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PML proud contributor to the Ocean Breakthroughs

11 October 2023

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

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On the occasion of the IUCN Leaders Forum and in the run-up to COP28, the ocean community including Plymouth Marine Laboratory, united under the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, with the support of the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, launches the Ocean Breakthroughs. PML’s Dr Matt Frost, Head of PML’s International Office, has contributed to the development of these as a Science Advisor. 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. 

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 identifies 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 recognised 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. 

For more information about the Ocean Breakthroughs, visit their webpage

The first organisations to support the Ocean Breakthroughs - in their respective fields - are: 

  • Conservation International 

  • Cordio East Africa 

  • Global Ocean Trust 

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 

  • Ocean Conservancy 

  • Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA) 

  • Ørsted 

  • Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) 

  • United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) 

  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) 

If your organisation 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 High-Level Climate 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 mobilisation of non-state actors and their collaboration with Parties to the UNFCCC. 

“Ocean and coastal zones” is one of the priority themes of the MP-GCA, among 7 others (Energy, Human settlements, Industry, Land Use, Ocean and Coastal Zones, Transport and Water). The MP-GCA Ocean & Coastal Zones brings together 120 organisations - including NGOs, business and industry, indigenous populations, research and academic institutes, international organisations - to raise ambition and accelerate ocean-based climate solutions. 

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