» Towards an International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development
25.05.2017 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Towards an International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Achieving SDG14 will require a major global framework to develop and harness the best scientific knowledge

Stakeholders meeting at the UN Ocean Conference (New York, 5-9 June) will be calling for 2021-2030 be declared the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) invites all interested parties to work together on the development of this initiative and contribute to the creation of a broad solutions-oriented plan of actions towards “The Ocean We Need for the Future We Want”.

The United Nations’ First World Ocean Assessment found that much of the ocean is now seriously degraded and many fear there has been a global failure to integrate scientific evidence into the sustainable management of our oceans. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 14 will require science-based solutions and their transformation into informed policies and decisions.

The International Decade of Ocean Science will help increase public awareness about the urgent need for new science and the use of existing science to increase our understanding of the cumulative impacts affecting our oceans. The goal is to build, through a global partnership and co-designed approach, stronger cooperation between the different bodies responsible for ocean science while facilitating a more efficient delivery of knowledge to decision-makers.

UNESCO’s IOC has put formally forward the International Decade of Ocean Science proposal as its major voluntary commitment to The UN Ocean Conference. The commitment is a rallying point and an open invitation to governments, intergovernmental organizations and other interested stakeholders wishing to support and contribute to the initiative and help turn the initial ideas into a broad plan of concerted actions with shared goals and responsibilities.

The Ocean Decade could have five main objectives:

· Stimulate a global partnership on the marine science requirements needed to support implementation of Agenda 2030;

· Understand the impacts of cumulative stressors and seek sustainable solutions for sustaining benefits from the ocean;

· Share knowledge and enhance interdisciplinary marine research capacities through the transfer of marine technology, leading to economic benefits for all Member States, particularly for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries;

· Gain a better quantitative knowledge of ocean dynamics, ecosystems and their contribution to society, through the whole ocean column, from the surface to the bottom, and from the perspective of both natural and anthropogenic forcing;

· Map the ocean floor and its resources to support their sustainable management.

The Decade proposal will be forwarded to the UN General Assembly later in the fall of 2017 for its consideration. Several activities are planned over the next three years in order to prepare the International Decade for Ocean Science. These deliverables include the establishment of global and regional coordination mechanisms, the definition of an international research framework for ocean science, the creation of data-sharing and capacity development projects worldwide as well as the establishment of a global communications programme.

All details related to The International Decade for Ocean Science Voluntary commitment can be found 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.

For a fun introduction to the International Decade of Ocean Science initiative, see this video produced by Stein by Oosteren (Dutch attaché to UNESCO).

Visit the UNESCO dedicated webpage for The Ocean Conference for a comprehensive view of the programme, our side events, and voluntary commitments.

For more information, please contact:

Julian Barbière (j.barbiere(at)unesco.org), for information about the International Decade of Ocean Science and the participation of UNESCO’s IOC at The UN Ocean Conference.

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