On UN World Oceans Day, the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) are delighted to announce the launch of the Ocean and Human Rights Platform, a collaborative initiative to raise awareness of and mitigate human rights risks across ocean industries. The Ocean Platform will strive, with global partners, to embed respect for human rights through more inclusive dialogue, advocacy for stronger policies and support for better practices across key aspects of the blue economy.
Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, has a mantra: “You cannot have a healthy planet with out a healthy ocean.” In this era of climate crisis and transition to net zero, a healthy ocean must include sustainable ocean industries built both on international environmental standards and on respect for the rights of those living and working in or by the ocean.
From renewable coastal and offshore energy to transportation, aquaculture, tourism and food security, ocean economies are fundamental to delivering resources across the globe. However, without appropriate standards, regulation and accountability mechanisms, these industries risk negative impacts on local communities and ocean-based workers, including through ocean and land grab, downward pressure on wages, unsafe working practices, and environmental mismanagement.
Jostein Kobbeltvedt, Executive Director, Rafto Foundation says:
“The Rafto Foundation supports and collaborates with human rights defenders globally and awards the Rafto Prize to individuals and groups who fight for human rights and justice. We have had the pleasure of working closely with IHRB and other international partners over many years to address business related human rights challenges in a number of sectors, including ocean industries such as shipping and seafood. As a globally oriented human rights organization based in the Ocean City of Bergen, we will work, through the Ocean Platform, with a wide range of stakeholders to promote respect for the rights of workers and communities impacted by ocean industries.”
John Morrison, CEO, IHRB says:
“IHRB is delighted to be collaborating with Rafto and our regional partners to convene this Ocean and Human Rights Platform, creating a crucial business and human rights focal point for the blue economy, and we look forward to working with others in this space from Colombia and Nigeria to the Arctic. We want to convene unusual combinations of stakeholders to enrich this conversation, bringing those with deep local knowledge round the table with corporate, financial and government decision-makers, resulting in better protection and respect of the rights of coastal communities and workers.”