«Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Working Paper NI WP 14-01 February 2014 Working toward a More Valuable Ocean: Concepts and ...»
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
NI WP 14-01
Working toward a More Valuable Ocean:
Concepts and Ideas from Thinkers and Doers
Lisa Emelia Svensson*
* Ambassador for Ocean, Seas and Fresh Water, Government of Sweden
** Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
The authors acknowledge support provided by the Swedish Minister of the
Environment, Lena Ek; the Government of Sweden, and Duke University.
How to cite this report
Lisa Emelia Svensson and Linwood Pendleton. 2014. Working toward a More Valuable Ocean:
Concepts and Ideas from Thinkers and Doers. NI WP 14-01. Durham, NC: Duke University.
Lisa Emelia Svensson and Linwood Pendleton OCEAN SUSTAINABILITY: U.S. PERSPECTIVES
Dr. Kerri- Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State A VIEW FROM THE U.S. NAVY’S CHIEF OCEANOGRAPHER
RADM Jonathan White ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES IN OCEANS AND WATERS DEMAND INNOVATIONS
Catarina Hedar, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management INNOVATION FOR SUSTAINABLE SHIPPING
Claes Berglund, Director of Public Affairs and Sustainability, Stena AB THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP IN IMPROVING OCEAN HEALTH
Dr. Pawan G. Patil, Senior Economist, World Bank Group MARINE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES BENEFIT US IN SURPRISING WAYS
Tundi Agardy, SoundSeas SUSTAINABLE MARINE GOVERNANCE: LESSONS FROM THE BALTIC SEA REGION
Dr. Mikael Karlsson, President Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and European Environment Bureau (EEB) VIDEO LINKS TO REMARKS
INTRODUCTION Lisa Emelia Svensson and Linwood Pendleton Environmental policy is often considered an economic cost rather than an economic value. Although the costs of repairing the environment are often calculated and incorporated into decisions, the economic values of lost ecosystem services rarely are. By better defining the economic values of the services provided by ecosystems and integrating these values in the economy, we will be better equipped to sustainably use these ecosystems and, in turn, increase their capacity. In December 2013, the Swedish government and Duke University hosted a meeting for decision makers, “big thinkers,” and practitioners to discuss how innovative policy making and new business models can augment the value of natural capital in our seas and estuaries.
The forum at the House of Sweden revealed the degree to which businesses, governments, and multinational organizations are tackling the challenge of improving ocean health while improving human wellbeing and increasing returns to human enterprise. Businesses large and small are finding new ways to turn environmental challenges into opportunities for profit. Governments are starting to reflect the value of ecosystem services in financial statements and political considerations—Sweden will do so by 2018.
Multi-lateral agencies, such as the World Bank, have embarked on new—some would say bold— initiatives to harness the power of business and the natural capital of ocean and coastal ecosystems.
These short essays highlight keynote remarks from the House of Sweden’s ocean forum. Together, they reflect public and private sector perspectives on the economic capacity of healthy ocean ecosystems.
Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones describes new initiatives from the U.S. Department of State that are intended to catalyze changes in approaches to sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification.
Rear Admiral Jonathon White reminds us that even the U.S. Navy is not immune to changes in ocean health. He discusses how these changes affect naval planning and infrastructure. He also offers a forwardlooking perspective on how the U.S. Navy’s role as an international first responder to natural disasters is evolving with changing ocean conditions.
The United States is not alone in its pursuit of innovative solutions to protect ocean ecosystems. Catarina Heder discusses public and private partnerships fostered by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. These partnerships nurture new businesses and industries that strive for an innovative green approach to the marine economy.
The World Bank has launched a new program to bridge the gaps among economic development, poverty reduction, business innovation, and healthy oceans. World Bank senior economist Pawan Patil discusses the program and the multi-billion dollar portfolio the Bank has designated for healthy ocean initiatives.
One business taking the lead in innovative ocean technologies is Swedish shipping giant Stena. Claes Berglund, Director of Public Affairs and Sustainability at Stena, highlights efforts in the shipping industry to clean up the way ocean fleets are powered.
Two long-time ocean advocates contribute personal perspectives on threats to ocean health. Mikael Karlsson sees new hope for combatting these threats in emerging governance in the European Union and the Baltic region. Tundi Agardy reflects on the move toward ocean management that seeks to directly address the economic and human values associated with ocean and coastal ecosystems. Agardy, like Karlsson, questions whether the push to quantify these values is distracting us from the obvious steps we can take now to increase them.
These short essays suggest the rich breadth of ideas for combining the powers of businesses, governments, and other entities to catalyze the natural wealth of oceans and estuaries.
OCEAN SUSTAINABILITY: U.S. PERSPECTIVES Dr. Kerri- Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State Oceans are receiving increased attention in Washington these days. President Obama has placed ocean policy high on his agenda. He signed an Executive order in July 2010 that established a National Ocean Policy that defines the Administration’s position on relevant ocean issues, including Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning, and established the National Ocean Council. All U.S. agencies are now following the National Ocean Policy’s Implementation Plan that was issued in April of this year.
Oceans also are a major interest of Secretary of State John Kerry. The first major policy speech he gave when he arrived as Secretary was on marine protected areas, and soon thereafter he asked my bureau to plan a major oceans-related conference that would bring together key leaders and experts to discuss a series of oceans topics. We’ve entitled our conference, “Oceans under Threat: Charting a Sustainable Future.” The oceans and their resources are critical to the well-being of all of us. But the oceans are in trouble, and it is vital that we all recognize and face together the pressing and growing threats to the health and sustainability of the oceans. The United States, like many countries, has an intimate connection to the oceans. Our economy and our identity are firmly embedded in our ocean heritage and resources. As recognized in our National Ocean Policy, America’s stewardship of the oceans is intimately linked to our national prosperity, the health and well-being of our people and of our environment, and our foreign policy.
The oceans and their resources are critical to the world community. Oceans cover almost three-quarters of our planet. They regulate our climate and our weather. Over one-third of the world’s population lives in coastal areas, and more than one billion people worldwide rely on food from the ocean as their primary source of protein. Many jobs and economies around the world depend on the living marine resources in our oceans.
But the oceans are in trouble. A number of critical fish stocks have declined, some to the point of collapse. In many regions, corals are dying, leaving bare skeletons of reefs that can’t support fish or protect coastlines. Run-off from land and harmful algal blooms have sapped the oxygen from water, creating marine dead zones around the world where fish and other marine life cannot thrive. Our oceans are becoming littered with debris, threatening marine life and in some places concentrating in massive “garbage patches.” The oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, changing the very chemistry of the water and threatening the food webs of the oceans.
Still, there are ways to respond to many of these challenges that inspire us in the work we do every day to better manage the ocean. Through partnerships and collaboration among governments, the private sector, research institutions, and NGOs, through innovation, and with the political will and the right policies, we can address these challenges.
Examples of on-going efforts include the Port States Measures Agreement. This agreement has been signed by many nations, and once in force will help ensure that illegally harvested fish do not enter the stream of commerce. It will prevent the offloading of fish in ports around the world. Another example is the UN’s initiative for a World Ocean Assessment that will provide a valuable scientific baseline to inform ocean and coastal policy and future management decisions.
A key example, and one of great interest to Secretary Kerry, is the international effort to establish marine protected areas (MPAs), following on commitments all countries made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development Year as well as at the Rio+20 conference. The United States and New Zealand have co-sponsored a proposal to establish what would be the world’s largest MPA, in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. The Ross Sea is a unique ecosystem deserving of protection, in particular to allow for long-term scientific study. Our proposal is based on sound science and has been supported by Sweden and most other members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Even after many years of sustained effort, the Commission has not agreed to establish this MPA in October, due to the opposition of a very small number of countries. We see a very positive sign for marine conservation that so many diverse countries, including those that fish in the region, are willing to establish this MPA, but unfortunately we are not there yet. The lack of success is frustrating, but it means we must redouble our efforts. We very much hope to resolve the remaining differences and to make progress on this proposal in the near term.
To address the current state of the oceans, much more needs to be done. High-level conferences, like the one we are planning, provide important opportunities to draw attention to the threats facing our oceans and to identify ways to address these challenges. We want to showcase best practices in marine conservation and encourage the participants to promote national and international action to improve the state of the oceans.
Key Oceans Themes: In developing the themes for the State Department’s planned oceans conference, we reached out to NGOs and industry. We also worked with Members of Congress, where Senator Whitehouse co-chairs the U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus. Through these discussions and reflecting the Secretary’s concerns, we are developing a focus on three broad and important issues, all of which connect to themes you will be exploring here today and tomorrow.
Sustainable fisheries—We know that the health and sustainability of marine fisheries are deteriorating.
A significant percentage of key fish stocks are overfished and/or depleted. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing plagues too many fisheries worldwide. Certain fishing practices also cause damage to the ocean itself, including excessive bycatch and destruction of vulnerable ecosystems and habitats. The international community has been striving to grapple with these challenges, with mixed results so far.
On a more positive note, new technologies and partnerships among governments, industries, and consumers offer prospects for improving the state of ocean ecosystems and key fisheries. We hope to showcase the best available science relating to marine fisheries and to highlight some ways to move toward a more sustainable future.
Marine pollution—The global marine environment faces threats of pollution from a variety of land, sea, and air-based sources. It is estimated that 80% of global marine pollution comes from land-based sources.
Marine debris, which includes plastics, is one type of marine pollution, and is a global problem that threatens wildlife and presents health and safety concerns for humans. More than 250 different animal species—including seabirds, turtles, seals, sea lions, whales, and fish—have been documented as having ingested marine debris or suffered from entanglement in marine debris.
Nutrient pollution, caused by diverse sources including agriculture, sewage, and wastewater runoff, is a critical problem, because it over-fertilizes marine environments with high concentrations of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous, which can produce “dead zones.” It is estimated that there are nearly 500 dead zones in the world’s oceans in which marine life cannot be sustained.
We intend to draw attention to these serious marine pollution issues while also highlighting best practices and innovative initiatives to combat this global concern.
Ocean acidification—Our third theme will be ocean acidification, one of the most pressing issues facing the world’s marine environments. It occurs as oceans absorb increasingly greater levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Ocean acidity has increased over 30% since the Industrial Revolution. Studies have shown that a more acidic environment has a dramatic effect on some calcifying species, including oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton. When these organisms are at risk, the entire food web may also be at risk.