Do you want to save ocean from marine debris and nutrient pollution? Are you ready with innovative solutions and creative approaches to counter the scourge of ocean pollution? The Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) gives you this chance to accelerate progress on SDG14 by the identifying, financing, advising and mentoring of truly innovative, entrepreneurial and creative approaches to ocean and coastal restoration and protection that sustains livelihoods and advances the ’blue economy’.
The OIC seeks innovations that are transferable, replicable and scalable in order to achieve maximum catalytic impact. The goal of the OIC is “To accelerate progress on SDG14 by catalyzing replicable and scalable innovations – including technical, policy, economic and financial – that can be sustained and contribute directly to delivery of one or more SDG14 targets”.
Why this Challenge?
The ocean faces unprecedented threats to the ecosystem goods and services it provide to humanity, from climate regulation to food security to energy resources. Despite some progress, many ocean challenges, from nutrient pollution to illegal, unregulated and unreported IUU fishing to ocean acidification, continue worsen.
SDG 14, which aims to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, sets forth a very ambitious agenda for oceans restoration and protection. For most sectors that use and impact on the ocean, from fisheries to aquaculture to industrial agriculture, the `business as usual` scenario will not deliver the kinds of transformational change needed to move towards truly sustainable ocean use.
A combination of technical innovation and cutting-edge policy, financial and economic incentives are needed to transform ocean-related sectors, both sea-based and land-based. At present, while there are a handful of relevant initiatives, these are limited in their sectoral scope. Solutions are required that cut across the unique innovation needs of each SDG14 target, whether it be reduction of plastics pollution, eliminating over fishing, or enhancing access for small scale fishers. The OIC seeks to identify and provide support to scale-up these solutions.
- Grants range from 50,000 USD to 250,000 USD and project time frames can range from one to two years.
- Project proposals must be implemented in and benefit stakeholders in developing countries but may be submitted by applicants in either developing or developed countries. All proposals should include a special focus on ensuring gender equity, livelihoods of the poor and poverty eradication.
What are some examples of the types of innovative initiatives that could be funded?
The OIC’s first Ocean Challenge focuses on SDG14.1, Ocean pollution, with a strong focus on nutrients and plastics from land-based sources (such as agriculture, wastewater and poorly managed solid waste) while recognizing that ocean-based sources are also important sources for some types of plastics pollution (such as abandoned/lost fishing nets).
Examples of Innovative Initiatives
While by no means exhaustive, some general examples of the types of innovations that could be considered include:
- Marine Litter/Plastics:
- Design, manufacturing, supply chain and other innovations that serve to reduce plastics utilization and/or enhance plastics recovery, recycling and re-use
- Design and manufacturing of truly biodegradable substitutes for plastics
- Design of recyclable plastic resins that can replace non-recyclable resins in similar products
- Introduction of plastics waste collection, recycling and re-use programmes in developing country municipalities including mechanisms for full cost recovery (such as container deposit laws)
- Financial, policy, regulatory or other incentives that minimize loss of fishing nets and optimize their recovery for re-use or recycling
- Economic, policy, regulatory and other measures/incentives to minimize or eliminate use of unnecessary single use plastic items
- Innovations in fertilizer design, manufacture and/or application that minimize fertilizer nitrogen loss from fields and maximize uptake by crops;
- Introduction of market-based instruments that promote more efficient fertilizer use in watersheds/coastal areas facing nutrient pollution (tradeable emission permits, pollution taxes, etc.)
- Testing policy, regulatory and/or economic incentives that promote safe collection, recovery and re-use of nutrients from municipal and/or agricultural wastewater.
- Piloting of scalable ‘non-traditional’ wastewater collection and/or treatment approaches such as local wastewater source separation for safe collection and re-use of nutrients, etc.
Initial concepts may be submitted by public or private entities, including:
- Private companies (including start-ups),
- United Nations entities,
- Academic institutions, and
- Intergovernmental organizations.
Applications are accepted in English, French and Spanish. In April 2020, successful applicants to the first round will be invited to submit a more detailed project proposal before 25 April 2020. OIC Award-winners will be announced at the 2nd UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, 2-6 June 2020.
For more information, visit Ocean Innovation Challenge.