The Need for a Plan

Why do we need a plan for the Southern Ocean ?

In the Southern Ocean, the combined effects of various forms of pollution, transport, tourism, migration, infrastructure, and the pursuit of natural resources, as well as accelerated climate change at high latitudes, are exerting increasing pressures on the environment. These climate- and human-induced changes have the potential to alter the role the polar regions play in regulating global climate and other systems, as well as impacting a host of other important ecosystem services. 

The vast, remote and harsh environment of the Southern Ocean means that no single nation can sustain a research and data strategy alone to understand and manage this region. Since the Southern Ocean Community of stakeholders is globally unique in its operation within the Antarctic Treaty System, which is entirely based on scientific understanding and environmental protection, it is imperative to strengthen international collaborations to improve scientific and political understanding of this remote region. Strongly underlying the UN Ocean Decade is the need to align data management with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) to enhance knowledge complementarity and integration in a cross-disciplinary context.

The Decade Societal Outcomes strongly affiliate within the remit of the Antarctic Treaty. The Southern Ocean Community therefore recognises the need to develop and implement a coordinated, international plan that builds on understanding how human interactions with the Southern Ocean can benefit society in ways that will also protect and conserve the unique characteristics of this region.