Rio+20: Why oceans need more protection

May 30, 2012


Oceans cover 71% of the planet and provide billions of people with food and economic security

© Edwin Huffman / World Bank

  • The oceans supply about 15 percent of all protein for billions of people
  • 85% of fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited, depleted or recovering
  • The World Bank is a stakeholder at the Global Partnership for Oceans, that mobilizes funds and knowledge for the protection of marine areas

This spring, the World Bank convened a coalition of 130 of the world’s leaders in ocean health and use, including governments, international organizations, scientists, and industry to form a Global Partnership for Oceans to begin confronting the problems of overfishing, marine degradation, and habitat loss. This includes setting goals for action over the next 10 years.

The oceans provide food security, coastal protection, and economic security for billions of people. They supply about 15 percent of all protein, but at the same time, mismanagement, development, and pollution has led to 85% of fisheries being fully exploited, overexploited, depleted or recovering, and 35% of mangrove forests and 20 percent of coral reefs destroyed.

At Rio, we will be looking for commitments to improve marine stewardship, including acting on the commitments to agreements written in Rio 1992, Johannesburg 2002, and Nagoya 2010. We want to enhance food security, reduce pollution, and increase the coverage of marine protected areas.