» Director-General with Ocean Champions to take forward SDG 14
07.06.2017 - ODG

Director-General with Ocean Champions to take forward SDG 14


On 6 June 2017, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, participated in a high-level event held during the UN Ocean Conference in New York, entitled “Ocean’s 8 Celebration”, in reference to eight key elements of ocean science, such as innovative financing, gender equality, and education and outreach in ocean science. The event opened with a ceremony honoring major national investments in each of the eight categories.

Co-hosting the event with Iceland and Peru, with the support of Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly, the Director-General recognized the eight nations making the greatest contribution towards building the capacity in global ocean science needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. Distinguished guests included Adrian Grenier, Hollywood actor and ocean conservationist; Vice President of the Seychelles, Mr Vincent Meriton; Ole Arve Misund, Director General of the Norwegian Institute of Nutrition and Seafood; Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment; Mr Diego Ignacio Moreno, Secretary of Environmental Policy, Climate change and Sustainable Development, Argentina; Craig McLean, Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, NOAA, USA; Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fishing, Rural Development and Forestry, Morocco; Ana Paula Vitorino, Minister for the Sea, Portugal; Mr Yohei Sasakawa, Nippon foundation & Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan – all  strong supporters of ocean research and conservation and UNESCO partners. 

The Director-General commended Norway, CleanSeas Campaign, Morocco, Argentina, Seychelles, Portugal, the United States and Japan, and the 8 Champions of Global Ocean for their sustained commitment to building ocean science infrastructure, to developing scientific resources and capacities, and to communicating its findings to educate both citizens, the media and decision-makers. “Thank you for working to make ocean science inclusive, and globally accessible,” she said.

“Together we have achieved a lot to promote and finance ocean science,” declared Irina Bokova highlighting that more needs to be done to fill the ocean science capacity gaps. “We need an action-oriented global partnership across all pillars of ocean science,” she continued. She invited all participants to join UNESCO in calling for 2021-2030 to become the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development that will provide Governments, the scientific community, civil society and all other actors with a framework for coordinating and consolidating observations and research to achieve SDG14.

Organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in collaboration with UN Environment, the awards ceremony and ensuing panel discussion brought together distinguished guests and world-leading experts. The panel discussion took place with guests including the Director-General; H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco; Erik Solheim, UNEP Executive Director; Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly; Karolina Skog, Sweden’s Minister for the Environment; and Thomas Moore from Sky News. David Eades from BBC, moderated both events.

On the same day, the Director-General opened with Sweden a Side Event on “Ocean Literacy for All: Sustaining SDG 14 Goals through Ocean Science Education and Ocean Literacy”, which was organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. The event, supported by Italy, brought together representatives from Governments, the Scientific Community and NGOs, and aimed at establishing a global partnership to raise awareness on the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of our ocean and its resources and to improve the public knowledge base across the world regarding our global ocean.

The Director-General highlighted the crucial role of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for the implementation of the SDG14, and underlined the importance of providing new skills, values and attitudes that lead to more ocean sustainable societies.

“We need responsible and informed citizens to promote international ocean policies for the achievement of SDG14,” she stated.

The Director of the Division for Marine, Water and Nature, Ministry of Environment and Energy of Sweden, Stefan Berggren, emphasized the important role of UNESCO in implementing the 2030 Agenda.

“Sweden will contribute to these efforts by providing support for ocean literacy through IOC's voluntary commitment submitted for the ocean conference," he stated.   


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