What are Commitments?
- Commitments are new or existing concrete pledges that support the implementation of SDG 14 target(s);
- They are expected to be specific in nature, quantified where possible, focused on delivering one or more target(s) under SDG 14 (see our FAQs).
Countries and stakeholder groups may register their Commitments at any point. However, they are encouraged to register here in advance to the Ocean Conference to ensure they are included in the proceedings of the Conference. See the FAQs >
Who can commit to conserve and promote the sustainable use of the ocean, seas and marine resources?
Any entity that is committed to taking action on sustainable ocean use and conservation at any level (e.g. governments at national, provincial, local; NGOs; community-based organizations; academia; the private sector; and UN agencies) is encouraged to develop voluntary commitments or to register their existing commitments (made after September 2015).
How can a government or organization host an Ocean National Consultation?
Any country can host a national consultation. Ideally this should be anchored with government ongoing efforts and involve multiple organizations and stakeholders.
Securing political commitment at the highest level can help give the process legitimacy, thereby ensuring that all relevant stakeholders come together to carry out the technical work and maintain the political cooperation necessary to formulate a voluntary commitment in a timely manner.
Countries can consider the following recommendations, as appropriate, when organizing national consultations:
Stakeholder engagement: Consultation with key stakeholders is critical to ensure that Voluntary Commitments respond to the needs of affected stakeholders and have long-term support. Early and ongoing engagement with stakeholders, including all relevant public sector actors, civil society, the private sector, and academia, can lay the groundwork for successful outcomes.
- Gathering data available: Developing a Voluntary Commitment based on relevant data and analysis can help ensure that the commitment is realistic and achievable, clear and concrete, ambitious, aligned with national priorities, and contributes to achieving the targets under SDG 14. Countries may already have significant quantities of data and analysis that can be used when preparing voluntary commitments. Existing information might be sufficient, in which case collecting a significant amount of new data or conducting new analysis will not be necessary.
- Mapping existing commitments: Countries are encouraged to map all existing ocean-related commitments – which includes ongoing efforts and initiatives – that may qualify as a voluntary commitment (that have been in place after September 2015). The Ocean National Consultations provide an opportunity to reenergize these efforts.
- Capacity building: It is also important to build the necessary knowledge and technical capacities, and to secure and manage the right resources/information available during the process. Governments can also enlist the assistance of research institutes, universities, and other organizations in preparing for the national consultations.
Who to engage?
Who will participate in the activities? The participants will vary as per the format of the consultation(s), the geographic scope, budget and timing of the process.
The quality of the consultation(s) will depend largely on credible representation of particular stakeholder groups. Criteria for identifying stakeholder representatives could include credibility; competence and local knowledge of ocean related issues; institutional capacity; representation of a local community or group; organizations that are most representative of constituencies with regard to economic and social issues; accountability to the community or group being represented; gender and generational balance; and location in urban, rural or remote areas.
Countries are particularly encouraged to engage youth groups, private sector, and media groups in the national consultations.
What activities could countries host as part of the preparatory process and Ocean National Consultations?
Countries are free to shape the preparatory process based on what is most appropriate for their country setting. Below are suggested activities that could be carried out as part of the preparatory process for organizing an Ocean National Consultation:
- Social media campaign to engage broad stakeholder groups (youth, local communities, experts, government representatives, academia, private sector etc.
- Utilization of the local/national media channels available (printed media, TV, radio) to raise awareness about the Ocean Conference and ocean issues.
- Engagement of local organizations (e.g. schools/universities, research centres, commerce chamber, foundations, private institutions, government offices).
- Record the Ocean National Consultation(s) – video(s) and photographs.
What support is available to countries hosting Ocean National Consultations?
Countries hosting National Consultations can count on the following support:
- Communications support – social media; and
- Dedicated web page hosted in the Ocean Action Hub – profiling the country with relevant news, decisions, information on the country, and broadcast of Voluntary Commitment(s).