Joint Statement on the Role of a Sustainable Ocean Economy in a post-COVID-19 World

Today, we celebrate World Oceans Day under unprecedented circumstances, as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated health and economic challenges. We, the members of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, propose the ocean as a solution to a more resilient and prosperous world. This will be more important than ever as we embark on post-COVID-19 recovery.

Blue nature is central to the planet and its people. The ocean covers over 70 percent of the earth’s surface, absorbs about a quarter of all carbon emissions, and captures more than 90 percent of the additional heat they generate. A fundamental building block of the global economy, it contributes over $2.5 trillion annually in value-added services, feeds over three billion people, provides a livelihood for over three billion people, and transports around 90 percent of world trade. It is also a source of renewable energy and key ingredients for fighting disease. And it can do more if we sustainably manage it.

World leaders must value the ocean in recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. In a sustainable ocean economy, effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand-in-hand. Investing in a sustainable ocean economy is an excellent deal: it has considerable benefits for the global economy, the ocean and societal well-being.

The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy is committed to the transition to a sustainable ocean economy, which is essential for jobs, food security, healthy people and ecosystems, a low-carbon world, equity, and resilience. Our nations are currently working on a set of recommendations to enable this transition, which is also vital for a sustainable relationship between people and planet—the entire blue planet. We cannot let this opportunity escape us.

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya
Sebastian Piñera, President of Chile Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico
Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia
Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway
Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia Tommy Remengesau, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau
Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal

We, the members of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, lead nations of highly diverse oceanic, economic and political perspectives. Driven by a commitment to partnership, shared knowledge and science-informed policy, we aim to advance the values underpinning a sustainable ocean economy—effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity.