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Blue Boundaries: The Geopolitics of the Ocean Economy

Johan Bergenas
, Senior Director, Public Policy, Vulcan Inc.
Sherri Goodman, Senior Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center
Sturla Henriksen, Senior Advisor, Ocean, United Nations Global Compact
Ulf Sverdrup, Director, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)
Sally Yozel, Senior Fellow and Director of the Environmental Security Program, Stimson Center
Moderated by Erik Gierscky, Head of the Action Platform for Ocean, United Nations Global Compact
The Energy, Resources and Environment program in conjunction with the UN Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform hosted a timely discussion on how nations are increasingly turning their attention offshore in the quest for natural resources to fuel the global economy.

Panelists highlighted the importance of the ocean to human prosperity. Sturla Henriksen argued that the oceans are poorly managed, weakly governed, and barely explored. His recommendations included more global cooperation, commitments and stronger institutions.

Johan Bergenas explained that the need for ocean resources does not have to result in destructive practices if ocean issues are reimagined in the perspective of geopolitics, including conflict, migration, civil unrest, sovereignty and rule of law, and national security.

Ulf Sverdrup discussed technological advancements in areas such as deep seabed mining and marine biotechnology, which have great potential for improving environmental conditions.

Sherri Goodman pointed out the links between maritime security and climate change, which is a threat multiplier for every issue of national security. Her recommendations included stronger leadership on climate security and the development of climate predictive analytics.

Sally Yozell underlined the importance of the oceans to our daily lives, noting that 75% of the world’s population live within 100 kilometers of the coast. She advocated for properly managing ocean resources while achieving economic growth.

The event concluded with questions from the audience on topics such as the future of multilateral agreements and sustainable development goals.