The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Green Growth and Sustainable Development (GGSD) Forum discussed challenges and solutions related to tackling the amount of plastic waste in the marine environment. OECD released two scene-setting documents and three issue papers to inform and support Forum discussions.
The two-day GGSD Forum took place from 21-22 November 2017, at OECD headquarters in Paris, France, as part of the OECD Ocean Economy Week. The Forum focused on the theme, ‘Greening the Ocean Economy.’
In advance of the Forum, OECD published a blog post that underscores how waste from human activities, known as marine debris, accumulates in the oceans and forms “giant garbage patches” around the world, contributing to significant economic, ecological and social costs. The blog highlights the urgency of ensuring the sustainable use of the ocean and marine resources through progress on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 (life below water), including SDG target 14.1 on the prevention and reduction of marine pollution by 2025, and underscores synergies between progress on SDG 14 and other SDGs, particularly SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger).
OECD highlighted chapters from its 2017 publications titled, ‘Marine Protected Areas: Economics, Management and Effective Policy Mixes’ and ‘Global Trends and uncertainties to 2030/2060,’ to support Forum discussions. The chapter titled, ‘Marine Ecosystems: State, pressures, economic values and policy instruments to foster sustainable use,’ describes key pressures on marine biodiversity, including over-exploitation of fish and other resources, pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and invasive alien species. The section argues that degradation of marine ecosystems is “pushing beyond ecologically and economically sustainable thresholds.” To promote the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, the chapter presents a number of regulatory, economic and information and voluntary policy instruments, ranging from marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine spatial planning (MSP) to quota systems and certification programs. The second scene-setting document, titled, ‘The Ocean Economy in 2030,’ explores the potential of the ocean economy and discusses how ocean-based industries can contribute to addressing environmental, climate, energy security and food security challenges.
The issue paper titled, ‘MSP: Assessing Net Benefits and Improving Effectiveness,’ presents several key issues for improving the effectiveness of MSP, such as improving data collection and monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of MSP and ensuring integration and coordination with other planning frameworks and sectoral plans. The paper further recommends maintaining flexibility in MSP practice and developing a more systematic approach to economic valuation that considers the costs and benefits of MSP.
The publication titled, ‘A Preliminary Assessment of Indicators for SDG 14 on Oceans,’ reviews the SDG 14 indicator framework, highlights existing gaps and proposes possible indicators. The issue paper presents four suggestions for future OECD work on SDG indicators: contributing to SDG 14 though OECD’s measurement and indicators work, including through existing databases; contributing to identifying and assessing data sources that could produce official statistics to support SDG 14 data collection, such as drone data on fish stocks and ocean conditions and real-time vessel transponder data to identify illegal fishing activity; fostering common approaches to national accounting and valuing marine ecosystem services to implement SDG 14; and providing incentives for peer learning and best practice on SDG 14 indicators.
The issue paper titled, ‘An Inventory of New Technologies in Fisheries,’ argues that new information and monitoring technologies can reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and contribute to better management and conservation of fisheries, helping to achieve green growth in the fisheries sector. The paper provides an overview of innovative fisheries monitoring technologies, including big data and blockchain technologies, smart weighing system at sea, and drones. It also discusses how governments can use these technologies to improve their fisheries regulations, enforcement and compliance, among other aims.