GLOBAL OCEANS COMMISSIONERS
A group of international leaders and scientists has set up an independent Global Ocean Commission aimed at influencing
U.N. efforts to preserve the high seas.
High seas are waters outside national jurisdictions, and are in part governed by the United Nation's 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has been approved by 165 nations and the European Union (but not the United States). The founders of the new commission, however, say the
convention - which entered into force in 1994 - is outdated when it comes to facing growing threats such as
over-fishing, climate change, and deep sea mining. "The high seas are owned by everyone but their governance and management are inadequate," José María
Figueres, a former president of Costa Rica and a founding member of the new commission, told reporters in a teleconference.
The commission says it aims to provide advice to the United Nations on how to make improvements leading up to global talks on high seas biodiversity scheduled for early next year. The panel will look at an array of issues, including
over-fishing, biodiversity and habitat loss, compliance, and monitoring, as well as governance gaps.
The group will "sound a warning" that business as usual will lead to ecological degradation and economic loss, said David
Miliband, one of the group's co-chairs and former foreign secretary of the United Kingdom. It aims to come up with "practical solutions" by updating economic knowledge relevant to environmental issues, Miliband added. One model will be a 2006 report prepared by economist Nicholas Stern for the government of the United Kingdom on the economics of climate change.
Organizers say the commission will be based at Somerville College at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and will work with scientists from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean. It will also hold workshops this year where scientists will be able to provide input, a commission spokesperson
is quoted as telling: ScienceInsider.
Figueres and Miliband will chair the group together with South African Cabinet minister Trevor Manuel, while former Greenpeace adviser Simon Reddy will be the commission's executive secretary. Members will also include other political and economic heavyweights, such as Pascal
Lamy, director-general of the World Trade Organization, and Ratan
Tata, former head of the eponymous Indian business group.
The Global Ocean Commission is being funded by the U.S. Pew Charitable
Trusts, the Adessium Foundation in the Netherlands, and U.S. philanthropic group
Reddy, Executive Secretary
has spent 20 years developing and delivering
international policy in areas such as oceans and
Parmentier, Deputy Executive Secretary
joined as Deputy Executive Secretary in October 2013
to reinforce the Secretariat. Previously he had
acted as Senior Policy Adviser to the Commission.
Brennan, Director of Operations
has worked for more than 15 years in international
affairs, joining the Commission from the Mayor of
Teleki, Director of Global Engagement
was most recently Vice President of SeaWeb,
responsible for its sustainable markets, science and
Asia Pacific programmes.
de Águeda, Communications Officer
background is in international environmental policy.
She is an associate at The Varda Group environmental
Gardner, Administration Assistant
joined the Commission from the UK Energy
Research Centre, where she organised conferences and
other events for energy professionals.
Science Magazine 2013 February new global ocean commission
aims influence U.N. policy