19.01.2018 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Republic of Korea to contribute resources for UN Decade of Ocean Science

© UNESCO/A. Khalil - Left to right: Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary; Jean-Yves Le Saux, Director of UNESCO's Bureau of Strategic Planning; Dr. Young Je Park, President of KIOST; Mr. Byong-hyun Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO

Paris, France – Barely a month after the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), the Republic of Korea announces a contribution of nearly US$230,000 to support preparations and help monitor the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 – to conserve and sustainable use the ocean and its resources - via a second edition of the Global Ocean Science Report.

The Korean contribution comes in the form of both financial and human resources to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), UN body responsible for coordinating UN Decade of Ocean Science preparations between now and the official kick-off date, 1 January 2021. 

Officials from the Korean Government and the IOC met at UNESCO Headquarters to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) framing a contribution of funds as well as staff support to build the UN Decade of Ocean Science. Among various preparatory activities, the resources will help set up a website, kick-start a dedicated Decade Secretariat, and organize global and regional stakeholder consultations to agree on a collective roadmap and scientific plan for the ten years ahead. 

“The Republic of Korea has participated in this project from its initial stage, and will continue to provide financial and human support and promote the joint use of high-tech equipment through this MOU that was concluded today for the successful implementation of the Ocean Decade,” stated in writing H.E. Young Choon Kim, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea.

“The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development has entered its development phase. IOC Member States are strongly behind this initiative, which will help federate and generate actionable ocean knowledge to meet the needs of society. Today, the Decade finds a champion in the Republic of Korea, and we are thankful for its commitments to support IOC’s role in this important initiative. I invite all IOC Member States and partners to contribute and engage in the preparation of a truly transformative and inclusive Decade,” said Mr Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary.

© UNESCO/A. Khalil - Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary, and Mr. Byong-hyun Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO

The funding envelope announced by the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries includes US$93,000 to finance production and provide staff support toward the second edition of the Global Ocean Science Report (GOSR). The first edition of this UNESCO-IOC flagship report (June 2017) was the first-ever stocktaking of who, how and where ocean science is conducted around the world. Much of the funding is destined to build an online portal and data repository that will render all Global Ocean Science Report data open to the public and, in particular, to Governments wishing to share relevant information about national ocean science structures.

On behalf of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) will oversee the implementation of the agreement with UNESCO’s IOC, including through the identification and selection of scientific staff to support the Ocean Decade and the Global Ocean Science Report online portal.

At the signing ceremony, Acting President of KIOST Young Je Park expressed his satisfaction with the various elements of the MOU. “I am delighted to conclude two Voluntary Funds-in-Trust Agreements for the Ocean Decade and the GOSR… Based on these agreements, we will encourage the experts of KIOST to actively participate in these projects.”

Dr. Sang-Kyung Byun of the Republic of Korea was the IOC Chair during the critical period when the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. With reference to the GOSR, the Republic of Korea has continuously supported its publication and hosted the second meeting of the GOSR Editorial Board in October 2016.

Mr Vladimir Ryabinin also reiterated the central role of the Korean Government in supporting the Global Ocean Science Report. He highlighted the importance of GOSR as a “quantitative mechanism to measure capacity in ocean science, which is so needed in all regions and most countries of the world, and the continuously growing cooperation in ocean science across developing and developed countries.”

For more information about the MOU or the Global Ocean Science Report, please contact:

Salvatore Aricò (s.arico(at)unesco.org)

For more information about the UN Decade of Ocean Science, please contact:

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

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