Launch of the Ocean Breakthroughs: 5 pathways to catalyze action to achieve a healthy and productive ocean

On the occasion of the IUCN Leaders Forum and in the run-up to COP28, the ocean community, united under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, with the support of the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, launches the Ocean Breakthroughs. The Ocean Breakthroughs are transformative pathways covering five key ocean sectors, where accelerated action and investments could deliver up to 35 percent GHG emissions reduction and contribute to a resilient, nature-positive and net zero future by 2050. By Climate Champions | October 11, 2023

Resulting from the joint efforts of the Ocean & Coastal Zones community under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, and building on the Ocean for Climate Declaration, the Ocean Breakthroughs identify five turning points to reach by 2030 to achieve a healthy and productive ocean in 2050. They are articulated around five key ocean sectors: marine conservation, ocean renewable energy, shipping, aquatic food, and coastal tourism. Accelerated action and investments in each will help unlock the potential of the ocean as a source of solutions to the pressing challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss.

The scientific evidence is clear: as a major climate regulator and the largest living space on Earth, the ocean is instrumental to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Global Biodiversity Framework. The Ocean Breakthroughs are science-based targets designed to boost mitigation and adaptation efforts, for the benefit of People and Nature. They will contribute to delivering on the global campaigns led by the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, namely the Race to Resilience and Race to Zero, and their respective action agendas: the Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda and the 2030 Breakthroughs.

“In the vast expanse of our ocean lies the potential for a brighter, more resilient and nature-rich world. Today, at the IUCN Leaders Forum, I am honoured to introduce the Ocean Breakthroughs — a science-aligned blueprint which will see five pivotal sectors converge to make over a third of the emissions cuts we so greatly need. Let’s dive deep and unite in purpose for the world we hold dear.” H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, UN High-Level Climate Champion for COP 28

With this set of sectoral pathways, the Marrakech Partnership on Ocean & Coastal Zones outlines a roadmap for transformative and ambitious action at the scale of entire systems. In addition, the Ocean Breakthroughs will act as a compass, not only for non-State actors (NSA) but also for Governments. Indeed, they are rooted in the “Blue Ambition Loop” which demonstrates how strong leadership from NSA can positively influence governments and drive more ambitious public policies.

Ultimately, the Ocean Breakthroughs aim at informing the Global Stocktake to ensure the potential of ocean-based climate solutions is well recognized in the outcomes of the process to resume at COP28. Building on a whole-of-society approach, it must be all hands on deck to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and safeguard our Blue Planet.

discover the ocean breakthroughs

The Ocean Breakthroughs are supported by the following organizations in their respective fields:

  • Conservation International
  • Cordio East Africa
  • Global Ocean Trust
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Ocean & Climate Platform
  • Ocean Conservancy
  • Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA)
  • Ørsted
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)
  • United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
  • World Resources Institute (WRI)

If your organization is interested in supporting the Ocean Breakthroughs ahead of COP28, please contact:

About the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action:

Under the leadership of the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions (HLC), the MP-GCA acts as a framework to raise ambition and help accelerate the pace and scale of climate action. It especially aims at strengthening and nurturing the mobilization of NSAs and their collaboration with Parties to the UNFCCC.

“Ocean and coastal zones” is one of the priority themes of the MP-GCA, among seven others (Energy, Human settlements, Industry, Land Use, Ocean and Coastal Zones, Transport and Water). The MP-GCA Ocean & Coastal Zones brings together 120 organizations – including NGOs, business and industry, Indigenous populations, research and academic institutes, international organisations – to raise ambition and accelerate ocean-based climate solutions.



A community’s fight for resilience: Saving Sri Lanka’s vulnerable marine ecosystems

As part of a new series to support the Ocean Breakthroughs, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions and the Edges of Earth expedition explore how a community is adapting to and combating the impacts of climate change in the capital of Sri Lanka. The Edges of Earth team had the opportunity to spend two weeks living alongside Hafsa Jamel (pictured), learning about their work supporting local nature-based solutions that aim to mitigate climate challenges in their home country.


A global coalition forging coral reef resilience

In April 2024, NOAA and ICRI scientists confirmed the fourth global coral bleaching event, highlighting the escalating impacts of climate change on coral reefs. This has spurred initiatives like the Coral Reef Breakthrough and the Global Fund for Coral Reefs to enhance protection, double effective conservation areas, and mobilize significant funding for restoration efforts.