Paul Holthus

Paul Holthus


World Ocean Council


Paul Holthus is the founding CEO of the World Ocean Council (WOC), the international, multi-industry leadership alliance on ocean sustainable development. His work brings together shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, oil/gas, offshore renewables, seabed mining, submarine cables, ports, investment and other ocean sectors to create business community leadership and collaboration in sustainability, science and stewardship.

The WOC has a global network of 34,000+ ocean industry stakeholders. The WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) is the annual, high level gathering of the diverse ocean business community. SOS 2017 (Halifax, 29 Nov-1 Dec) will be focused on the Ocean Sustainable Development Goal.

Paul has been working to advance the role of ocean industries in sustainable development since the 1990’s. Paul speaks regularly about ocean sustainable development at major industry and ocean events around the world. Since 2013 he has engaged the ocean business community in the SDGs and has often been the only ocean industry presence in the formal SDG process. In 2016 WOC produced the first report to analyze the SDGs for ocean industries.

At the U.N. Ocean Conference, June 2017, Paul addressed the U.N. General Assembly on the role of the private sector in ocean sustainable development. He also organized and chaired the main conference sessions on ocean business leadership and the SDGs and on financing ocean sustainable development.

Prior to founding the WOC, Paul held senior positions with the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and with several international environment organizations, including as: Deputy Director of the IUCN Global Marine Programme and as head of the Asia Pacific Marine Program for The Nature Conservancy, where he originated the “Coral Triangle” concept. He has worked as an international consultant in over 30 countries, working with companies, communities, industry associations, UN agencies, NGOs, foundations and governments to develop practical solutions to ocean sustainable development.

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