UNDP launches third cohort of Ocean Innovators

June 8, 2023
OIC third cohort

UNDP supports environmentally and socially sustainable economic activities for a healthy and resilient ocean



New York - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launched its third cohort of four ocean innovators to demonstrate the compelling roles of marine spatial planning (MSP), marine protected areas (MPAs) and new environmentally and socially sustainable economic activities for a healthy and resilient ocean.

UNDP’s Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) will provide financial, mentoring and incubator support to these four ocean innovators, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14 targets 14.2, 14.5 and 14.7).

The ocean provides a broad range of ecosystem services - such as food security, nutrient cycling, and climate regulation - yet two-thirds of the ocean is considered to have been negatively impacted by human activities.

“It’s not too late to start a wiser and more sustainable relationship with our ocean. In this crucial time, let’s care for the ocean as much as it has cared for us”, says Peter Thompson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean.

Through its Ocean Promise, UNDP has committed to deliver at least 100 Ocean Innovations by 2030. Supported by Sida and Norad, the third cohort receives financial support to ocean innovators of up to US$250,000 for two years, mentors and incubates innovative solutions that are transformational, scalable and replicable. 

About the third cohort of UNDP Ocean Innovators

DHI - Mapping and Monitoring of Ecosystems at Scale with Copernicus Sentinel- 2 Imagery - a tropical system application in Malaysia

DHI’s teams in Malaysia and Denmark are using remote sensing to map and monitor Mangrove, Coral and Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (MCSAV) through their web-based interactive technology platform – MCSAV. Using this technology, DHI aims to provide access to earth observation-based maps in Malaysia to address the information gap and improve the planning, management and monitoring of coastal and marine ecosystems including two marine parks in the Sabah state to help protect ecosystems and restore biodiversity. 

University of Rhode IslandEnsuring community roles in complex multiple use areas in Madagascar 

University of Rhode Island – Coastal Resources Center, through its Madagascar team, and in partnership with US-based experts, aims to develop a Marine Spatial Planning framework that will incorporate participation from Madagascar’s coastal communities, including fishers’ associations, tourism operators and other marine users to ensure that ecosystem services are sustained effectively, and equitable benefits are provided.

International Union for Conservation of Nature - SEA Success in Bangladesh and Thailand

Like any other Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) worldwide, Thailand’s Hat Chao Mai-Ko Libong (HCM-KL) Seascape and Bangladesh’s Island of St. Martin face unique challenges that require tailored solutions to maintain the health and productivity of the ocean and enable sustainable use of their marine resources. IUCN, through their SEA Success project, aims to address these needs for site-level support at a scale no entity has attempted before, with the intent to extend the approach broadly.

Mersea Marine Consulting Exotic Pufferfish Leather Products in Turkey

Mersea Marine Consulting will create a new eco-leather industry from invasive silver-cheeked toadfish, also known as pufferfish, to reduce its many negative impacts in the Eastern Mediterranean seas. The pufferfish skins will be collected from local fishing communities, and then carefully processed for production of leather products. These aim to substitute the niche market for exotic leathers such as snakes and alligators, a 10-billion-dollar industry, in line with consumer shifts towards ecological products with cumulative benefits to marine ecosystem health.

OIC continues to boost SIDS and coastal LDC’s Blue Economy

Following the success of the three initial cohorts of ocean innovators, UNDP will open the Accelerated Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and coastal Least Developing Countries’ (LDCs) Blue Economy Edition Call for Proposals in late June 2023. Qualified innovators seeking technical and management mentoring,  promotions support, and connections to capital for future upscaling in the OIC Incubator will be able to join. Selected innovators for this accelerated OIC will receive up to $40,000 as a deliverable based contract to pilot their innovation within a maximum of six months period. These innovations must be administered in and benefit coastal LDC and/or a SIDS. Pre-register now to receive more information and a notification once the application opens.

For more information, visit https://oceaninnovationchallenge.org.