The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today (June 8) launched its third cohort of four ocean innovators to demonstrate the compelling roles of marine spatial planning (MSP), marine protected areas (MPAs) and new environmentally and socially sustainable economic activities for a healthy and resilient ocean.

UNDP’s Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) will provide financial, mentoring and incubator support to these four ocean innovators, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14 targets 14.2, 14.5 and 14.7).

The ocean provides a broad range of ecosystem services – such as food security, nutrient cycling, and climate regulation – yet two-thirds of the ocean is considered to have been negatively impacted by human activities.

“It’s not too late to start a wiser and more sustainable relationship with our ocean. In this crucial time, let’s care for the ocean as much as it has cared for us”, says Peter Thompson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean.

Through its Ocean Promise, UNDP has committed to deliver at least 100 Ocean Innovations by 2030. Supported by Sida and Norad, the third cohort receives financial support to ocean innovators of up to US$250,000 for two years, mentors and incubates innovative solutions that are transformational, scalable and replicable.

The third cohort of UNDP Ocean Innovators are:

— DHI – Mapping and Monitoring of Ecosystems at Scale with Copernicus Sentinel- 2 Imagery – a tropical system application in Malaysia

— University of Rhode Island – Ensuring community roles in complex multiple use areas in Madagascar

— International Union for Conservation of Nature – SEA Success in Bangladesh and Thailand

— Mersea Marine Consulting – Exotic Pufferfish Leather Products in Turkey

Following the success of the three initial cohorts of ocean innovators, UNDP will open the Accelerated Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and coastal Least Developing Countries’ (LDCs) Blue Economy Edition Call for Proposals in late June 2023. Qualified innovators seeking technical and management mentoring,  promotions support, and connections to capital for future upscaling in the OIC Incubator will be able to join. Selected innovators for this accelerated OIC will receive up to $40,000 as a deliverable based contract to pilot their innovation within a maximum of six months period.