The ocean faces unprecedented threats to the ecosystem goods and services it provide to humanity, from climate regulation to food security to energy resources. Despite some progress, many ocean challenges, from nutrient pollution to illegal, unregulated and unreported IUU fishing to ocean acidification, continue worsen.
SDG 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, sets forth a very ambitious agenda for oceans restoration and protection. For most sectors that use and impact on the ocean, 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.
A combination of technical innovation and cutting-edge policy, financial and economic incentives are needed to transform ocean-related sectors, both sea-based and land-based. At present, while there are a handful of relevant initiatives, these are limited in their sectoral scope. Solutions are required that cut across the unique innovation needs of each SDG14 target, whether it be reduction of plastics pollution, eliminating overfishing, or enhancing access for small scale fishers. The OIC seeks to identify and provide support to scale-up these solutions.
What are some examples of the types of innovative initiatives that could be funded?
The OIC's first Ocean Challenge focuses on SDG14.1, Ocean pollution, with a strong focus on nutrients and plastics from land-based sources (such as agriculture, wastewater and poorly managed solid waste) while recognizing that ocean-based sources are also important sources for some types of plastics pollution (such as abandoned/lost fishing nets).
While by no means exhaustive, some general examples of the types of innovations that could be considered include:
- Design, manufacturing, supply chain and other innovations that serve to reduce plastics utilization and/or enhance plastics recovery, recycling and re-use
- Design and manufacturing of truly biodegradable substitutes for plastics
- Design of recyclable plastic resins that can replace non-recyclable resins in similar products
- Introduction of plastics waste collection, recycling and re-use programmes in developing country municipalities including mechanisms for full cost recovery (such as container deposit laws)
- Financial, policy, regulatory or other incentives that minimize loss of fishing nets and optimize their recovery for re-use or recycling
- Economic, policy, regulatory and other measures/incentives to minimize or eliminate use of unnecessary single use plastic items
- Innovations in fertilizer design, manufacture and/or application that minimize fertilizer nitrogen loss from fields and maximize uptake by crops;
- Introduction of market-based instruments that promote more efficient fertilizer use in watersheds/coastal areas facing nutrient pollution (tradeable emission permits, pollution taxes, etc.)
- Testing policy, regulatory and/or economic incentives that promote safe collection, recovery and re-use of nutrients from municipal and/or agricultural wastewater.
- Piloting of scalable 'non-traditional' wastewater collection and/or treatment approaches such as local wastewater source separation for safe collection and re-use of nutrients, etc.
Who can apply?
Proposals can be submitted by
- Private entities (including start-ups)
- Academic institutions
- United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations
Applications are accepted in English, French and Spanish.
Illustration Photo: A tri-dimensional waster water at Nyarugenge Prison treats, recycles and re-uses the waste water generated from the prison, helping to protect the surrounding environment. The resulting effluent is used for irrigation of the Community Sanitation Garden (CSG) to improve agricultural productivity of the prison in dry and rainy seasons. (credits: LVEMP II Rwanda / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))