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The Ocean and Us

The ocean has been a cornerstone of human development throughout the history of civilization. People continue to come to the coasts to build some of the largest cities on the planet, with thriving economies, culture and communities. Ocean and coastal ecosystems provide us with resources and trade opportunities that greatly benefit human well-being.

These benefits are often taken for granted as we fail to recognize their underlying value. In our narrow pursuit of progress through purely economic and social development we often fail to protect the health of our marine system that we depend upon. Today, however, we increasingly realize the importance of healthy ecosystems for sustainable development that is reflected in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently adopted by the United Nations. We can no longer afford to apply an antagonistic paradigm between development and conservation. The SDG framework provides the world with the opportunity to transform how we think about the ‘Oceans and Us’.

This publication highlights the critical contribution of healthy marine and coastal ecosystems to achieving the SDGs and describes the role of credible and accessible data, well communicated knowledge generated through dialogue with users, in supporting informed decision-making.

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Healthy oceans support a range of sustainable development goals

Partners

AGEDIThis publication was made possible by the AGEDI Oceans and Blue Carbon Community Special Initiative of the Eye on Earth Movement. Eye on Earth addresses the crucial importance of environmental and societal information and networking to decision-making. Under the guidance and patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) was formed in 2002 to address responses to the critical need for readily accessible, accurate environmental data and information for all those who need it. With the Arab region as a priority area of focus, AGEDI facilitates access to quality environmental data that equips policy-makers with actionable, timely information to inform and guide critical decisions. AGEDI is supported by Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) on a local level, and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), regionally and internationally. For more information, visit www.agedi.ae.

GRID-ArendalGRID-Arendal has served as the chief editor of this publication. GRID-Arendal is a centre collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), supporting informed decision-making and awareness-raising. GRID-Arendal supports the integration of marine and coastal ecosystem services into planning and decision making through a range of global projects developing and sharing good practice and building capacity of institutions and practitioners.

Linwood PendletonLinwood Pendleton holds the International Chair of Excellence for Marine Ecosystem Services within the Centre for the Law and Economics of the Sea at the European Institute for Marine Studies, University of Western Brittany. He is also Senior Scholar at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. Anne Kaup is the Executive Manager of the Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership.

UNEP-WCMCThe United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has contributed the chapters on Data Requirements and Linking to Policy-Making of this publication. UNEP-WCMC is the specialist biodiversity assessment centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the world’s foremost intergovernmental environmental organization. The Centre has been in operation for over 30 years, combining scientific research with practical policy advice.

The Nature Conservancy’s Mapping Ocean WealthThe Nature Conservancy’s Mapping Ocean Wealth project has made their infographics and case studies available to this publication. Mapping Ocean Wealth’s mission is to describe – in quantitative terms – all that the ocean does for us today, so that we make smarter investments and decisions affecting what the ocean can do for us tomorrow. Supported by a consortium of global organizations, Mapping Ocean Wealth is informed by rapidly advancing marine science and field-based studies from around the globe that examine what drives the value of ecosystems and how they benefit people.

MESPThe Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (MESP) strives to improve communication between valuation researchers and policy makers by providing contextual perspectives for understanding valuation data in relation to environmental management decisions. The Partnership aims to be a community of practice through which data users and managers can work collectively to better integrate ecosystem services data with marine policy needs. This collaboration is aided with the use of tools such as the MESP mapper and valuation library that provides access to a collection of economic valuation studies and data found on the MESP website.