SDG 14: Life under Water – fors.earth becomes Business Partner of the UN Ocean Decade
Human well-being, sustainable development and economic growth depend on healthy oceans. They are the largest, yet still least understood ecosystem in the world. In many ways, this fascinating habitat is less known to us than the moon and far more complex. And it is therefore not surprising that it is still hardly explored and known beyond the shelf areas (shallow coastal regions up to 200 m water depth), although
- more than 200 million people live on the coast (below 5 meters above sea level),
- more than one billion people are directly dependent on the ocean as the world's largest source of food,
- oceans significantly influence our climate and weather and are among our most important buffer systems,
- their phytoplankton produce as much oxygen as land plants.
SDG 14: Life Below Water sets the goal of conserving and sustainably using oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
To contribute to the achievement of this goal, we have joined the partner network of the German Ocean Decade Committee (hereafter ODK).
The ODK was established in the fall of 2020 by the German IOC Section (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission). As an intergovernmental organization and part of UNESCO, the IOC deals with global oceanographic issues of ocean exploration and monitoring and additionally coordinates early warning systems for marine hazards such as tsunamis. ODK aims to promote the UN Decade of Oceanography for sustainable development – UN Ocean Decade – in Germany, to support national activities and to act as a link between national and international activities. "Humans have always been and will continue to be dependent on the ocean and its resources and services. It is an indispensable part of our future existence. Therefore, we need to include it much more in our considerations and ensure a sustainable use of the ocean." Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Karin Lochte (Member of the German Ocean Decade Committee and former Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research).
The UN Ocean Decade is a global campaign to collectively shape the ocean we need for the future: healthy, full of life, with protected areas – but also a sustainably used economic space for our everyday lives.
The UN Ocean Decade has 7 goals:
- Clean Ocean
- Healthy and resilient ocean
- Productive ocean, in particular the development and application of sustainable tools for fisheries management and aquaculture expansion while preserving biodiversity and ecosystems, and underlining the importance of the ocean as a key resource for resource extraction, energy production, tourism and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the backbone of global trade (maritime transport).
- Predictable ocean for dynamic and adaptive ocean management
- Safe ocean for coastal communities, ocean users, ecosystems, and economies
- Accessible ocean to enhance data collection, knowledge generation, and technological developments - especially in emerging and developing countries and small island states
- Inspiring ocean - spreading understanding of the ocean's diversity of meaning in economic, social, and cultural terms
At fors.earth, we have been developing corporate sustainability strategies with companies and corporations for over 15 years. However, the topic of "marine systems" is still poorly understood and strongly underrepresented among companies. With our experience, we want to contribute to bringing the goals of the UN Ocean Decade into the awareness of companies – also beyond the "Blue Economy". Through our participation in the Business Working Group, we will particularly make a positive contribution to the following projects and challenges:
- clean, productive and inspiring ocean
- sustainable and fair maritime economy
- sustainable food
- people and ocean
- pollution of the ocean
Dr. Alexis Katechakis (marine biologist and executive director of fors.earth) spent several years working in marine research, including at GEOMAR. There he worked on the impact of humans on the resilience and stability of aquatic food webs.
"Despite the size of the oceans, there are limits to their resilience. Overfishing, acidification, eutrophication, global warming and marine pollution are taking a massive toll on them. In the field of the Blue Economy, we have already supported projects that have an original commitment to the ocean, for example by helping to develop the business model of Veramaris and guiding it into implementation. However, the majority of the customers we work for do not yet recognize their connection to and responsibility for our oceans. This is where we want and need to raise awareness and become advocates for the oceans. Knowledge of the importance of the oceans for all of us must find a place in corporate sustainability measures.".“