About the High Seas Initiative

The Aspen High Seas Initiative was a dynamic, interdisciplinary program that brought the ocean community and world leaders together to sustainably manage and protect the health of our planet’s ocean, including the High Seas, our greatest and most neglected global commons. Using the convening power of the Aspen Institute to advance ocean health and the wellbeing of people and communities that depend on ocean and coastal resources, the Initiative leveraged Aspen’s reputation for non-partisanship and balance, its vast international and domestic network of potential new ocean champions, and the multiple disciplines in which Aspen works. In doing so, the Initiative raised awareness of how ocean ecosystems affect everyone on this planet, and advanced actions that improve management of our ocean and coasts to ensure they continue to provide the vital goods and services on which all of us rely.

Focus areas included:

  • International action to protect and restore ocean ecosystem health, including advancing a new international treaty to protect biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, a strong regulatory framework for deep sea mining, and ocean protection as a core element of global climate action;
  • Advancing an international goal of protecting 30 percent of our global ocean by 2030, including strong protection of significant portions of the High Seas as an essential contribution to achieving that goal;
  • Convening groundbreaking cross-disciplinary science and technology innovators for improved understanding, exploration, and monitoring of the ocean;
  • Elevating awareness of the central role that the ocean plays in the health of our planetary ecosystem, including its role in climate change and other essential natural cycles, the wellbeing of humankind, and global security;
  • Expanding our network of ocean champions to include new leaders with a diverse range of backgrounds, expertise, and interest in our ocean; and
  • Educating and engaging youth to become future leaders working on behalf of our ocean.

Our strategy is to leverage the convening power of the Aspen Institute to foster groundbreaking collaboration in ocean policy, science, and technology and work with U.S. and international decision makers in business and government to protect and better manage the vast blue heart of our planet.