Our oceans strand of work is part of the wider Gulbenkian Oceans Initiative (GOI) launched by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon in 2013.
The GOI is concerned with the economic valuation of marine ecosystem services and centres on a specific pilot study in Portugal. It will also facilitate a range of initiatives to increase public understanding and promote policy action in Portugal and beyond.
The GOI mission states that:
Our oceans need to be in better shape if they are to make enhanced and sustainable contributions to our wellbeing and economies, and for this we not only need to understand their real value, but to look at their protection and restoration not only as a cost but as an investment.
A special contribution of the UK Branch will be to host a marine 'laboratory' with a small number of NGOs keen to explore how we may better communicate the role of the ocean in human wellbeing and so increase the environmental sector's capacity to influence how we share and manage the ocean's resources in the best interests of society for the long term.
Earlier in the year, we launched a call for expressions of interest from organisations interested in becoming members of the laboratory. We have now selected organisations to form the lab and we will host its first meeting in early 2015.
We are already supporting some strategic partnerships and projects which show significant potential to increase the capacity of the sector to collaborate and/or communicate the value of the ocean in human wellbeing. These will help to inform our thinking as the LAB gets underway.
Summary of supported projects
Ocean Friendly Design Forum: Supporting Common Seas with a new cross-secotoral expert forum to develop ocean-friendly design standards and 'design out' plastics from the marine environment, inspiring innovation and collaboration initially through a study trip to the North East Atlantic gyre to experience an 'ocean dump' first-hand.
We will work with Forum for the Future to create a sustainable development framework for the North Sea, which identifies the key boundaries and conditions for a sustainable North Sea to 2050.
We will work with the Marine Conservation Society to adapt and trial the 'Community Voice Method' in the UK in order to secure effective stakeholder engagement in decision-making on management of our marine spaces.
Fisheries Employment Model: Helping the New Economics Foundation in driving change towards fairer and more sustainable management of marine resources and strengthening the work of the marine conservation sector through the generation of new evidence, the reframing of conservation issues, and the provision of socio-economic training and tools.
North Sea Marine Cluster: Research into business solutions for the management of marine protected areas.
The Future of the Ocean Economy: Supporting the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to conduct a global forward-looking assessment of the ocean economy to 2030 and beyond, with particular emphasis on the development potential of emerging ocean-based industries.