A motion for the ocean

Ask your Council to declare an urgent need for Ocean Recovery


In response to the urgent need for Ocean Recovery to mitigate some of the worst impacts from the climate emergency, Plymouth City Councillor, marine social scientist and former Chair of Sea-Changers Dr Pamela Buchan is asking Plymouth City Council and councils around the UK to endorse a ‘Motion for the Ocean’ that recognises the importance of the world ocean for climate change, and the role that local and national governments need to play.


Debated by Plymouth City Councillors on 22 November 2021 the motion can be adopted by councils across the UK. The Ocean Recovery Declaration Motion, or ‘Motion for the Ocean’, was developed by Cllr Dr Pamela Buchan, Emily Cunningham from the Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group, and Nicola Bridge at the Ocean Conservation Trust.


The marine trio are asking local governments to align Ocean Recovery with their Climate Emergency response by passing the motion, indicating a commitment to ocean recovery and improvement in the way that marine environments are used and managed. They are calling for individuals to act as marine citizens and ask local Councillors to support and adopt the motion in councils across the country.


2021 is the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the year the UK has taken centre stage in climate and environmental political action at COP26 in Glasgow in November and the G7 in Cornwall in the summer. With the COP26 agreement recognising that we need to “consider how to integrate and strengthen ocean-based action”, the time is now for government at all levels to recognise the need for ocean action. International Environment Minister Lord Zac Goldsmith said at COP26: “The ocean plays a unique role in regulating our climate. There is no pathway to net zero – or any of our shared global goals – that does not involve protecting and restoring nature, including the ocean, on an unprecedented scale.” The Ocean Recovery Declaration asks local and national governments to play their part to achieve this goal.


As well as a series of asks for local authorities, the evidence-based Motion for the Ocean draws on a list of government actions proposed by marine scientists, including lead author Dr Sian Rees from the University of Plymouth, to improve marine conservation management and help the UK to become a global leader in fisheries management and marine conservation.


Coastal local authorities, such as Plymouth City Council, have a range of coastal responsibilities within their powers, including coastal defence and flooding, shoreline management, and contribution to marine protected area management. All local authorities, however, can share in the collective responsibility to improve marine management through a wide range of strategies and actions, including educational approaches; water, waste and land management; and the full remit of climate emergency actions many have already committed to. The Motion for the Ocean embraces the Source-to-Sea approach, highlighting the direct connection that we all have to the sea through rivers and drainage, and the important impact of land-based carbon emissions on ocean health.


You can become involved in the process to spread the word about this Ocean Recovery Declaration?


Send the model Motion for the Ocean to your local elected Councillors and Cabinet members or committees responsible for environment, planning, waste and education. Ask them to table the Motion at Council and to ask their political groups to support it.


Share the Motion with your local political groups, networks and friends to ensure that your Councillors see how much support there is for Ocean Recovery. You can download the model above, or email them the link to this page.


Use #Motion4TheOcean to spread the word.


Councillors – table the model Motion for the Ocean at your Council. Every Council can make changes that help the ocean, whether or not they have a coastline. Help your fellow Members understand how.


Charities and campaigners – endorse the model Motion for Ocean, share it on your websites and with your members, and ask them to become marine citizens by demanding change. Remember #Motion4TheOcean to show your support.


To find out more about the motion click here.