CAST YOUR NETS OVER THE WATER - Fishing using nets comes naturally to humans all over the world. The good news is that apart from the plastic netting, this is a sustainable enterprise and to be applauded and encouraged.




25 April 2014, The Hague - We will need to take unorthodox steps to tackle overfishing, climate change and pollution of the oceans. Governments, business leaders and NGOs from 80 countries commit themselves to firm agreements. In addition, 10 partnerships were announced. We have the solutions for sustainable fisheries and blue growth in our own hands and now it is a matter of putting this into action on a global scale, and this action starts today. This is the final conclusion of the Global Oceans Action Summit after a week of high level roundtable discussions in The Hague.

From courage to action

Dutch Minister for Agriculture and chair of the summit, H.E. Sharon Dijksma, said about the result: 'This week the world didn’t just show courage; it showed especially that’s it’s ready for action to tackle overfishing, climate change and pollution. That is exactly what the world needs right now, as only then will fish and healthy oceans still be able to provide for hundreds of millions of people after 2030.'

Results from the Summit:

The only way to end the war of attrition at sea is to stop overfishing and to eliminate overcapacity
From now on, subsidies should be used for sustainable fisheries only;

Illegal fisheries must be banned, and we need regional agreements with businesses to achieve this;

Accelerating ratification of agreed mechanisms for improved fisheries practices to make the fisheries sector more sustainable, and tackling pollution;

A stronger recognition of the impact of climate change on the oceans is crucial;

The oceans must be a special focus in the United Nations Sustainability Objectives.

Cross-boundary partnerships

At the summit more than 10 new commitments for public-private partnerships were entered into, leading to action in many places around the world. Today the following partnerships will be announced:

Mauritius, the Seychelles and the labelling non-profit organisation Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) will start working at certification of fish species and sustainable fisheries in the Indian Ocean;

Conservation International will further develop the Ocean Health Index with partners;

Rockefeller Foundation and the Netherlands pledging funding support of 250,000 euros to WorldFish and FAO to produce a Roadmap for the Future of Fish.

Together with the Netherlands, the WNF will start working on a study into the effectiveness of international ‘Marine protected areas’.

The Netherlands had already announced it is going to work together with Indonesia to prevent fish wastage, and with Grenada to protect the coral. There are also partnerships to better exchange the available data and to promote the recovery of fish populations.

John Kerry follows up on agreements

US Secretary of State John Kerry will organise the next summit in June 2014 and is therefore following up on agreements made in The Hague. This summit was co-organised by the World Bank, the FAO and the governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Mauritius, Norway and the United States.

FAO and World Bank

Árni M. Mathiesen – Assistant Director-General of the FAO said:

'This Summit has put an accent on action and the route to navigate on oceans, fisheries management and aquaculture is much clearer than before.'

World Bank representative Valerie Hickey said:

'This Summit has presented the way forward for a new type of growth – blue growth which is sustainable, equitable and takes the value of the ocean’s ecosystem services into account. Together, we can restore ocean health at the speed and scale necessary to drive broad-based blue growth, secure food security and turn down the heat on climate change. We have the set of actions needed – let’s move on them now.'

Press release - High level roundtable at Global Oceans Action Summit

24 April 2014, The Hague - On the final day of the Global Oceans Action Summit Dutch Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma has called for action to restore the health of the world’s oceans. “It takes courage to see beyond borders and act together to achieve healthier oceans and food security. Action is required, and this is the message I gave to my colleagues today. We must make progress and that begins now", said Minister Dijksma.

On the last day of the summit considerable efforts were made by over 70 heads of government, ministers, captains of industry and NGOs to improve the health of oceans and preserve fish stocks as a source of income and food. The world population is set to grow by 2 billion to reach over 9 billion people by 2050. Fish is already one of the most important sources of protein, while 30% of fish stocks are under severe pressure.
Action agenda

A declaration pledging healthier oceans and increased global food security is expected to be issued on Friday. An action agenda for blue growth is also being prepared. Many livelihoods, such as fisheries and tourism, depend on the ocean.
‘Protecting the oceans is a top priority’

The next World Ocean Summit will be chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry on 16 and 17 June 2014. He addressed the conference via a video link: "We look forward to the results of the Global Oceans Action Summit. And we will continue this work at the next oceans conference in June in the United States". Protecting our oceans and food security is a top priority for the US Secretary of State Kerry and for the world. "We all need to work together on this challenge", he said.
Coral Conservation Partnership with Grenada, Caribbean

With the support of the Netherlands, the Island State of Grenada in the Caribbean will launch a project for the conservation of coral and fish. This will ensure that tourism and fisheries will continue to drive economic growth.

Grenada is highly dependant on the ‘blue economy’ through revenues from cruise ships, diving tourism and fishing. Besides tourism, the other traditionally important economic field in the geographic area is gambling, with numerous online bookies operating from the region. Former colonies of The Netherlands such as Aruba and Curacao while being the most widely known for this, they are now eager to diversify their economy by opening towards blue economy. The Netherlands is investing a total of 1 million dollars in knowledge with the requirement that the business community also contributes through public private partnerships. In this context, Grenada and the Netherlands have also agreed to set up an Oceans Governance Institute to build up and exchange knowledge in the Caribbean.

Minister Dijksma initiated the partnership with the Prime Minister of Grenada Dr. Keith Mitchell during the summit. "Grenada has the courage to pursue a long-term vision. The islands are serious about protecting fragile coral. This requires knowledge in many areas, such as climate change and sustainable fisheries. The Netherlands has this knowledge in house and we will work together to improve conservation and economic growth in the Caribbean."

Video - Global Oceans Action Summit: It's all about sharing experiences

24 April, 2014 - Among the approaches discussed, inclusive partnerships that bring together public, private, community and civil society actors were highlighted on this 3rd day of the summit. An example of combined action in partnerships is the commercial fishery in British Columbia, Canada. One of the fishermen, Wes Erickson, is in The Hague to talk about their approach.

Press release - Improved fish products for Indonesian consumers
First partnership to be announced at Global Oceans Action Summit.

23 april 2014, The Hague - Indonesia and The Netherlands are starting joint projects for improved and safer fish products for millions of Indonesian consumers. This partnership is announced at the second day of the Global Ocean Actions Summit in The Hague. Total value of the joint projects is 4,5 million Euros.

Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture, The Netherlands: "Far too much fish gets wasted worldwide due to lack of knowledge of storage and cooling techniques. Needless waste of good food out of the ocean. This urges for action now, starting today. We are going to work together and invest knowledge to improve fish products for consumers."

Specialists from Wageningen University and Research Center and their Indonesian colleagues will cooperate on project locations on Kalimantan, Sumatra, Java and a smaller project on Ambon as well.

Goal of the projects is to ensure safe and high-qualitative fish products and its availibility for internal markets and possibly export. The projects will run till end of 2016.


Video - A New Wave for the World



22 april 2014, The Hague - First day impression

Press release - Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth opens in The Hague
High-level gathering focuses on identifying solutions for healthy oceans

22 April 2014, The Hague/Rome – Urgent coordinated action is needed to restore the health of the world’s oceans and secure the long-term well-being and food security of a growing global population. That is a key message of an international summit that opens today in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Ministers and senior representatives from governments, the fishing industry, coastal communities, science and civil society are coming together at the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth (22-25 April) which aims to bring global attention and increased investment into addressing the 3 key threats to ocean health and food security: overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution. The summit will culminate in a high level roundtable on Thursday 25 April.

“Joint urgent action of the global community is needed to address the threats facing our oceans”, says H.E Sharon Dijksma, minister for Agriculture of the Netherlands, who is hosting the summit. “Local innovations to balance ecology and economy at sea must be identified and put into practice in other regions. The Global Oceans Action Summit in The Hague provides the opportunity to make a difference,”

On average, 17 % of global animal protein intake comes from fisheries and aquaculture, and demand for fish protein is expected to double in the next 20 years, yet some 28 % of global stocks are already overfished. At the same time, climate change is threatening biodiversity, altering habitats and changing the productivity of our fisheries.

“Healthy oceans have a central role to play in solving one of the biggest problems of the 21st century – how to feed 9 billion people by 2050,” said Árni M. Mathiesen, AssistantDirector-General for Fisheries and Aquaculture at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). “However, we need to act now at the speed and scale necessary to meet the challenges we face by joining forces with all stakeholders, fostering partnerships and spurring sustainable growth.

Over 500 delegates are expected to attend the Summit, including more than 60 ministers, CEOs and leaders from civil society. Hosted by the Government of the Netherlands, the Summit is co-organized by the World Bank, FAO and the Governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Mauritius, Norway and the United States of America.
Balancing acts

The Summit will focus on some of the underlying causes that have led to the overfishing, increased marine pollution and loss of critical habitat as well as potential solutions. This means balancing the demand for growth with the need for conservation of marine areas; addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the high seas and within national exclusive economic zones; and ensuring private sector growth does not come at the expense of protecting the livelihoods of local communities.

“Solutions exist that balance the ecological and economic demands on the ocean,” said Juergen Voegele, Director of Agriculture and Environmental Services at the World Bank, a co-organizer of the event. “We have the opportunity to align all our efforts and bring solutions to scale locally. With public private partnerships and shared approaches we can restore ocean health and provide food and jobs for communities worldwide.”

In exploring solutions, emphasis will also be placed on the finance mechanisms and governance structures needed to ensure that actions have the impact and longevity to respond to global demands. Among the approaches discussed, inclusive partnerships that bring together public, private, community and civil society actors will be highlighted.
Blue growth

Coming out of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference, the blue economy comprises the food, jobs and opportunities for development provided by ocean and coastal assets. Blue growth emphasizes conservation and sustainable management of aquatic resources and equitable benefits to the coastal communities that rely on them.




* 80 % of all life on the planet is found in oceans
* The oceans provide half of the planet’s oxygen
* Blue carbon sinks (mangrove forests, seagrass beds, other vegetated ocean habitats) can sequester up to five times as much carbon as tropical forests
* More than 40 % of the global population lives within 100 km of the coast
* 13 of the world’s 20 megacities lie along coasts
* Nearly 700 million people live in low lying coastal areas less than 10 metres above sea level
* 10-12 % of the world’s population is dependent on fisheries and aquaculture for livelihoods.
* Over 90 % of the 58.3 million people engaged in the primary fisheries and aquaculture sector work in small-scale fisheries.
* The impact of IUU fishing is estimated at $10-23.5 billion annually.
* Potential economic gain from restoring fish stocks is estimated at $50 billion a year.



Follow live updates from the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth. Attendants will be sharing statements, goals, partnerships and most importantly actions from the summit. Check daily summaries of working groups and plenary session from IISD 

Follow the conversation on twitter at #OceanAction and add your call for action. 

Background Information

Healthy oceans are essential for global food security, livelihoods and economic growth. The oceans cover some 72 per cent of the Earth's surface, and are both an engine for global economic growth and a key source of food security.



The world faces one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: how to feed 9 billion people by 2050 in the face of climate change, economic and financial uncertainty and the growing competition for natural resources. These multiple challenges require an integrated response and an urgent transition of the world economy towards a sustainable, inclusive and resource efficient path. Ocean health and productivity must be at the heart of global efforts to eradicate poverty, strengthen food security and build resistance to climate change. 

For the first time, with a view to improving food security, eradicating poverty and delivering shared prosperity, global leaders, ocean practitioners, scientists, and representatives from government, business, civil society and international organizations will come together to explore action-oriented partnerships, governance arrangements, investment frameworks and new financing vehicles to turn the tide on the health of Oceans.

Towards critical internationally agreed targets

The Summit will demonstrate measurable steps towards critical internationally agreed targets for fisheries, aquaculture, habitat protection and pollution reduction. The Summit will also highlight the need to address the next frontiers of successful integrated approaches that include public-private partners, secure financing and catalyze good ocean governance while reconciling tensions and balancing priorities between (i) growth and conservation, (ii) private sector interests and equitable benefits for communities and (iii) ABNJ (Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction) and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zones within the 200-mile limit from the coast). Moreover, the Summit will take stock of previous important regional and thematic ocean conferences and delivers a pathway towards prime positioning for the oceans on the international development agenda. 

NOTE: All sessions of the Summit were in the English language only.



Recommended hotels

Ibis The Hague Scheveningen
Novotel The Hague City Center
Mercure Hotel
Novotel World Forum
World Bel Air hotel

Conference Documents

The Summit will highlight the need to address the next frontier of successful integrated approaches that attract public-private partners, secure financing and catalyze good ocea governance while reconciling tensions and balancing priorities between (i) growth and conservation, (ii) private sector interests and equitable benefits for communities and (iii) Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) policy frameworks.

TUESDAY 22 APRIL - Program

Tuesday 22 Apr Wednesday 23 Apr Thursday 24 Apr Friday 25 Apr 

09:30 - 10:00 am

Plenary Opening Ceremony including
Keynote Speeches by:

H.E. Sharon Dijksma - Minister for Agriculture of The Netherlands
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank
Arni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO

10:00 - 10:30 am

Feedback relevant meetings:

Asia Conference on Oceans, Food Security and Blue Growth, by H.E. Sharif Cicip Sutardjo, Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, The Economist World Ocean Summit, Charles Goddard, Editorial Director, The Economist Asia Pacific

10:30 - 10:50 am

Positioning the Oceans by Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg Director Global Change Institute, University of Queensland and Coordinating lead-author of the Oceans chapter in the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report/ Blue Ribbon Panel Chair

10:50 - 12:10 pm

Panel discussion – Perspectives on ocean challenges, opportunities for transformation, moderated by Zeinab Badawi, Anchor BBC


Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio, Senior Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation

Fatou Mboob, Executive Director, TRY Oyster Women’s Association The Gambia

Mike Kraft, Vice President, Sustainability, Bumblebee Foods

Rolph Payet, Minister for Environment, The Seychelles

Stephen Hall, Director General, WorldFish

Sebastian Troeng, Senior Vice President, Conservation International

12:10 - 12:20 pm

Introduction to the Program of the Summit by the Chair H.E. Sharon Dijksma - Minister for Agriculture of The Netherlands

12:20 - 12:30 pm

Introduction to Working Groups by the Chair

12:30 - 02:00 pm

Lunch, Exhibition, Side Events

02:00 - 04:00 pm

Parallel Working groups - Session 1:

Balancing Growth & Conservation - Growth
Private sector & Social Equity - Role of the Private Sector
ABNJ & EEZ’s - IUU fishing

04:00 - 06:00 pm

Parallel Working groups - Session 2:

Balancing Growth & Conservation - Conservation
Private sector & Social Equity - Enhancing local development
ABNJ & EEZ’s - Plastics in the marine environment

06:00 - 07:30 pm

Welcome Reception hosted by The Netherlands.


09:30 - 11:30 am

Parallel Working groups - Session 3:

Balancing Growth & Conservation - Solutions
Private sector & Social Equity - Getting action
ABNJ & EEZ’s - Cooperation

11:30 - 11:45 am

Coffee break


11:45- 12:00 pm

Plenary: Perspectives on Ocean health and productivity, implications for fisheries
12:00 - 12:30 pm

Plenary session: Feedback Working groups 1, 2 and 3


12:30 - 02:00 pm

Lunch and Exhibition, Side Events


02:00 - 04:00 pm

Parallel Working groups - Session 4:

Models for governance - Experiences from Integrated Management of the Marine Environment
Financing mechanisms - Why invest in the ocean? Insights from public, private, and multilateral institutions
Partnerships - Public Partnerships for Transformative Action

04:00 - 06:00 pm

Parallel Working groups - Session 5:

Models for governance - Creating the Conditions for Best Practice Community Management
Financing mechanisms - Blue bonds and innovative finance
Partnerships - Lessons from Effective Partnerships for Ocean Health

06:15 pm

Departure from Conference Center


07:00 - 10:30 pm

BBQ party hosted by the Netherlands




09:30 - 10:30 am

Plenary Opening Session

Welcome Remarks by Ms. Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture of The Netherlands

Keynote address:

Dr. Right Hon. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada (TBC)
H.E. Elisabeth Aspaker, Minister of Fisheries, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
H.E. John Kerry, Secretary of State, United States of America
H.E. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister for Environment and Water, United Arab Emirates

10:30 - 11:00 am

Highlights from the Working group sessions of Tuesday and Wednesday


11:00 - 11:15 am

Coffee break


11:15 - 01:00 pm

1. Ministerial / High Level Round Tables

Round Table A
Pitches for action
Including High level speakers

Round Table B
Pitches for action
Including High level speakers

2. Parallel Working groups - Session 6:

Models for governance - From top-down to bottom-up: transitioning to co-management of local fisheries
Financing mechanisms - Banking on Sustainable Fisheries and Healthy Ecosystems
Partnerships - Private Sector Partnerships for Sustainable Fisheries

01:00 - 02:30 pm

Lunch and Exhibition, Side Events


02:30 - 05:30 pm

1. Ministerial / High Level Round Tables

Round Table A

Discussion on draft outcome and Pitches for Action
Including High level speakers

Round Table B

Discussion on draft outcome and Pitches for Action
Including High level speakers

2. Parallel Working groups - Session 6:

Discussion on draft outcome and Pitches for Action

06:00 - 08:00 pm




09:30 - 10:30 am

Plenary Opening Session

Feedback high-level meetings
Feedback parallel meetings

10:30 - 11:30 pm

Presentation of draft Chair’s report

Reflection on outcomes and discussion

11:30 - 12:00 pm

Coffee break


12:30 - 02:00 pm

Presentation Chair’s report
Final remarks and closure of the Summit


2:00 pm















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