Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts & Islands


(c) Wolcott Henry 2005 | Marine Photobank

The Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands was first mobilized in 2001 to help the world’s governments highlight issues related to oceans, coasts, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the agenda of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and was later formalized at the WSSD in Johannesburg.

Since 2001, the Global Forum has involved ocean experts representing all sectors from 105 countries to advance the global oceans agenda by: 1) promoting the implementation of inter-national agreements related to oceans, coasts, and SIDS, especially the goals emanating from the 2002 WSSD; 2) analyzing new emerging issues such as improving the governance regime for ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction and addressing the impacts of climate change; and 3) promoting international consensus-building on unresolved ocean issues.

The Global Oceans Conferences provide the major opportunity for all sectors of the global oceans community-- governments, international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, indus- try, and scientific groups-- to address the major policy issues affecting the oceans at global, regional, and national levels and to make progress in advancing the global oceans agenda.

The Global Forum has organized four Global Conferences (in 2001, 2003, and 2006 at UNESCO in Paris and in 2008 in Hanoi, Vietnam); organized the Ocean Policy Summit in Lisbon in 2005 documenting experiences with integrated oceans governance in countries and regions around the world; prepared a number of “report cards” on the implementation of the WSSD ocean targets and of the 1994 Barbados Programme of Action for SIDS; reports on ocean issues in island states; reports on capacity development needs on ocean and coastal management in different world regions; and provided a series of Internet information services, including periodic newsletters.