01.06.2017 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Global ocean science education: how we can work together to face the challenges of our oceans

Global Ocean Science Education

On 23-25 May 2017, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO co-hosted the third 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 Global Ocean Science Education workshops are sponsored and facilitated by the international Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement (COSEE), the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the College of Exploration. It is the only platform of its kind, bringing together the ocean science, education, policy and business sectors to improve ocean science education across the globe.

In 2015, the first workshop brought together ocean scientists and education professionals from 15 nations. Panels discussed ocean science education across the K-12 pipeline, undergraduate and graduate education and public education. Working groups discussed the future of global ocean science education, opportunities and steps for building international collaborations, and establishing a global network of networks. It was clear that for a truly global ocean science education network to be effective, other stakeholders ought to be part of the conversation. A conscious effort was made in planning the following workshop including policy makers and business/industry leaders in addition to scientists and education professionals.

In 2016, at the second workshop, participants were 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.

This year, on 23-25 May, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe hosted the workshop at its premises in Palazzo Zorzi in Venice. In this intensive, highly productive third edition, educators, researchers and professionals from 10 countries and different regions of the world focused on forging new connections within the global marine community. The goals of the workshop were to bring together the ocean science, education, policy and business sectors; to foster the work of the 5 international working groups; to initiate the development of a certificate course for business leaders and policymakers; and, to provide a forum to discuss coastal resilience and share examples of resilient cities.

Among the discussions was how the ocean literacy community can support the implementation of international ocean policies and initiatives, especially in view of the upcoming Ocean Conference at the United Nations in New York on 5-9 June. It is essential that all global citizens are aware of the importance of the ocean and regional seas if we are to sustain and conserve the marine resources on which humanity depends.  In a few days, on 8 June, the global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future will be celebrated under the motto: Our Oceans, Our Future.

In order to promote collaboration and exchange of resources and good practices, the workshop closed with the proposal to develop an online and multilingual platform. Once again, was recognised the leading role of UNESCO - 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.

Website: http://www.coexploration.org/gose/

 




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