is raising awareness to increase public understanding of the value of oceans for human well-being and economic development. And it promotes policy action by mobilizing policy-makers and decision-makers at the local, national and EU levels to integrate the economic value of marine ecosystem services into their regular activities and decision-making processes.
The GOI is a five-year program of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation that will promote activities in three domains – research, public understanding, and policy action – with the overall goal of increasing public and political understanding of marine ecosystem services as strategic assets for sustainable economic development and for human well-being. GOI will seek to create strong links with TEEB, NCP and WAVES, and develop synergies with these and other projects that can be mutually beneficial.
Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Management in Pacific Island Countries and Atolls – (MACBIO)
Natural resources in marine and coastal areas are of high economic importance for Pacific island countries and sustain the livelihoods of coastal communities. However, the need to conserve and use marine resources sustainably is not sufficiently reflected in national planning processes, due in part to a lack of information regarding their economic value. Existing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have often been developed opportunistically, lack a clear design and spatial planning process, and are not managed in a way to secure associated biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) for a period of five years, the MACBIO project will undertake economic assessments of marine and coastal ecosystems in five project countries (Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) in a national and on regional level compatible to the global TEEB program in order to contribute to national development plans. The project aims to assist governments to extend re-designed MPA networks using seascape-level planning and will demonstrate effective approaches to site management, including payment for ecosystem services. Tried and tested concepts and instruments will be shared with governments and stakeholders throughout the Pacific community and disseminated internationally. MACBIO is implemented by the German Agency for International Development (GIZ) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and IUCN.
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