Ocean policies

Explore OECD’s Policies in practice, demonstrating real-world ocean policy action. Search for examples from all over the globe extracted from OECD’s cross-cutting ocean-related publications, including marine biodiversity and ecosystem services, coastal adaptation and resilience, fisheries and aquaculture, marine plastics pollution and sustainable ocean finance.

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All policies in practice

39 documents available

Provincial regulations in Canada aim to limit diffuse pollution from agriculture.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Nitrogen, Regulation, Eutrophication, Water quality, Subnational
  • Zero hunger
    Clean water and sanitation
    Life below water

The BACoMaB endowment fund finances the conservation of the Banc d’Arguin National Park and other Mauritanian coastal and marine areas.

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  • Theme: Finance, Biodiversity
  • Tags: Marine protected area, Payments for ecosystem services, Fund
  • Life below water
    Partnerships for the goals

Chumbe Island Coral Park was designated a protected area following investment from a private entity.

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  • Theme: Finance, Biodiversity
  • Tags: Partnership, Marine protected area
  • Life below water

Closed Loop Partners have developed a fund to support bankable recycling schemes in South East Asia.

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  • Theme: Pollution, Finance
  • Tags: Plastic, Fund
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

Reducing nitrogen pollution to improve water quality can also help attain climate targets

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  • Theme: Pollution, Climate change
  • Tags: Nitrogen, Regulation, Water quality
  • Zero hunger
    Clean water and sanitation
    Climate action
    Life below water

Trust funds in Mexico and Belize help finance marine protected areas (MPAs).

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  • Theme: Finance, Biodiversity
  • Tags: Fund, Marine protected area
  • Life below water

Some countries apply deposit refund schemes (DRS) to incentivise consumers to recycle plastic beverage bottles.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Plastic, Circular economy, Extended producer responsibility
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

Some countries are developing early warning systems as part of their adaptation strategies.

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  • Theme: Climate change
  • Tags: Communication, Planning, Climate resilience
  • Good health and well-being
    Climate action
    Life below water

Environmental Product Declarations exist in some OECD countries to help inform consumers about potential environmental or health impacts of a product.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Plastic, Labels, Certificates, Information systems
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

European Union (EU) legislation supports marine spatial planning (MSP) to balance the maritime economy while protecting biodiversity.

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  • Theme: Biodiversity
  • Tags: Regulation, Marine protected area, Spacial planning
  • Life below water

The EU Nitrates Directive (1991) aims to protect water quality across Europe.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Nitrogen, Eutrophication, Regulation, Water quality
  • Zero hunger
    Clean water and sanitation
    Life below water

Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes can help fund waste management and material recovery activities.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Plastic, Extended producer responsibility
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

Belgium and the Netherlands factor uncertainty into planning and regulation for sea-level rise.

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  • Theme: Climate change
  • Tags: Sea-level rise, Regulation, Planning, Climate resilience
  • Industries, innovation and infrastructures
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

Fisheries subsidies in Mexico can increase profit marhins of fishing activities but also create market distortions.

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  • Theme: Finance, Biodiversity, Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Tags: Subsidies, Marine protected area
  • Life below water

The United Kingdom introduced a “partnership” arrangement that shares costs for flood and coastal protection between the local and national levels of government.

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  • Theme: Finance, Climate change
  • Tags: Sea-level rise, Infrastructure, Partnership, Climate resilience
  • Industries, innovation and infrastructures
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

New Zealand provides guidance to help local governments adapt to the risks from climate change and sea-level rise.

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  • Theme: Climate change
  • Tags: Subnational, Sea-level rise, Climate resilience
  • Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

Some cities are using building codes and design standards to address sea-level rise (SLR).

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  • Theme: Climate change
  • Tags: Sea-level rise, Subnational, Standards, Infrastructure, Climate resilience
  • Industries, innovation and infrastructures
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

Examples from the United Kingdom and the United States show how public insurance schemes can be established for flood damages.

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  • Theme: Finance, Climate change
  • Tags: Sea-level rise, Insurance, Climate resilience
  • Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

Investment is needed, particularly in developing countries, to help improve municipal solid waste management.

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  • Theme: Pollution, Development co-operation
  • Tags: Plastic, Infrastructure, Investment, Official development assistance
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is advised on management issues about the Marine Park at a local level by voluntary community-based marine advisory committees.

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  • Theme: Biodiversity
  • Tags: Stakeholder engagement, Subnational, Marine protected area
  • Life below water

Use of Impact-Pathway Analysis (IPA) in the Chesapeake Bay region, United States, helps manage ocean dead zones.

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  • Theme: Pollution, Climate change
  • Tags: Eutrophication, Acidification, Nitrogen, Modelling, Subnational
  • Zero hunger
    Climate action
    Life below water

Marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Medes Islands demonstrate the need for effective management beyond the boundaries of the protected area.

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  • Theme: Biodiversity, Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Tags: Marine protected area
  • Life below water

Norway uses marine spatial planning (MSP) to integrate its major ocean economy activities with nature conservation.

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  • Theme: Biodiversity
  • Tags: Marine protected area, Spatial planning
  • Life below water

Some countries have banned the use of microbeads in cosmetics.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Plastic, Microplastic, Regulation
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

Modelling helps predict the occurrence of multiple pharmaceuticals in Swedish surface waters and their release to the Baltic Sea.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Modelling, Water quality
  • Clean water and sanitation
    Life below water

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programmes focussed on marine and coastal ecosystems are systems where those who benefit make payments to incentivise higher ecosystem service provision.

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  • Theme: Finance, Biodiversity
  • Tags: Payments for ecosystem services, Marine protected area
  • Life below water

In Flanders, Belgium, organisers of events will no longer be allowed to offer disposable beverage cups unless over 90% can be recycled.

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  • Theme: Pollution, Finance
  • Tags: Single-use plastics, Plastic, Regulation
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

Property risk disclosure can help buyers make informed decisions about a home's risks from sea-level rise.

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  • Theme: Finance, Climate change
  • Tags: Sea-level rise, Insurance, Subnational, Climate resilience
  • Industries, innovation and infrastructures
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

An Amsterdam-based NGO has released smartphone apps to help consumers make informed decisions about their purchases.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Plastic, Microplastic
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

Landowners were engaged in discussions to help a community adapt to sea-level rise.

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  • Theme: Climate change
  • Tags: Stakeholder engagement, Planning, Subnational
  • Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

Strengthening secondary plastics markets would increase incentives for separate collection and treatment of plastic waste and reduce unwanted leakage.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Plastic, Extended producer responsibility
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

The United Kingdom and Ireland provide examples of taxes on single-use plastic bags.

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  • Theme: Pollution, Finance
  • Tags: Plastic, Single-use plastics, Tax
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

A regional governance model uses a collaborative approach to water management.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Stakeholder engagement, Water quality, Subnational
  • Zero hunger
    Clean water and sanitation
    Life below water

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Fund pools funding from multiple countries supporting conservation, restoration and sustainable use of the reef.

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  • Theme: Finance, Biodiversity
  • Tags: Fund, Marine protected area
  • Sustainable cities and communities
    Life below water

Flood Re was created to support the private insurance industry and encourage the affordability of flood insurance for policyholders.

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  • Theme: Finance, Climate change
  • Tags: Sea-level rise, Insurance, Climate resilience
  • Industries, innovation and infrastructures
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

Germany applies a climate change safety margin for infrastructure.

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  • Theme: Climate change
  • Tags: Sea-level rise, Standards, Infrastructure, Climate resilience, Planning
  • Industries, innovation and infrastructures
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Climate action
    Life below water

Some marine protected areas (MPAs) have been mostly or entirely financed by user fees.

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  • Theme: Finance, Biodiversity
  • Tags: User fees, Marine protected area
  • Life below water

Voluntary and mandatory waste separation labels exist to help guide consumers in sorting waste.

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  • Theme: Pollution
  • Tags: Plastic, Labels, Certificates, Information systems
  • Responsible consumption and production
    Life below water

The Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Protection Plan combines marine and terrestrial spatial conservation planning to better manage the impacts of pollution on the world's largest coral reef.

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  • Theme: Biodiversity, Fisheries and aquaculture, Pollution
  • Tags: Marine protected area, Spatial planning, Nitrogen, Water quality
  • Life below water