15.09.2017 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Ministers pledge support to the proposed Decade of Ocean Science at Lisbon Meeting

© @GreenSessions Twitter Account: IOC-Executive Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin highlights links between the ocean and society, arguing for 2021-2030 to be declared the Ocean Science Decade.

Lisbon, 8 September: Ministers responsible for Ocean, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs from over forty-five countries expressed their support for the IOC proposal to declare the period 2021-2030 as the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The proposal put forth by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) aims to stimulate international cooperation in marine science to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, leading specifically to the development of new policy-relevant knowledge and technology that could help fill the many remaining information gaps about the state of our ocean and its resources.

Ministers formally welcomed the UNESCO’s IOC proposal as part of a larger Ministerial Declaration on Oceans and Human Health, endorsed at the ministerial segment of the two-day Oceans Meeting 2017 (Lisbon, 7-8 September) organized by the Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Mrs. Ana Paula Vitorino.

Beyond forty-six national ministers, senior officials of nine major international organizations also took part in the Ministerial Segment of the Oceans Meeting.

The Ministerial Declaration on Oceans and Human Health referred explicitly to the IOC Decade of Ocean Science proposal:

“10. Welcomes the proposal of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO for an International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to be established for the period 2021–2030 under the United Nations, with the aim to stimulate international cooperation in marine science to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”

The full text of the declaration is available on the Oceans Meeting 2017 website.

The IOC Executive Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin highlighted the concept of a Decade of Ocean Science in a talk entitled “Ocean and Society: A Tribute to Prof. Mário Ruivo” – a reference to the late former IOC Executive Secretary and public Portuguese environmental figure.

“There is much that remains to do in the areas of ocean science, observations, data collection and capacity development. The proposed decade, the leadership role of Portugal therein, and the symbolic contribution of Dr Ruivo to its design and realization can guide us in defining the ocean we need for the future we want.”

After an enthusiastic reception in Lisbon, IOC officials are set to flag their Ocean Decade (2021-2030) proposal at the Our Ocean conference on 5-6 October in Malta. The proposal is currently under discussion in the United Nations General Assembly, which could vote to start the Decade’s formal preparatory process this fall.

For more information, please contact:

Julian Barbière (j.barbiere(at)unesco.org)

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