Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Focus on biodiversity at UN Ocean Conference

Published: 28 July 2022
UN Ocean Conference

The deep ocean contains over 90 percent of the living space for life on Earth, and its remarkable biodiversity is critical for human well-being. While it can seem remote and unchanging, this deep-sea biodiversity faces clear and increasing threats from climate change, mining, fishing, and pollution.

The Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), which is led from the University of Southampton, organised a side-event on 28 June 2022 during the United Nations Oceans Conference in Lisbon. Entitled “Biodiversity for a Resilient Planet: A Deeper Look”, the event brought together top experts from around the world to discuss:


Delegates gather for the Conference opening ceremony
Delegates gather for the Conference opening ceremony.
  • The important benefits provided by deep-sea biodiversity
  • Current threats facing deep-sea life
  • The current state of deep-ocean policy
  • Steps we can take in policy or science to conserve deep-ocean biodiversity equitably
  • The importance of building connections between science, policy, and legal experts

To make sure deep-ocean life can keep supporting a liveable planet, it was agreed that new partnerships and policy solutions that make good use of the latest ocean science are critical. Key recommendations for action included:

Maria Baker and international colleagues from DOSI.
Maria Baker and international colleagues from DOSI.
  • Tackle and solve the climate change problem, as this is incredibly important to vulnerable states and the deep ocean.
  • The need for a robust section on capacity building in the Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) agreement.
  • Overcoming artificial divisions in ocean policy and science.
  • Building a commitment to marine scientific research including both national waters and the high seas, especially before considering extractive activities.
  • A “digital revolution” for knowledge exchange of information in the ocean.
  • Investing in people as a prelude to investing in science, especially in Small Island Developing States.
  • Generating more effective global coordination, like that pursued by the UN Decade Challenger 150 program.
  • Forming close ties between ocean scientists, lawyers, and policymakers.
Maria Baker, DOSI Executive Director, reflected on the conference.
Maria Baker, DOSI Executive Director, reflected on the conference.


"Our DOSI event was a great success in terms of attendance, feedback and new partnerships and delivered an urgent yet hopeful message to the audience. The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, opened the Conference with warnings of the emergency facing our planet.  However, there was also a real energy in and around the conference, not least exuded by the youth groups and early career ocean professionals in attendance, who clearly need to be central to these discussions and actions around deep seabed mining, fisheries, plastics, spatial management, ocean literacy – the list goes on. By the end of the conference, numerous pledges and commitments had been made by many states and organisations, including DOSI. Time will tell if these actions will be enough to halt the severe decline in ocean health."



View a recording of the event below.


Privacy Settings