A new high level report has been published, commissioned by the Ocean Panel, co-authored by Nereus Director, Dr Yoshitaka Ota.

The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Ocean Panel) is a unique initiative by 14 world leaders who are building momentum for a sustainable ocean economy in which effective protection, sustainable production and equitable prosperity go hand in hand. By enhancing humanity’s relationship with the ocean, bridging ocean health and wealth, working with diverse stakeholders and harnessing the latest knowledge, the Ocean Panel aims to facilitate a better, more resilient future for people and the planet.

Through a historical lens, this new ground-breaking paper illustrates the differing economic, legal, institutional, social and cultural relationships people of varying cultures have with the ocean.

Focusing on the institutions that affect access and rights, this paper addresses concerns about the appropriation of marine resources and displacement of indigenous visions for ocean governance by identifying ways in which these culturally distinct institutions are compatible and charting a path toward inclusive ocean governance.

The full article and summary can be found here.


“The human relationship with the ocean is diverse and complex. It is built on values that are often nonmonetary, and which contribute to non-material dimensions of well-being. These values are essential to broader human flourishing. They include contributions to cultural and social and legal identity; a sense of place; occupational pride and self-respect; spirituality; mental and bodily health; and human security. The plurality of these values and interests matters to individuals and societies and could be more strongly represented in high-level ocean policy discussions.

A sustainable ocean economy must be built on these diverse relationships, in ways that encourage equity and inclusion and that recognise the non-material aspects of well-being.”


Allison, E.H., J. Kurien, Y. Ota et al. 2020. The Human Relationship with Our Ocean Planet. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. https://oceanpanel.org/blue-papers/HumanRelationshipwithOurOceanPlanet

Lead authors

Edward H. Allison, John Kurien and Yoshitaka Ota

Contributing authors

Dedi S. Adhuri, J. Maarten Bavinck, Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor, Michael Fabinyi, Svein Jentoft, Sallie Lau, Tabitha Grace Mallory, Ayodeji Olukoju, Ingrid van Putten, Natasha Stacey, Michelle Voyer and Nireka Weeratunge


This summary was adapted from this article


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