The Ocean and Us

Ecosystems for People

This will require: • A leadership role by an international organization • An international strategy that gives countries a supportive framework for conducting the necessary scientific research and taking policy action • National policies that translate an international framework into local action, and respond to the specific context of local development goals andmarine and coastal ecosystems • Coordinated data collection and local level training to ensure capacity for future data collection and monitoring, supported by a steady stream of funding to enable monitoring of progress and effective, targeted and informed decision-making. There is a growing recognition among world and local leaders that ecosystems are indeed our shared factory. Marine and coastal ecosystems in particular are being counted on to produce many of the essential goods and services that will fuel the new blue economy and help us achieve the SDGs. Moving forward, there is a need for reliable, objective and widely available data. Only then can we harness this powerful, sustainable and global natural factory to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals we have set for the people of this planet.

The dynamic relationship between humans and marine and coastal ecosystem services demands constant monitoring and assessment in order to measure progress towards the SDGs and the ecological conditions required for their achievement. It is therefore important that baseline measures of marine and coastal ecosystem services include ecological and human measures that can be reassessed on a regular basis. From Data and Discovery to Leadership and Implementation To achieve the SDGs, we must continue to work to integrate marine and coastal ecosystem services into decision-making and marine management on a local, but regionally integrated, platform. A deeper understanding of human-ecosystem interactions is a first step to developing connections between marine and coastal ecosystem services and to policy-making. As highlighted earlier, stakeholders must be identified, and policy and technical experts must work together to adopt a shared terminology and develop assessments that fit specific policy needs. To fully harness the power of marine and coastal ecosystem services to meet the SDGs, it is crucial to continue to develop international strategies that can be implemented at a local (sub-national) level in order to collect baseline data and to implement monitoring of a key set of ecological and human indicators.

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