United Nations

Roundtable: Creating a Common Agenda for our Shared Ocean

The Roundtable: Creating a Common Agenda for our Shared Ocean series is designed to foster inclusive dialogue and drive a strong ocean-climate focus on the agenda within the UNFCCC processes, other UN processes and global convenings.

The Roundtable: Creating a Common Agenda for our Shared Ocean series is designed to foster inclusive dialogue and drive a strong ocean-climate focus on the agenda within the UNFCCC processes, other UN processes and global convenings. This series provides an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to contribute to ocean climate agenda priorities and build a collective vision that influences formal negotiations and dialogue.

The Roundtable series is hosted by Oceanic Global in partnership with IOC UNESCO and The Ocean Decade alongside collaborators at the UNFCCC and UN High-Level Climate Champions. The series kicked off at the Ocean x Climate Summit hosted as a day-long in-person side event at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2022 and continued with a virtual session in March 2023. Breakout discussion circles covered topics including: UNFCCC Systems, Global Convenings, National Action, Outreach & Engagement, Policy & Finance, and Bridging Gaps & Building Capacity.

Summary of Outcomes

Read the Full Report Here. (Key takeaways pulled out below)

Watch The Latest Virtual Roundtable Highlights:


Current Knowledge Gaps:

  • Only a small fraction of even those who work daily on climate issues understand the importance of the ocean in the climate discussion.
  • Those who make the decisions are not those who are most impacted
  • There is currently a lack of a strong ocean agenda within UNFCCC processes including the Paris Agreement and NDC targets. 
  • There has historically been poor representation of ocean stakeholders in UNFCCC delegations and negotiations.
  • There is an absence of a consolidated platform to talk directly to negotiators.
  • Currently, there is poor understanding and clarity on ocean assets and how to bring them into NDCs.
  • There is a lack of capacity/training for implementation on the ground. 
  • Poor communication and data gaps exist between national and local needs/demands.

Direct Opportunities for Action: 

  • Include the ocean in all UNFCCC agendas ~ this could happen through local and regional negotiations, which would be supported by UNFCCC for each specific area such as: in capacity building, technology support for climate change mitigation and adaptation. There is a need to focus on “how to” scale up ocean-climate action at all levels.
  • Stakeholders can help to coordinate and support these efforts – as well as call for strengthened action and more finance – and build momentum for a sustainable blue economy.
  • The global stocktake is a major focus for COP28, which provides an opportunity for the ocean community to speak up about increasing ambition around marine and coastal nature-based solutions.
  • Identify adaptation knowledge gaps on regional levels through research that could help policymakers understand the importance of the ocean and make realistic decisions also from economic and social perspectives. 
  • Establish channels for international cooperation with different parties and identify ways to include ocean representatives and stakeholders in UNFCCC delegations.
  • Collaborate and agree on what we want to ask for at international convenings globally as an ocean community to bring ideas to negotiators (acknowledging that they cannot attend all meetings and side events). 
  • Decide how we are going to support champions (e.g. SIDS who have the least capacity and the most interest) and how we can support their participation in negotiations. Seeing national ocean champions at COP28 would be a win.
  • Clarify and improve narratives about the multifaceted role of the Ocean at a local and national level. Geographic characteristics could potentially help governments meet their NDCs more efficiently. 
  • Boost community-building decisions and substantive capacity building.
  • Support local implementation and recognize how this supports local livelihoods.
  • Include impacted stakeholders in the development of policies for regulation to be effective. Effective policy-making can also help identify where funding needs to go.
  • Care about humans and nature at the same time and to have the patience for holistic solutions to emerge. 
  • Involve non-state actors on finance to accelerate implementation. Specifically, engage non-state actors to drive private and public concessional finance to meet implementation needs and “cluster” around certain projects because of the recognized payoff.
  • Notable gaps exist in ocean finance including support for early-stage work, and a need for more “patient capital” from investors who don’t expect an immediate exponential return. Critical breakthroughs will come in the form of educating investors around ocean-based risks alongside de-risking ocean investments and finding ways to provide incentives. We need to understand the true value of the blue economy and establish centralized financing mechanisms.
  • Broaden the scope of climate-induced natural disaster relief and prevention to include mitigation and ocean action.
  • Translate messages to bridge the gap between different sectors – we need people to foster intersectional dialogues to create community. 
  • Create spaces that equally value all forms of knowledge, that consider Indigenous, local and traditional knowledge on an equal plane with science and to consider both natural and social sciences in equal parts. 
  • Center the importance of the ocean in the climate discussion. The ocean is vast, largely unexplored and holds so much unknown. We may not see the ocean, but it’s contributing to our daily lives in countless ways. 
  • Have a dialogue centered on opportunity and identify the direct benefits and incentives for each stakeholder to increase awareness and investment in the ocean across all sectors.

Join the Movement:

For more information about the Roundtable event series or to learn more about Oceanic Global, visit oceanic.global or follow Oceanic Global on Instagram @oceanic.global.