21.06.2016 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Moving forward on global ocean science education

Danilo Calazans (Instituto de Oceanografia, Brazil) stresses the importance of research vessels to ocean science education

From the 13 to the 15 of June the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO co-hosted the second edition of the Global Ocean Science Education workshop. Jointly organized with the Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement, and the College of Exploration, the workshop sought to develop collaborative activities and set goals for global ocean science education.

The 3-day workshop brought together stakeholders from across the ocean science, education, policy and business sectors to think collectively about the role of science, education, policy and business in moving forward the international ocean agenda.

Discussions focused in particular on how the various sectors can forge partnerships to take action and move forward the implementation of international agreements such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – with its Sustainable Development Goal 14 on ocean – and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The workshop participants hailed from 17 countries from Europe, North and South America, and Africa, and represented different organizations: governmental agencies, research centres, NGOs and aquaria. Within this diverse setting, there emerged shared concerns around how to prioritize educational content related to ocean and human health, how to adapt ocean science education to the requirements of the 21st century workforce, and how to better identify the role of informal education in ocean policy development.

Participants also discussed how to develop effective and sustainable partnerships for ocean science education, building on the experience of successful initiatives, such as the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA). Presented by the European Commission, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Canadian Network for Ocean Education, AORA works through its project partners to provide information platforms and large-scale resources for ocean literacy – awareness and understanding of the ocean’s influence on humans and vice versa.

The workshop participants recognized the leading role of UNESCO – being the only UN agency with a mandate in education and ocean science – in pushing for ocean science education vis-à-vis governments and global policy frameworks. An action road map will keep up the momentum of the discussions held during GOSE 2016 and seek to foster further concrete initiatives ahead of the 2017 edition.

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