Joint Ocean Commission Initiative

Joint Ocean Commission Initiative
JOCI logo.png
Type Commission
Founded 2005
Key people William D. Ruckelshaus
Norman Y. Mineta
Area served United States
Focus Ocean policy reform
Method Research
Website jointoceancommission.org

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (commonly referred to as the Joint Initiative) is a bipartisan, collaborative group in the United States that aims to "accelerate the pace of change that results in meaningful ocean policy reform."[1] The Joint initiative was established by the members of two major U.S.-based oceans commissions: the Pew Oceans Commission and the United States Commission on Ocean Policy. It was originally co-chaired by former White House Chief of Staff Leon E. Panetta and former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James D. Watkins (U.S. Navy, Ret.), chairs of the Pew and U.S. Ocean Commissions, respectively. Currently, the Joint Initiative is led by a Leadership Council, which is co-chaired by the Honorable William D. Ruckelshaus, former EPA Administrator, and the Honorable Norman Y. Mineta, Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton and Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush.

The Joint Initiative Leadership Council members include leaders from prominent universities and environmental groups, scientists, national security leaders and representatives from a variety of ocean industries including fisheries, the oil and gas industry, and shipping. The Joint Initiative works with networks of people involved in national, regional, state and local ocean policy issues from all fields, including scientists, industry representatives, advocacy groups and policy makers. The Joint Initiative, its members, and its publications are offered as resources to policy makers at all levels of government who are interested in pursuing ocean policy reforms consistent with the Commissions' recommendations.

Contents

Background and history

The Ocean Commissions

Pursuant to the Oceans Act of 2000, President George W. Bush established the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, chaired by Admiral James D. Watkins. The 16-member commission presented recommendations for a new and comprehensive national ocean policy. Their final report, An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century[2], was released in 2004.

Concurrently, the Pew Charitable Trusts established the Pew Oceans Commission, led by the Honorable Leon Panetta. The 18-member group presented its recommendations on ocean policy reform in their 2003 report, America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change[3].

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative: 2005-2010

The reports of the US Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission contained strikingly similar recommendations. To further their overlapping and complementary recommendations and to unify their efforts, the members of the two Commissions came together in 2005 as the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. Meridian Institute has served as the secretariat of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative throughout its existence.

From 2005 to 2010, the Joint Initiative Commissioners continually provided assistance to policymakers at all levels of government — federal, state, and local — as well as to leaders in the nongovernmental, academic, and private sectors. The commissioners were dedicated to moving the U.S. toward a better coordinated national ocean policy, with an improved governance framework and enhanced management tools to carry out that policy. The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative focused its efforts in seven priority areas: national ocean policy reform; regional and state ocean leadership; international ocean leadership; ocean science, research, and education; fisheries management reform; new funding; and oceans and climate change.

To advance these priorities, members of the Joint Initiative were regularly called on as experts to advise Congress and other political leaders and appeared as key witnesses at numerous hearings on ocean policy[4]. The Joint Initiative also served as an resource for expertise on ocean issues to the media and other ocean groups. Joint Initiative leaders authored or were cited in numerous articles and stories about its work have appeared in major national newspapers and media markets around the country[5]. Commissioners aided the Joint Initiative through their independent work concerning ocean and coastal issues and through maintaining a high profile in the ocean community.

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council: 2010

In June 2010, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative announced new leadership that would focus specifically on promoting the establishment and effective implementation of a comprehensive U.S. national ocean policy.

The bipartisan Joint Initiative Leadership Council is co-chaired by The Honorable William Ruckelshaus and The Honorable Norman Mineta. Former Joint Initiative co-chairs Leon Panetta and Admiral James Watkins, U.S. Navy (Retired) act as co-chairs emeritus. Members of the Joint Initiative Leadership Council include:

Co-chairs

  • William Ruckelshaus – Strategic Director, Madrona Venture Group, former EPA Administrator
  • Norman Mineta – Vice Chairman, Hill and Knowlton, Inc., former Secretary of Transportation and former Secretary of Commerce

Members

  • Samuel Bodman – Former Secretary of Energy
  • Lillian Borrone – Former Assistant Executive Director, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Vice Admiral Paul Gaffney II (U.S. Navy, Ret.) – President, Monmouth University
  • Robert Gagosian – President, Consortium for Ocean Leadership
  • Sherri Goodman – Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of CNA[clarification needed]
  • Scott Gudes – Vice President of Legislative Affairs for Space Systems and Operations, Lockheed
  • Denis Hayes – President and CEO, Bullitt Foundation
  • Paul Kelly – Energy consultant, former Senior Vice President of Rowan Companies, Inc.
  • Julie Packard – Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • John Podesta – President and CEO, Center for American Progress, former White House Chief of Staff
  • Pietro Parravano – President, Institute for Fisheries
  • Diane Regas – Vice President for Oceans, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Andrew Rosenberg – Senior Vice President for Science and Knowledge, Conservation International
  • Patten White – Commissioner, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

Key national ocean policy developments

On July 19, 2010 President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. The Executive Order directed federal agencies to adopt and implement the Final Recommendations of the White House Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, a body established by President Obama in June 2009 to make recommendations about U.S. ocean policy. The Task Force recommendations called for the establishment of a national ocean policy with a strong federal coordinating structure and an effective framework for implementation based on coastal and marine spatial planning, all to be overseen by an Interagency National Ocean Council. The new national ocean policy represented the realization of one of the key recommendations urged by the US Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission and championed by the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.

The Joint Initiative looking forward

The national ocean policy and the associated coordinating structure will require adequate funding for implementation. The Joint Initiative continues to focus on the issue of sustained funding for the national ocean policy as the National Ocean Council begins its work. By building on prior work of the Joint Initiative, the new Joint Initiative Leadership Council is working to ensure that the national ocean policy will adequately protect, maintain, and restore the environmental and economic health of our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. Despite its narrowed focus, the Joint Initiative continues to view each of the seven policy priorities as an integral part of reforming ocean and coastal policy, improving ocean health, and bolstering the ocean economy for all citizens of the United States. All seven of the policy priorities are incorporated in the work of the Leadership Council to promote effective and comprehensive national ocean policy.

Reports and publications

Changing Oceans Changing World

In April 2009, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released an urgent set of recommendations, Changing Oceans, Changing World: Ocean Priorities for the Administration and Congress[6]. The recommendations incorporated input from leaders at some of the most respected and influential ocean and coastal policy and science organizations in the country. The Joint Initiative identified specific actions the Obama Administration and Congress should take within two to four years to improve ocean and coastal policy, management, science and funding, emphasizing their contributions toward addressing pressing national challenges of climate change, energy security and reviving the economy.

The report emphasized that the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, and increased coastal flooding and erosion accompanying more intense storms, threaten private and public infrastructure and ecosystems, and will lead to decreased revenue from coastal industries and generate staggering costs for recovery efforts. In April 2009, economic activity in coastal watershed counties, where well over half the nation’s population resides, contributed approximately 68 percent, or $7.8 trillion, of the nation’s GDP. Ocean-dependent industries such as fishing, shipping and offshore energy generated approximately $138 billion for the United States each year, which was 2.5 times more than the agriculture industry. These contributions are in jeopardy as climate change impacts along our coasts become more prevalent.

The Joint Initiative’s recommendations in Changing Oceans Changing World included specific directives to establish a national ocean policy, strengthen the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act, integrate ocean science into broader climate change, energy and economic initiatives, and renew the nation’s leadership in international ocean policy. The Joint Initiative explained that these actions would require increased funding for ocean science, management and education, and would have widespread benefits. The report identified the following policy priorities and specific actions for the President and Congress to take:

1. Improving Ocean and Coastal Policy and Management

  • The Administration and Congress should establish a national ocean policy.
  • Congress should codify and strengthen the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to enhance its mission, improve its structure.
  • The Administration and Congress should support regional, ecosystem-based approaches to the management of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes
  • Congress should strengthen and reauthorize the Coastal Zone Management Act.
  • Congress should strengthen the Clean Water Act.
  • The Administration should support expedited implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, with Congress ensuring that NOAA has the necessary funding to implement the Act.
  • The Administration and Congress should actively encourage the use of innovative, science-based approaches that take into account important ecosystem dynamics that affect the health of our nation’s marine ecosystems as a whole and, in particular, its fisheries.

2. Bolstering International Leadership

  • The United States Senate should provide its advice and consent to U.S. accession to the Convention on the Law of the Sea by the end of 2009.
  • The Administration should work to ensure that the Arctic Ocean is managed in a comprehensive, integrated, and science-based manner.
  • The Administration should implement a strong scientific research program in the Arctic.
  • The Administration should fully implement the illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act
  • The Administration and Congress should support ongoing U.S. efforts in the World Trade Organization negotiations calling for an end to fishing subsidies that promote overcapitalization and global depletion of fish stocks.

3. Strengthening Ocean Science

  • The Administration should strengthen and Congress should codify, where appropriate, the federal ocean science governance regime.
  • The Administration and Congress should enhance the integration of ocean and coastal science into the broader climate initiative.
  • The Administration and Congress should secure the availability of ocean-related information, products, and services critical to the operations of key sectors of the U.S. economy.
  • The Committee on Ocean Policy and the Office of Science and Technology Policy should take the lead in developing a comprehensive strategy to guide marine-related, ecosystem-focused research, assessment, and management.
  • The Administration should initiate an effort among governmental, academic, and private stakeholders engaged in ocean science to prioritize competing demands within the ocean and coastal science community.

4. Funding Ocean and Coastal Policies and Programs

  • The Administration and Congress should establish an Ocean Investment Fund, using resource rents generated by private commercial activities in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • A portion of any funds generated by the sale of carbon credits pursuant to a cap and trade or tax system should be dedicated to protecting, maintaining, and restoring ocean and coastal ecosystems, as well as promoting greater scientific understanding of the relationship between the oceans and climate change.
  • The Administration should develop an integrated federal coastal and ocean budget.

One Coast One Future

In January 2009, the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released its much anticipated report, One Coast, One Future: Securing the Health of West Coast Ecosystems and Economies[7]. The report, requested by 19 elected officials from California, Oregon and Washington State, offers guidance to local, state and federal leaders on how to improve the health of coastal ecosystems and the economies that depend on them through integrated decision making. One Coast, One Future offers specific and immediate ways that local and state West Coast leaders can collaborate to implement a coordinated and more productive approach to managing the coast, as well as ways state legislatures and the federal government can support their efforts. The report urges these leaders to adapt and prepare for climate change impacts through an ecosystem-based approach that recognizes the interconnections among marine life, climate, local economies and the quality of human life. The report also acknowledges that many local West Coast communities currently face alternative energy proposals, and suggests ways that they can work with other communities, government agencies and developers to implement effective solutions to these pressing energy challenges. Recommendations in the report include the following:

  • Identify a coordination area and engage stakeholders in setting goals.
  • Understand and monitor ecosystem health.
  • Establish coordinating mechanisms to bring together all interested parties.
  • Make the land-sea connection.
  • Collect and integrate locally-relevant information to better inform decision -making.
  • Support integrated, ecosystem-based approaches, particularly at the local level.
  • Consider marine spatial planning.
  • Plan for climate change impacts at all levels of government.
  • Maintain or enhance funding for core coastal and ocean programs.
  • Send a clear message to Congress and the administration to fund and implement ocean protection measures.
  • Creatively consolidate or reallocate existing resources to take full advantage of funding sources.
  • Establish public-private partnerships for funding and in-kind resources.

From Sea to Shining Sea

In June 2006 the Joint Initiative released a national ocean policy action plan for Congress, From Sea to Shining Sea: Priorities for Ocean Policy Reform[8]. The plan was created at the request of ten prominent U.S. Senators to provide a guide for legislative and funding priorities.

The action plan responds to the Senators’ request to identify the most urgent priorities for congressional action to implement the two Commissions’ recommendations. The plan outlines ten steps Congress should take to address the most pressing challenges, the highest funding priorities, and the most important changes to federal laws and the budget process to establish a more effective and integrated ocean policy. The report identified the following priorities:

  • Adopting a statement of national ocean policy that acknowledges in legislation the importance of oceans to the nation’s economic and ecological health and establishes a framework for all other ocean legislation.
  • Establishing a strengthened National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in law and working with the Bush Administration to improve federal agency coordination on ocean and coastal issues;
  • Enacting legislation to create incentives for ecosystem-based management that builds upon existing and emerging regional efforts to involve federal, state, tribal, and local governments, as well as the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions;
  • Reauthorizing an improved Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that relies more strongly on science to guide management actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of U.S. fisheries;
  • Enacting ocean and coastal bills that have made significant progress through the legislative process in the 109th United States Congress;
  • Incorporating ocean-related science and education into the new national innovation and competitiveness initiative, capitalizing on the growing economic potential associated with our oceans and the attraction they hold for students;
  • Enacting legislation to authorize and fund the Integrated Ocean Observing System;
  • Acceding to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, allowing the U.S. to share its expertise, capitalize on economic opportunities, and protect is sovereign interests;
  • Establishing an Ocean Trust Fund in the U.S. Treasury as a dedicated source of funds for improved management and understanding of ocean and coastal resources by the federal and state governments; and
  • Securing additional funding to support management, science, and education programs that are the foundation of robust national ocean policy.

U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card

The Joint Initiative released a U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card for 2005, 2006, and 2007 which monitored the nation’s collective progress toward fulfilling the recommendations of the two Commissions’ reports and advancing ocean policy reform[9][10][11]. The report card assessed progress over the year and provided specific recommendations about how to improve each categorical grade. There were seven subjects featured on the 2007 report card: national ocean governance reform; regional and state ocean governance reform; international leadership; research, science, and education; fisheries management reform; new funding for ocean policy and programs; and links between oceans and climate change.

It is a continuing priority of the Joint Initiative Leadership Council to provide an assessment of U.S. ocean policy through 2010 and 2011.

References

External links


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