Photo: iStock.com/RainervonBrandis

New York, Jan 8 - The momentum on ocean protection and restoration has rapidly accelerated particularly since the 2017 Ocean Conference. However, a number of the SDG 14- Life Below Water targets still lag behind.  Between overfishing, pollution, habitat loss and the multiple impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems, the ocean has never faced such a diverse range of threats.

UNDP launches a new call to action— Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) to accelerate progress on SDG 14 targets. The OIC seeks innovations that are transferable, replicable and scalable. The Challenge grants range from $50,000 to $250,000.

Recognizing the increasing urgency of tackling ocean pollution, particularly from plastics and nutrients, the first of several planned OICs focuses on SDG 14.1- Reduce Marine Pollution.

 “At a time when the world’s oceans and seas face unprecedented pressures, UNDP’s new Ocean Innovation Challenge will shine a light on innovative, entrepreneurial and creative approaches that can advance ocean and coastal restoration and protection,” says Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator.

“Supporting the blue economy in this way can help us achieve SDG 14— while spurring economic development and helping to reduce poverty and inequality.”

From fisheries to aquaculture to industrial agriculture, the 'business as usual' scenario will not deliver the kinds of transformational change needed to move towards truly sustainable ocean use.

“With four of SDG14’s ten targets maturing in 2020, we have a critical year ahead for the well-being of the Ocean. Thus the UN Ocean Conference, to be held 2-6 June 2020 in Lisbon, will have special importance in supporting the implementation of SDG14,” says Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Oceans.

“To achieve SDG14, we must break new ground with innovative technologies, policies, regulations and financial instruments. In this regard, the new UNDP Ocean Innovation Challenge is a most welcome addition to the growing number of ocean incubators and accelerators.”

For interested parties to take part in the Ocean Innovation Challenge:

·        The innovations to be submitted can include technological as well as cutting edge policy, regulatory, financial, economic or other actions that address either sea-based or land-based sectors.

·        Initial concepts can be submitted by public or private entities, including governments, private companies (including start-ups), NGO/CSO, United Nations entities, academic institutions, and intergovernmental organizations.

·        The Challenge must be implemented in and benefit stakeholders in developing countries, but may be submitted by developing or developed country proponents.

For more information and to submit a preliminary concept, see the Ocean Innovation Challenge website at www.oceaninnovationchallenge.org .

About UNDP

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.undp.org.

For more information: Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP, email: sangita.khadka@undp.org; Tel: +1 212 906 5043

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