Implementing and Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals in the Caribbean: The Role of the Ocean

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Related Events
Oceans of Knowledge Workshop, 7 Nov. 2017, London, see web announcement
GEO-XIV Plenary Side Event: Earth Observations in Support of SDG Implementation and Monitoring in Small Island States and Developing Countries, October 24, 2017, Washington D.C., see web page

This project is supported by NASA under grant 80NSSC17K0241.

Information Relevant to White Paper and Workshop

Information relevant to the workshop and white paper will be made available here as it becomes available. Information that is not public can be accessed in the Workspace. If you do not have access to the workspace, you can register here here. You may have to send a request to Hans-Peter Plag before you can register.

Relevant Documents and Videos

Marine pollution: The YouTube video introduces one of the six themes of the OurOcean conference (Malta, 5-6 October 2017), which focuses on Marine Pollution. Stating that the Ocean is the blue heart of our planet, the question is asked how can we prevent litter and contaminants from reaching the seas?

Indicators and Indices

Ocean Health Index

The “Ocean Health Index” “is a valuable tool for the ongoing assessment of ocean health. By providing a means to advance comprehensive ocean policy and compare future progress, the Index can inform decisions about how to use or protect marine ecosystems.” It is “a collaborative effort, made possible through contributions from more than 65 scientists/ocean experts and partnerships between organizations including the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Sea Around Us, Conservation International, National Geographic, and the New England Aquarium.” It “establishes reference points for achieving widely accepted socio-ecological goals and scores for 220 countries and territories, Antarctica and 15 High Seas regions on how successfully they are achieved.” The annual scores and rankings show how scores for different Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) change between 2012 and 2016. The mapping tool provides access to a number of indicators including

  • Food Provision,
    • Wild Caught Fisheries
    • Mariculture
  • Artisanal Fishing Opportunities
  • Natural Products
  • Carbon Storage
  • Coasta Protection
  • Coastal Livelihoods and Economies
    • Livelihoods
    • Economies
  • Tourism and Recreation
  • Sense of Place
    • Iconic Species
    • Lastin Special Places
  • Clean Waters
  • Biodiversity
    • Species
    • Habitats


Earth observation: In the context of the white paper and workshop, Earth observation is understood in a comprehensive way and denotes all observations of the human and non-human environment independent of how an observation was made and collected. Thus, it includes, among others, observations made with satellite-based sessors, air or ship-borne sensors, and fixed or moving sensors on the Earth surface. These sensors can make measurements of ambient conditions or use remote sensing methods to measure characteristics of objects in a distance ranging from nearby to very far away. The sensors can be in the hands of human beings, or human beings can be the sensors themselves. In most cases, the sensors measure a variable characterizing the state of the human or non-human environment, or can be used to derive such variables.

Index: An index is normally the collection of a number of indicators, which are combined to provide a measure related to specific goals. For example, the “Ocean Health Index” “establishes reference points for achieving widely accepted socio-ecological goals and scores for 220 countries and territories, Antarctica and 15 High Seas regions on how successfully they are achieved.

Indicator: A quantity that indicates the state or trends in a system. In the context of the white paper, indicators are quantities that are indicative of system characteristics. Indicators can be based on single variables or they can result from weighted combinations of several variables. For example, a “air quality indicator” could be composed of a number of variables such as various partical matter, concentration of chemical and biological pollutants, etc.

Variable: In the context of the white paper and project, a variable is a system proberty that can change in space and time and that can be quantified based on a well-defined metrics.

Wicked Problem: A wicked problem is a (social or cultural) problem that is difficult or impossible to solve mainly for four reasons: (1) there is incomplete and often contradictory knowledge about the problem; (2) the number of people and opinions involved is very large, (3) the economic burden associated with the problem and possible solutions is big; (4) the problem is inherently interconnected with other problems. Super wicked problems are those that have four more characteristics: (i) the time to address the problem is running out; (ii) there is no central authority to address the problem; (iii) those seeking to solve the problem are also causing it; (iv) policies addressing the problem discount the future irrationally.