Policy paper

G7 Ocean Decade Navigation Plan

Published 21 May 2021

Adoption of the G7 Ocean Decade Navigation Plan

We, the G7 Environment Ministers and European Commissioners, adopt this Navigation Plan, establishing a framework through which the G7 will collaborate and advance our collective work on ocean science, ocean observing and ocean action throughout the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘UN Ocean Decade’). We intend to review the implementation of this Navigation Plan and our associated work periodically, to support the UN Ocean Decade and to drive transformative change in ocean science and action for societal outcomes.

We recognise the importance of future G7 Presidencies in advancing this Navigation Plan; our government institutions and National Decade Committees in delivering our UN Ocean Decade work, in partnership with UN Entities and international and regional partners and organisations, research organisations, NGOs, private sector and others; and the ongoing work of the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative (‘FSOI’) toward the delivery of ocean science initiatives in support of the UN Ocean Decade.

Ocean Science and Action

The climate, the environment, our livelihoods and wellbeing depend upon the ocean and seas. Directly or indirectly, what affects the ocean, affects us all. Nevertheless, the ocean, and the benefits it provides, is under significant threat from multiple natural and anthropogenic pressures. Gaps in our knowledge of the ocean inhibit our ability to understand fully these threats and achieve effective ocean stewardship in the 21st century. Coordinated ocean science, including ocean observations, from space to the seafloor, remotely sensed and in-situ, at a national, regional and global level, is essential to help us address many of these gaps in our understanding.

The UN Ocean Decade offers a unique opportunity to tackle these challenges through transformational ocean science and ocean action. Bringing together interdisciplinary professionals, ocean users and wider society, the UN Ocean Decade facilitates global communication and new collaborative partnerships to ensure that ocean science delivers greater benefits for both the ocean ecosystem and for society. As the G7, we will advance the ocean science needed to underpin ocean action with direct relevance to the UN Ocean Decade, UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, UN Sustainable Development Goals, UN Regular Process, Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and UN Environment Assembly resolutions.

We therefore commit to support the UN Ocean Decade and its outcomes to drive G7 collaboration on ocean science and action, focusing on generating ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. Building upon important commitments and initiatives from current and past Presidencies, which include, but are not limited to, the G7 Action Plan to Combat Marine Litter, the Tsukuba Communique on Future of the Seas and Oceans (2016), the Bologna G7 Roadmap, the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities and the G7 Biarritz Chair’s Summary on Climate, Biodiversity and Oceans, we plan to work together, in an interdisciplinary manner, to expand both our knowledge of the ocean and that of the international community. In this endeavour, we recognise the value of data sharing, ocean literacy, socio-economic valuation of the ocean and its uses, capacity development, training and skills building, and strengthening our ability to observe, understand and predict the ocean. Through this Navigation Plan, we will work towards transformative ocean science and action that is co-designed and codelivered by multiple stakeholders, to support the societal outcomes of the UN Ocean Decade:

  1. A Clean Ocean where sources of pollution are identified and reduced or removed.
  2. A Healthy and Resilient Ocean where marine ecosystems are understood, protected, restored and managed.
  3. A Productive Ocean supporting sustainable food supply and a sustainable ocean economy.
  4. A Predicted Ocean where society understands and can respond to changing ocean conditions.
  5. A Safe Ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards.
  6. An Accessible Ocean with open and equitable access to data, information and technology and innovation.
  7. An Inspiring and Engaging Ocean where society understands and values the ocean in relation to human wellbeing and sustainable development.

G7 Collaboration for the UN Ocean Decade

This Navigation Plan marks the beginning of targeted G7 collaboration on ocean science and action in support of the UN Ocean Decade and its societal outcomes. We will:

Collaborate as the G7 on the UN Ocean Decade

Through our respective government institutions and/ or National Decade Committees, regularly convene together to discuss the implementation of this Navigation Plan and further our collaboration. The UK G7 Presidency will convene a workshop towards this endeavour.

Explore opportunities for how the G7 can develop and support specific UN ‘Decade Actions’ in support of Decade societal outcomes as set out in the Decade Implementation Plan.

Work closely with international and regional partners and organisations

Work closely with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (‘IOC-UNESCO’) and their wider events, activities, and governance of the Decade, including exploring the establishment of Decade Collaborative Centres.

Engage globally and regionally to support UN Ocean Decade challenges and implement its outcomes, advance ocean science and policy capacity development, especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and promote gender-equality and support for young people and Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs). Mobilise resources to support the UN Ocean Decade and its societal outcomes, aligning research and strategies with the Decade vision, outcomes and challenges.

Support the ongoing work of FSOI

Welcome the ongoing work of the FSOI, established under Japan’s G7 Presidency in 2016. We recognise the important contribution of the FSOI’s work on ocean observations, data sharing, funding mechanisms for sustained ocean observing systems, and accessibility of ocean information. Its work directly supports G7 ambition on ocean science and capacity development for the UN Ocean Decade, and works towards the ‘essential infrastructure challenges’ of the UN Ocean Decade as set out in the Decade Implementation Plan. We welcome the high-level 2021 FSOI Work Plan and endorse its evolving development, recognising the important work already undertaken through this Work Plan such as the global initiative for an enhanced global sustained sea and ocean observing system and on the Global Biogeochemical Argo Fleet. We support the FSOI’s programme of activities, in particular through sharing experiences and best practices of national coordination, and exploring funding mechanisms for sustained ocean observing systems.

During the UK’s G7 Presidency, we endeavour to advance three key areas of the FSOI’s global ocean observing work to support the UN Ocean Decade societal outcomes of a ‘predicted’, ‘accessible’, and an ‘inspiring and engaging’ ocean:

I. Ocean Indicators: To advance scoping activities and facilitate coordination between IOC-UNESCO, the UN Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, and other stakeholders, to evaluate current indicator frameworks, identify ocean information knowledge gaps and work towards solutions to enhance global scientific ocean monitoring and reporting, including supplementing existing frameworks as appropriate.

II. Digital Twin Ocean: To bring together G7 digital ocean initiatives, including their relationship to wider digital earth initiatives, and share best practices. A ‘digital twin’ ocean will transform the way we study the ocean, enhance scientific knowledge, and provide a key tool for policy and decision-making.

III. Net Zero Oceanographic Capability: Sharing best practices from G7 national initiatives for net zero carbon emissions from research infrastructure. By transforming oceanographic capability to a low-carbon system, we can identify new ways to collect and share information throughout the UN Ocean Decade and beyond.