There are a range of legal instruments, institutions, and organizations that collectively establish rules and policies for managing, conserving, and using the ocean. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides the overarching legal framework for ocean governance and management on a global scale, but there are a number of other important ocean governance-related institutions, instruments and processes.
This document provides a brief overview of those institutions and processes that are most relevant to multi-sectoral business and industry interests, with a particular emphasis on opportunities for industry to get involved in the policy-making process. It does not include policies, institutions, and processes that are primarily relevant to a single sector. After first reviewing key aspects of UNCLOS, this document discusses other key ocean policy and governance processes and bodies. A glossary of terms is provided at the end of the document (items defined in the glossary are indicated in bold within the text). For reference, Table 1 provides a more inclusive list of ocean governance instruments, processes, and institutions and indicates which of these are covered in detail in this document.