US interagency task force releases proposal for new national ocean policy
A US task force composed of representatives from multiple federal agencies has released an interim report with proposals for a comprehensive national approach to ocean policy. The plan would set up a new interagency National Ocean Council to guide a holistic, ecosystem-based approach to management, unifying what has been a piecemeal, sector-by-sector approach by US agencies toward ocean policy and development. If enacted as proposed, the policy would represent sweeping change for US ocean policy, including an embrace of marine spatial planning as a principal strategy. The plan aims to "serve as a model of [...] use, management, and conservation within the global community."
President Barack Obama established the task force in June 2009 to develop a national ocean policy. Its interim report is undergoing a 30-day public review and comment period; the comment period ends around 17 October. The report is available at www.whitehouse.gov/oceans. Public comments on the report may also be submitted on that website.
Report examines governance of transboundary resources
A new report from IUCN examines the characteristics of effective transboundary resource management, particularly through the use of ecosystem-based management. It includes case studies of the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Antarctic waters, the Benguela Current, the North Atlantic, and the Western and Central Pacific region. Common themes emerge, such as the need for a holistic approach, environmental impact assessments, and precaution. Shared Resources: Issues of Governance is available at http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/EPLP-072.pdf.
World Bank calls for ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and mitigation
Nations should include ecosystem-based approaches to mitigation and adaptation as an essential strategy in their efforts to address climate change, according to a new report from the World Bank. The report explores opportunities to benefit populations, protect natural capital (including via protected areas), and utilize green technologies to address climate-change impacts. It describes specific strategies for wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs, and ocean ecosystems. The report Convenient Solutions to an Inconvenient Truth: Ecosystem-based Approaches to Climate Change is at http://siteresources.worldbank.org/ENVIRONMENT/Resources/ESW_EcosystemBasedApp.pdf.
Paper: ocean zoning can be catalyst for ocean governance reform
A new article in the Bulletin of Marine Science proposes multiple potential benefits to come from taking a robust approach to ocean zoning, including opportunities for user groups to form long-lived institutions and a reassessment of the focus and scope of ocean regulatory institutions. The paper's authors say such benefits will lead to improved conflict resolution, efficiency of use, and ecosystem stability. The article is available for free; a link is at www.ingentaconnect.com/content/umrsmas/bullmar/pre-prints/8621.
Survey: seeking North American experience with adaptation strategies to climate change
A baseline survey is underway to assess past, current, and proposed climate change adaptation projects in North America. Conducted by EcoAdapt, a US-based NGO, the assessment focuses on coastal and marine efforts in the US, Canada, and Mexico. To participate in the survey and describe your experience with adaptation activities, go to www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=bvAhkrVsD7lzZS93_2bA_2fHRg_3d_3d. Survey responses will be gathered and presented in a synthesis report and online database.