World Ocean Review 2015

This fourth World Ocean Review focuses on sustainability. It offers insights into the economic value of the environment and explains sustainable development concepts that can be applied to the oceans. It also offers an overview of the ecosystem services that our seas provide. In recent years, we have come to recognize that the resources of our Earth and its oceans are finite. This means that we must identify and accept planetary and oceanic boundaries and factor them into human development. How are our seas faring today?

Poverty reduction, education and a well-functioning social system are essential prerequisites for sustainable development. Given that our world consists mainly of ocean, global governance regimes – not only the law of the sea – have an important role to play. The United Nations has numerous organizations and agencies whose mandate extends to the marine environment. Are there too many of them? Would more inter-agency cooperation be beneficial?

In autumn 2015, the United Nations adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the first time, marine conservation is now a global goal in its own right. This creates visibility and political capital for the oceans. Movement towards the sustainable use of the oceans is possible, and good progress is already being made in some areas. A global sustainable development agenda must take account of five dimensions: human dignity, the environment, prosperity, peace and cooperation. The world’s oceans have a key role to play in all of them.
World Ocean Review 2015

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