01 November 2018
In October Indonesia hosted the 5th Our Ocean conference, focused on generating commitments and taking actions to maintain the sustainability of our global marine environment.

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Blue Communities Research Programme pledged its commitment at this conference, to support and build research capacity in marine planning in SE Asia and ultimately help improve the overall wellbeing of the region’s coastal communities.

Through the collaborative work of three world-class UK research organisations (Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Exeter and University of Plymouth), leading research partners in SE Asia (University of Malaya, Western Philippines University, Universitas Nasional, Hanoi National University of Education) and key supporting organisations promoting the sustainable use of marine resource around the globe (North Devon Biosphere Reserve, Blue Ventures, International Pole & Line Foundation), the Blue Communities team are working closely together across a wide range of topics, including ecosystem valuation, health and well-being analysis, ecosystem modelling, policy and management assessments, Earth observation and marine renewable energy.

Overall 287 commitments were registered at the Our Ocean conference, worth over US$10 billion, making a total of 663 commitments being pledged over the five conferences. The commitments demonstrate the dedication of organisations across the globe to ensure the sustainability and health of our marine environment for the future. Since 2014, 206 commitments have been fulfilled.

The ocean commitment through the GCRF Blue Communities Research Programme was announced on behalf of the programme by Meghan Jeans, Program Director of the Ocean Foundation:

“The marine environment is under immense pressure from the multiple, and often conflicting, needs of the people that use it. In Southeast Asia, where marine activities are important contributors to GDP, marine spatial planning involving coordinated decision-making has been highlighted as a key requirement for a sustainable future.

We announce that, through academic-stakeholder collaborations, community co-creation and co-delivery, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (lead) is working with partners to deliver the £6.7million Blue Communities project by September 2021 through UK Government Global Challenges Research Funding.

Blue Communities will support development, implementation and ongoing management of initiatives promoting sustainable use of marine resources by multiple users, whilst protecting the fragile marine ecosystems and supporting the livelihoods food security, health and well-being of the people in these coastal communities. A lasting legacy for the benefit of coastal communities in the target regions, including 3 regional UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserves and a Marine Protected Area, scientific partners in SE Asia and the UK.”