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UNESCO-IOC Releases Proposals for Sustainable Ocean Management

UNESCO20 June 2012: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO-IOC) has released a report titled "Healthy Ocean, Healthy People" outlining initiatives, programmes and proposals to support sustainable ocean management.

The report, which was released at a side event during the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), argues that oceans play a central role in the green economy. It therefore calls for activities aiming at “blueing the green” outlining initiatives, programmes and proposals on three interconnected themes of sustainable ocean management: knowing our ocean; protecting marine treasures; and empowering ocean citizens.

The theme “knowing our ocean” focuses on the role that science and technology can play to enable costal nations to sustainably manage ocean and coastal resources, protect coastal populations, and maintain ecosystem services. It highlights the need for a world ocean assessment, and for improving the generation of, and access to, observation data. The theme provides examples of initiatives that can be taken by ocean scientists, water experts, indigenous groups and policy makers.

“Protecting marine treasures” addresses the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the ocean and coasts and the essential services that the ocean provides to society. It underlines, among other issues, the role of marine protected areas (MPAs) and submerged archeological sites. Suggested initiatives under this theme include the development of coastal management plans, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, management of World Heritage Sites and improving protection of heritage sites beyond national jurisdiction.

“Empowering ocean citizens” aims at improving participation of all parts of society in defining a common ocean future and in promoting behavioral change towards the ocean through education, enhancing public awareness, and encouraging self-driven capacity development through marine scientific research and transfer of technology. Initiatives under this theme stress the role of teachers, students, the media and the general public. [Publication: Healthy Ocean, Healthy People]