» Ocean Literacy for All: UN Ocean Conference inspires global commitment to forge an ocean literate society
27.04.2017 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Ocean Literacy for All: UN Ocean Conference inspires global commitment to forge an ocean literate society

©Shutterstock. Do you know how much impact you have on the health of the ocean?

A partnership of intergovernmental, scientific and educational institutions has launched a global commitment to raise awareness for the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of our ocean.

Most of us live our lives unaware of how our day-to-day actions impact on the health of the ocean, or how the health of the ocean impacts on our own daily lives. Entitled “Ocean Literacy for all: a global strategy to raise the awareness for the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our ocean”, this global initiative aims to change this through an improved public knowledge base across the world’s population regarding our global ocean and the close links between ocean and human well-being.

Backed by a partnership of over a dozen intergovernmental, scientific and civil society organizations, the “Ocean Literacy for All” initiative will focus its activities around three main goals:

- Encourage cooperation and exchange on ocean education to improve ocean literacy frameworks

- Raise awareness of the two-way interactions between the ocean and peoples’ daily lives to empower citizens to adjust everyday behaviors

- Apply innovative means to generating an ocean literate citizenry that recognizes environmental challenges and makes systematically informed and responsible decisions related to ocean stewardship and the use of ocean resources.

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) will coordinate “Ocean Literacy for All” activities in close collaboration with all official partners*. A number of activities are planned over the next two years, including a global month-long online workshop on ocean literacy, the creation of an online networking and resource-sharing platform, and the development of ocean literacy training and academic programmes for youth as well as for the business and policy sectors.

The “Ocean Literacy for All” initiative was conceived as one substantive outcome of the United Nations Ocean Conference (5-9 June 2017), to take place at the UN Headquarters in New York. The initiative figures on The Ocean Conference Registry of Voluntary Commitments alongside other commitments undertaken by Governments, international organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, scientific institutions and other stakeholders toward the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 – to conserve and sustainable use our ocean.

Please visit the official UN Ocean Conference website for a comprehensive view of the programme, expected outcomes, and voluntary commitments.


For more information, please contact:

Francesca Santoro (f.santoro(at)unesco.org), for information about the “Ocean Literacy for All” initiative.

Julian Barbière (j.barbiere(at)unesco.org), for information about UNESCO’s IOC in the Ocean Conference.


*Official “Ocean Literacy for All” partners include: College of Exploration, Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement, European Marine Science Educators Association, World Ocean Network, Ocean Frontier Institute, Ciencia Viva, Italian Network on Ocean Literacy, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, Asia Marine Science Education Association, Canadian Network for Ocean Education, Planeta Oceano, Centre for Environment & Society of Washington College, Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

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