2021: A winning year for the ocean?

2021 was a big year for the ocean. 

The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2021 report showcased the importance of including seascapes and blue solutions in the climate change conversation. This was echoed at COP26—major pledges were made and the first “mega” marine protected area (MPA) was born.   

2022 must build on this momentum. Economist Impact’s World Ocean Summit in Lisbon will explore opportunities for progress towards meeting critical 2030 sustainability targets. Global leaders will come together at the UN Ocean Conference to discuss urgently needed science-driven solutions. As decision-makers gather to reassess net-zero commitments at COP27, will ocean-related climate action get the attention it deserves? 

At the World Ocean Initiative, we remain hopeful. There is no doubt that action to build a sustainable ocean economy will continue to accelerate in 2022.

Wishing you a restful, joyful end to 2021 and a happy, healthy new year.

A selection of year-end highlights from the World Ocean Initiative:


VIDEO: The Economist’s debrief on COP26 and the ocean

Was COP26 a watershed moment for the ocean or was blue climate action just a drop in the decarbonisation bucket? Join the conversation.



A new blue economic frontier

2.5% of global GDP is currently blue. How can we support a blue economy that simultaneously addresses issues around climate and ocean health? The World Ocean Summit Asia-Pacific in December took a deep-dive into financing a blue economy. Catch our top takeaways from the event. Read more


Blue solution to humanity’s “code red” crisis

Why is the ocean, which makes up more than 70% of the planet’s surface and is the Earth’s largest homeostatic mechanism, being largely ignored in the global climate discussions? Learn more about this year’s IPCC report and its implications for the ocean from Chris Gorell Barnes, founding partner, Ocean 14 Capital. Read more


Bridging the gap between ocean science and the SDGs 

Scientific ocean research is booming. But research on ocean topics in general has poor linkages to crucial Sustainable Development Goals, according to the 2021 assessment of global science governance by UNESCO released earlier this year. What’s needed to close the gap? Read more


Looking back on World Water Week

The global water conference convened thousands for frank debate about the world’s most precious resource. Across 400 sessions, participants shared best practices on how to climate-proof their operations and foster engagement among communities and companies. Wade into our summary of WWW. Read more


World Ocean Summit 2022: Achieving 2030 targets

March 1st–3rd 2022 | Lisbon, Portugal

Find out more


For more from the World Ocean Initiative sign up to the free newsletter


More on the ocean economy: