THE PROG: SUPPORTING THE OCEAN GOVERNANCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY A healthy Ocean is fundamental for achieving global sustainability. However, the degradation of the marine environment has far outpaced the development of the international Ocean governance frameworks. The global nature of the Ocean presents a central challenge to good governance: fish stocks, marine pollution and climate impacts do not respect national borders, so collective and coordinated action is needed. Cognisant of these challenges, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), TMG - Think Tank for Sustainability and UN Environment created the Partnership for Regional Ocean Governance (PROG) to address complex Ocean sustainability challenges at the science-society-policy interface and to support cooperation for the conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystems and their resources. In particular, the PROG aims to: 1) support marine regions in developing innovative strategies for Ocean governance; 2) facilitate exchange of experiences between regions; and 3) better connect global discussions and regional initiatives. UNDERPINNING A STRONG GLOBAL HIGH SEAS AGREEMENT A particular focus of the PROG is the governance of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) – often referred as the “high seas” – which represent half of the Earth’s surface and host a significant portion of its biodiversity. The remoteness of ABNJ once placed them beyond the reach of human activities, but technological and scientific advancements, along with growing demand for resources, have increased interest in these areas, driving exploration and exploitation. Negotiations for a treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of high seas biodiversity started at the UN in September 2018. To be effective, the future treaty must be supported by, and coordinated with, efforts conducted by existing regional organisations and mechanisms, which play a key role in Ocean governance. To this end, the PROG developed the “Strengthening Regional Ocean Governance for the High Seas” project (STRONG High Seas), working with partners in the South-East Pacific – the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) – and the South-East Atlantic – the Abidjan Convention. The project aims to initiate and support participatory learning processes across sectors, disciplines and national borders, by sharing experiences, best practices, and governance-oriented research for improved design, implementation and durability of cross-sectoral management approaches for the high seas. CONNECTING MARINE REGIONS TO PROTECT OUR OCEAN To further advance these aims, a first “PROG Marine Regions Forum” will be hosted from 29 September – 2 October 2019 in Berlin. This international multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral conference will bring together a wide range of actors and decision-takers in Ocean governance to share experience and develop new solutions for Ocean sustainability, including on ABNJ. The PROG is supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through its International Climate Initiative (ICI) and the German Environment Agency (UBA), as well as the European Union through its European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).