» Ocean Knowledge key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals
09.06.2017 - ODG

Ocean Knowledge key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals

© UNESCO

On 8 June, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, participated in a side event on “Building ocean knowledge for sustainable development – How science will contribute to achieving SDG 14”, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, within the framework of the Ocean Conference.

The event presented the main findings and key messages of the first ever Global Ocean Science Report, that will allow Member States to contribute and benefit from data and information on ocean science on a real-time basis.

The Director-General highlighted that this Report provides a starting point to understand where marine scientific capacities exist and where they could be strengthened through international cooperation and effective mechanisms for the transfer of marine technologies, particularly for the benefit of Least Developing Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

“Scientific knowledge on the ocean by definition will contribute to the attainment of multiple Sustainable Development Goals,” said the Director-General. “As the custodian agency for SDG 14, Target 14.a, UNESCO and its IOC are committed to increasing scientific knowledge, developing research capacity and operationalizing the transfer of marine technology.”

“I call on Governments to consider creating a fund for the operationalization of the IOC Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, and support Part XIV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” she said. “We need new investments and new partnerships, especially to support developing countries, because the challenges reach far beyond the abilities of single countries…we need a new commitment to cooperation across the board.”

During the event, the Director-General called on all present to join UNESCO and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in advocating for 2021-2030 to become the International UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which would be a further step to provide Member States with a framework for coordinating and consolidating the observations and research needed to achieve SDG14.

Other speakers included H.E. Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa; H.E. Tone Skogen, State Secretary of Norway; H.E. Dr Mohamed Shainee, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture of the Republic of Maldives.  

During the event, speakers noted the importance of increasing scientific knowledge for achieving SDG 14.

“The ocean is high on our political agenda,” said H.E. Tone Skogen. “It is our top research priority.”

The event was organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, The Permanent Mission of Samoa, The Permanent Mission of Norway, and The Permanent Mission of Maldives.

On the margins of the Ocean Conference, the Director-General met with the Swedish Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog. They discussed important areas of cooperation between UNESCO and its IOC, including in relation to ocean literacy, which is strategically linked to UNESCO’s work on Education for Sustainable Development, as well as marine spatial planning and ocean science.  Ms Skog mentioned Sweden’s support for the Decade on Ocean Science and the importance of ensuring that the appropriate space is made available to ensure that policy makers are developing policies based on sound science.

On the same day, 32 children from more than 10 UNESCO Marine World Heritage sites called upon world leaders to sign a pledge to protect the ocean for future generations.

“These children have travelled from the farthest corners of the Earth to highlight the global nature of the threats facing the ocean, and the need for collective action,” declared Irina Bokova as she signed the “My Ocean Pledge” to protect our ocean for future generations.

“They remind us that the international community has committed to care for our natural wonders. Together, they bear a message of hope: if we work together, we can overcome today’s ocean challenges.”

Adrian Grenier, Hollywood Actor and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador;  H.R.H. the Prince of Monaco and Oskar Metsavaht, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, also signed the children’s pledge.

  




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