Headline: Oceans

Marine Regions Forum 2023

Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination to Advance Ocean Governance

Hosted in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region by the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Seychelles, the Marine Regions Forum 2023 met under the theme, “Navigating ocean sustainability in the WIO and beyond.” This conference, designed as an interactive platform for active and open engagement, brought together experts from the WIO and other regions to share knowledge and exchange best practices on ways of enhancing cooperation and coordination to advance ocean governance in the WIO region and beyond.

read more

The Ocean: A Solution to Climate Change? Regulation of Negative Emissions Technologies Presents Many Challenges

The ocean will play a key role in efforts to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The use of so-called “negative emissions technologies” to enhance carbon sequestration and storage in the ocean is increasingly being discussed. In a study published in the scientific journal "Frontiers”, RIFS researchers Lina Röschel and Barbara Neumann describe the challenges that these technologies present for both the marine environment and society, and identify cornerstones for their responsible use.

read more
RIFS Discussion Paper

A “Deadline” Expires at the International Seabed Authority

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has convened in Jamaica for its annual meeting, which will include crunch talks on proposals to allow deep-seabed mining following the expiry of a two-year deadline to finalize regulations governing the removal of minerals from the international seafloor. RIFS researcher Pradeep Singh examines the legal context of this turning point in the history of the ISA in a new discussion paper – “A ‘deadline’ expires: Quo vadis, International Seabed Authority?” – presented to delegates in Kingston.

read more
RIFS Discussion Paper

Legal Consequences of Hesitancy over Deep-sea Mining

Negotiations on draft text regulations for deep seabed mineral exploitation activities will resume next week at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Kingston, Jamaica. Owing to the invocation of a treaty provision known as the two-year rule in June 2021, the Council of the ISA is faced with a deadline to complete and adopt the regulations by 9 July 2023. It is likely that the Authority will miss this deadline. What will happen in this case? A RIFS Discussion Paper provides some insights and possible interpretations.

read more

Sebastian Unger Appointed Germany's First Special Representative for the Oceans

At a cabinet meeting on 14 September, the German Government appointed Sebastian Unger as its first Special Representative for the Oceans in the portfolio of the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. Prior to his appointment, Unger worked at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) for a good decade. The establishment of a Special Representative for the Oceans underscores the Federal Government’s recognition of the growing importance of marine conservation and the sustainable use of the oceans.

read more

Two-year Countdown for Deep Seabed Mining

The clock is ticking down fast but is there a need to rush? In 2021, the island nation of Nauru triggered a treaty provision known as the “two-year rule” that obliges the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to finalize and adopt regulations for deep seabed mining within 24 months. Researcher Pradeep Singh of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) examines the legal implications of this provision in a paper published in the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law.

read more
Ocean governance

Stronger Integration of International Negotiations Needed to Protect the Ocean

International solutions are needed to protect the ocean. Two sets of regulations currently under development offer an opportunity to expand protections, but a greater degree of alignment between the two must be achieved. In a new scientific article IASS researchers outline how this could be realised. States will meet again in July and August to continue their negotiations.

read more
Ocean governance

Stakeholder Engagement is Key to Effective Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity

The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) is a shared responsibility of all nations. But current regulations and policies are ineffective to address comprehensive marine environmental protection. Over its five-year duration, the STRONG High Seas project (‘Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas’) has advanced the development of integrated approaches for ABNJ in the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific.

read more
Policy advice

Understanding Intuition in European Fisheries Management

Scientific advice is increasingly used to inform policy. However, when the stakes are high, time is short and uncertainty looms, scientists are often guided more by their intuition than by knowledge. A new study shows that intuitive judgments can substantially influence policy advice – for example, in the setting of fishing quotas. While this is not necessarily detrimental, more transparency around this is desirable.

read more
Ocean Governance

Marine Protected Areas Make Important Contributions to the SDGs

Area-based management tools are an important means of protecting the ocean. In addition to marine protected areas, they include spatial regulations for activities such as fishing, shipping or deep sea mining, and more comprehensive approaches such as maritime spatial planning. These measures can contribute significantly to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the ocean. However, this requires better coordination of measures and effective implementation, as researchers have shown in a new study with the participation of the IASS.

read more

We need a binding global agreement on plastics

There are increasing signs that negotiations over a global agreement on plastic pollution will begin in February 2022. In an article co-authored by IASS researcher Sebastian Unger and his team published in the journal “Science”, a team of scientists present the three key objectives and a number of supporting actions for an intergovernmental agreement in order to effectively curb the increasing amount of plastic waste.

read more

Strengthening Regional Marine Protection Through Dialogues

Sustainable Development Goal 14 (“Life below water”) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development addresses the protection and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources. Conventional approaches to environmental policy and governance are less suited to transboundary systems such as the ocean. A new study by researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) examines the challenges and potentials of collaborative processes at the level of marine regions.

read more
Global action plan

Save our oceans to protect our health

The European interdisciplinary collaboration Seas Oceans and Public Health In Europe (SOPHIE) Project has outlined the initial steps that a wide range of organisations could take to work together to protect the largest connected ecosystem on Earth. In a commentary paper published in the American Journal of Public Health the researchers, among them Torsten Thiele of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), call on public health and medical professionals to harness the UN Ocean Decade (2021-2030) as a meaningful catalyst for global change, reminding us that ocean health is intricately linked to human health.

read more
IASS Policy Brief

Deep Seabed Mining Must Benefit All Humankind

As investors set their sights on the mineral resources of the deep seabed, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) is developing regulations that will govern their future exploration and possible exploitation. A new IASS Policy Brief, published in cooperation with the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), presents three recommendations to ensure that future deep seabed mining would be to the common benefit all humankind, as required by international law.

read more
IASS Study

Recommendations for Regional Action to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution

Millions of tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the ocean every year. A team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam has investigated the role of regional ocean governance in the fight against marine plastic pollution, highlighting why regional marine governance should be further strengthened as negotiations for a new global agreement continue.

read more

Integrated Ocean Management to Balance the Use and Protection of Our Oceans

We rely on the ocean to meet our growing demand for foodstuffs, energy, and transport. At the same time, marine ecosystems are facing serious challenges from over-exploitation, pollution, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. In a new report prepared with the support of IASS researchers, the High Level Panel for the Sustainable Ocean Economy, an international initiative of heads of state and government, recommends concrete steps to strike a balance between the use and protection of the oceans.

read more

New Platform Aims to Strengthen EU’s Role in Ocean Governance

Strengthening the European Union’s role in international ocean governance - this is the aim of the EU International Ocean Governance Forum (IOG Forum) developed by the European Commission and the European External Action Service with the support of the IASS and other project partners. In late April 2020, the IOG Forum was launched online with a series of online-seminars attended by 450 experts. The series addressed a range of issues, including the protection and sustainable use of the oceans, how to deal with the oceans in the context of climate change and the role of research and science for a sustainable future for the oceans.

read more
UN Sustainable Development Goals

Marine Regions Crucial to Ocean Conservation

The next decade will be crucial for the future of our oceans. What role can marine regions play in efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals? Which approaches have proven successful and what can be done to enhance their coordination? Experts developed solutions to these questions and more at the Marine Regions Forum held in Berlin, Germany last autumn. On 4–5 February, IASS project lead Sebastian Unger will present the most important recommendations at a preparatory meeting for the United Nations’ 2020 Ocean Conference.

read more
Raw materials

Regulation of deep seabed mining to protect the common heritage of mankind

Interest in the extraction of mineral resources from the deep seabed has grown in recent years. In order to protect the marine environment, the existing legal framework must be strengthened through the addition of environmental objectives and regulations to minimize harmful impacts. A team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam recommends the establishment of ecological safeguards for deep-seabed mining in a new report commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA).

read more
Crowdfunding campaign

IASS Researcher Selected for the Homeward Bound Leadership Programme

IASS marine researcher Carole Durussel is among 80 female scientists from around the world selected to participate in the Homeward Bound leadership initiative. The year-long programme, which includes a series of online training seminars and a three-week expedition to Antarctica, will help the participating researchers develop networks to address environmental problems.

read more

New Study on the Future of the Global Seafloor

The ocean hosts an inconceivable wealth of marine life and diverse habitats, most of which remains unknown. International plans to mine minerals from the deep seafloor threaten this largely unexplored biodiversity hotspot. States are currently seeking to develop a legal framework for deep seabed mining. In cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, an international team of researchers from the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) has published a new study warning against a rush to exploit deep seafloor resources and calling for coordinated efforts to develop alternative approaches.

read more
IPCC Report and Marine Regions Forum

Fresh Impetus for Marine Conservation

Climate change is having particularly devastating impacts on the world’s oceans: they are becoming warmer and more acidic, with profound consequences for their complex ecosystem. The special report on “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate”, due to be presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 25 September, evaluates current scientific research on changes to the oceans. The Marine Regions Forum will convene in Berlin shortly afterwards with the aim of delivering clear recommendations, actionable results, and more support for regional partnerships.

read more
Catalogue of measures

A Rescue Plan for the Ocean

A comprehensive High Seas Treaty and extensive marine protected areas are urgently needed in the next decade to preserve life-supporting ocean function. These are just two of eight measures recommended in a study, to which Torsten Thiele from the Ocean Governance team at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) contributed.

read more

Effective Agreements and Greater Cooperation: Recommendations for Marine Conservation in South America and Africa

The United Nations wish to adopt a new global agreement for the protection of the high seas in the coming year. The negotiations among the UN member states offer an opportunity to strengthen marine conservation and extend protections to ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction. IASS researchers have developed a number of recommendations to strengthen relevant legal frameworks and bolster institutional cooperation in West Africa and South America.

read more

From Voluntary Commitments to Ocean Sustainability: IASS Researchers Propose Global Registry and Uniform Monitoring System

Our human livelihoods depend on the oceans, and the conservation of this vital resource is one of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), which together form the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In order to achieve SDG 14, the sustainable use and development of the world’s oceans, a plethora of voluntary commitments have been made in recent years. IASS researchers Barbara Neumann and Sebastian Unger have studied these voluntary commitments. Their findings and recommendations for improving the existing system have now been published in the prestigious journal Science.

read more

Marine Conservation: New Dialogue Forum to Strengthen Cooperation

Our oceans are increasingly suffering under the pressure of overfishing, pollution, climate change, and acidification. Yet in spite of this, the various institutions responsible for conserving them still tend to operate in isolation from each other. That situation is about to change: On 8 and 9 October, about 40 international experts gathered at the IASS to further refine the concept for a new informal dialogue forum at the interface of science, policy and society.

read more

Benefit Sharing and the Common Heritage of Mankind: Policy Brief Makes Recommendations for the Governance of Deep Seabed Mining

How could the exploitation of the resources of the deep seabed conceivably benefit humanity? What risks does such exploitation pose to the marine environment? And how can we ensure that governance in this area is fair – for all of humankind? The latest IASS Policy Brief examines what the International Seabed Authority can do to reconcile the use of the ‘common heritage of mankind’ with the global sustainable development goals formulated in the 2030 Agenda.

read more

Blog Posts

A Treaty for the High Seas

For years now the international community has been negotiating an agreement that will cover more than half of the Earth's surface and establish rules for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity. Will they succeed?

read more

A "Blue Deal" for Germany – Marine Policy as a Future Project for the New Coalition Government

The issue of marine conservation was hardly mentioned in the election campaign and the exploratory coalition talks that followed. This despite the fact that, for years, scientists have agreed that the climate crisis cannot be successfully combated without active marine conservation. Yet with the start of the coalition negotiations, this could now change. A look at the election programmes of the Green Party and the liberal FDP offers hope that a "Blue Deal" – a sustainable marine policy that is in line with the 1.5-degrees target and could improve the livelihood of those living in coastal regions – will be one of the future projects of the new coalition government.

read more

New Technology, Equity and the Law of the Sea

Advancements in new technologies open up new ocean industries and possibilities to explore the ocean. Some of these new technologies, such as swarms of underwater mini robots to map the seafloor or sensors on automated underwater vehicles, assist scientists in their work and produce growing quantities of ocean data.

read more
World Ocean Day

Why financial regulators need to consider ocean biodiversity

As the largest and most complex ecosystem on the planet, the ocean plays a key role in efforts to address the interrelated challenges of biodiversity collapse and climate change. Despite this, its dynamics have only been inadequately included in financial approaches intended to mitigate them. Financial regulators are increasingly aware of the multiple links between the climate and biodiversity crisis and the financial system and how nature is impacted by financial flows. They now need to fully integrate ocean biodiversity into their approaches.

read more

A bank for the ocean and a sustainable future

Thirty years ago today, world leaders came together to launch the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a bold initiative to foster change in an economic system that was degrading both the environment and indeed entire societies. Today, with the ocean facing unprecedented threats, a similarly bold initiative is required.

read more

The Paris Agreement turns five: It’s high time we tackle the ocean and climate crises together

Five years have passed since the so-called ‘Paris Agreement’ was concluded at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) following years of deliberation between the member States. For the ocean, the Paris Agreement represents a turning point: previously issues relating to the ocean were side-lined in COP negotiations.

read more

What can justice look like on the bottom of the ocean?

With the rapid growth of the technology sector over the past decade, the demand for metals such as copper, manganese, cobalt and other rare earth minerals has increased many times over. The deep seabed as a potential source of these minerals seems particularly attractive against this backdrop, especially as industrial deep seabed mining is now close to operationalization.

read more

The ocean we need for the future we want

A healthy ocean is critical to the survival of every life on earth. However, given that the marine environment, including its currents and species that inhabit its waters, are transboundary, national action alone cannot ensure its conservation. Each one of us must resolve the pressing issues facing the ocean, from marine pollution and overfishing to securing vulnerable coastal communities.

read more

Research Groups

Alle Anzeigen