Most of the world’s population lives by the ocean and relies on ocean resources for their livelihoods and survival. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that access to ocean resources is not guaranteed for everybody and is often inequitably distributed. Recently global discussions have been taking place with the goal of conserving 30% of the Earth’s land and sea spaces by 2030, but area-based conservation may exacerbate existing inequities. Therefore, there is a strong need to incorporate considerations of ocean equity when discussing and planning protected areas. A PECS working group (Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society), including Maraja Riechers and Antonio Castro of the SES Institute at Leuphana University, is starting in June 2022 to tackle these very concerns and provide evidence for improving ocean equity in the conservation and sustainable use of marine environments in the next three years.
The PECS working group aims to integrate the concept of relational values into considerations of ocean equity and sustainable use of marine spaces. Ocean equity is a way of distributing marine resources, associated rights, and decision-making capacities in an ethical and socially just way. This ensures that resources, benefits, and power are not monopolized by rich and powerful actors, and so that risks and harms do not disproportionately fall on the poor and vulnerable. The working group particularly aims to focus on the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, to ensure an equitable distribution of benefits and resources, and to institutionalize ocean equity for the wellbeing of all people and oceans.
The research process will draw on empirical research from members of the working group, followed by three workshops based on each research focus led by group coordinators.
The working groups aims to answer the following research questions:
- What role do
(i) diverse nature’s values (i.e., intrinsic, instrumental and relational),
(ii) empowering Indigenous People and Local Communities, and
(iii) area based management tools (e.g., MPAs, LMMAs, OECM)
play regarding ocean equity for sustainable futures?
- How can we advance ocean equity in and through
(i) transdisciplinary sustainability science,
(ii) connecting and comparing place-based social-ecological system research, and
(iii) the scaling up and beyond of local initiatives?
- What are leverage points for securing ocean equity & how are they interconnected?
Read more about the PECS working group and keep an eye out for updates on their website.