Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO)

July 1, 2015

Overfishing, pollution, habitat loss and climate change are straining the health of the world's oceans.

World Bank Group

History of the GPO

The Global Partnership for Oceans was launched in 2012 as a new approach to restoring ocean health. It sought to mobilize finance and knowledge to activate proven solutions for the benefit of communities, countries and global well-being.

The GPO had over 150 partners representing governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and private sector interests committed to addressing the threats to the health, productivity and resilience of the ocean.

The Partnership aimed to tackle documented problems of overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss. Together these problems are contributing to the depletion of a natural resource bank that provides nutrition, livelihoods and vital ecosystem services.

Role of the World Bank

The World Bank hosted the GPO Secretariat until January 2015 and acted as a convener of a global network that brought greater attention to ocean health.


The GPO put ocean health at the heart of global attention. Leaders from around the world announced their commitment to addressing ocean health in order to “feed the planet’s growing population, support millions of livelihoods, contribute hundreds of billions of dollars annually to the global economy, and to provide essential environmental services, including climate regulation.”  (A Declaration for Healthy, Productive Oceans to Help Reduce PovertyFrench version)

It convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of 21 global experts from 16 countries representing the private sector, non-profit organizations, academia, and multi-lateral institutions that provided recommendations for prioritizing and implementing sustainable ocean investment. The report of the Blue Ribbon Panel, Indispensable Ocean: Aligning Ocean Health and Human Webll-being, was published in October 2013. See also one-page summaries in Arabic/ Chinese/ English/ French/ Russian/ Spanish

See also

Map illustrating the global distribution of income levels by country and associated Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ)

Infographic: Oceans: Our Living Resource

Next steps

  • With oceans firmly embedded at the highest level of development dialogues, the World Bank and partners felt it was time to move from advocacy to implementation. The many partners of the GPO will continue to tackle ocean health through a variety of solutions and partnerships.
  • The World Bank Group is committed to financing, investments and policy reforms that unlock the potential of ocean resources for food security and poverty alleviation, for example by replenishing the Program for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (PROFISH+) in a broadened capacity. 
  • Though no longer acting as the GPO Secretariat, the World Bank continues to work in collaboration and partnership with stakeholders working toward the goals of healthy and productive oceans.