The Annual Leaders Meeting of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) took place alongside the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held from September 13-27, 2022 in New York City.
UNGA presented an opportunity for the Ocean Panel to showcase its ambitious agenda, highlight progress to date, and continue to uplift the importance of a transition to a sustainable ocean economy for the delivery of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Other UN priority areas discussed include climate change, food and nutritional insecurity and poverty, as well as the impact and achievements of coastal and ocean states in a critical year for ocean action. Ocean Panel-relevant meetings included the Annual Leaders Meeting, in-person Sherpa Meeting, and various bilateral meetings with other member countries.
The Annual Ocean Panel Leaders Meeting occurred on September 21 and was hosted by the Mission of Canada to the United Nations. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, represented the United States on behalf of President Biden, joined by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Deputy Director for Climate and Environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Sherpa to the Ocean Panel. Co-chaired by Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and Prime Minister Støre of Norway, this meeting convened the Heads of State and Government from all 17 Member Countries of the Ocean Panel to enable continued political leadership and agenda-setting by the Ocean Panel. Participants’ remarks focused on the importance of accelerated delivery of the Panel’s ocean action agenda, the ‘Transformations’ for a Sustainable Ocean Economy; the role of the Ocean Panel in raising ambition for ocean action; and the critical need to match ambition with finance to support implementation and impact. Panel members were invited to consider supporting the Green Shipping Challenge, led by Norway and the United States, with a view to announcing specific and concrete actions at the 2022 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27). Recognizing the importance of ocean-climate opportunities, countries requested that the Ocean Panel Sherpa group considers how to further stimulate ocean investments, develop an “ocean climate action plan,” and accelerate domestic progress towards Sustainable Ocean Plans.
A subsequent Ocean Panel Sherpa meeting was held to discuss outcomes of the Leaders meeting and other items to advance the Ocean Panel agenda on September 22. Dr. Jane Lubchenco represented the United States as Sherpa. Topics discussed included Ocean Action 2030, the 100% Ocean Management Challenge, accelerating regional collaboration among Ocean Panel members, and preparation for COP27, the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), and the annual gathering of the Group of Twenty (G20). Turning these outcomes into action, the United States is developing a National Strategy to help guide the development of a Sustainable Ocean Plan, and is drafting an ocean-based climate plan to coordinate U.S. Government actions on ocean-based climate solutions.