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UNESCO at the UN Ocean Conference 2022

The 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference (Lisbon, 27 June - 1 July), co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Themed around “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions”, the Conference hopes to unlock ocean-based solutions to address some of the most defining issues of our time, from climate change to economic inequality. The Conference will seek to propel science-based innovation to start a new chapter of global ocean action.

UNESCO will be heavily present at the Conference, bringing science, culture and conservation to the fore of political commitments and calls to action.


Underwater Seascapes,

Official Conference Programme

divers together genocean ocean decade campaign
UNESCO ocean programmes

The ocean is where all life began – it shelters 157,000 known species and up to a million species that have yet to be discovered. Earth could not breathe without the ocean – this blue lung absorbs a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, 3 billion people, almost half of humanity, depend directly on the ocean for their livelihoods.


Key UNESCO Events at the UN Ocean Conference

Sunday, 26 June

Rock in Rio: Generation Ocean Concert (17:30-23:00 | Parque da Bela Vista, Lisbon) - ADD LINK

Scientific Workshop on Underwater Cultural Heritage of the Silk Road and other routes (More details TBA) - ADD LINK


Monday, 27 June

High-Level Ocean Decade Alliance Event (11:30-13:00 | Tejo Hall, Altice Arena) - ADD LINK

GenOcean: Mobilizing Citizens for the Ocean We Need (14:30-15:00 | SDG Media Zone, Altice Arena) - ADD LINK

Accelerating Action Tackling Tsunami Risk: Partnerships and Solutions for A Safe Ocean Resilient to Tsunamis - (15:30-16:30 | Pavilion of Portugal) - ADD LINK


28 June

UNESCO main Side event - More information coming soon


29 June

Addressing and minimizing the impacts of ocean acidification and other climate stressors: updates, opportunities and challenges and implications for SDG14.3 (MORE INFO)

  Wednesday, 29 June,  13:00-15:00, Blue Zone


​​This event will showcase how action-driven trans-disciplinary science and cross-sectoral collaboration can help stakeholders adapt to the climate-induced challenges placed on the ocean and thus improve sustainable development, limiting warming to 1.5 °C, enhancing NDCs, and helping achieve Net Zero.


28 June


[Official Side event] 

Partnerships driving credible and evidence-based action to protect, restore and sustainably manage coastal blue carbon ecosystems – are we ready for private sector funding injections? (08:00-10:00 | Blue Zone)


This event tackles the question on ‘how to make use of the increasing interest by private sector in funding coastal blue carbon restoration while ensuring that actions lead to credible long-term results’. Improving our scientific understanding of these critical ecosystems and our ability to clearly measure and value ecosystem benefits for climate, biodiversity and people, underpins the integrity of on-ground restoration actions. Similarly, engagement with national government policies, international frameworks and local communities is critical to ensure restoration and protection of blue carbon ecosystems holds permanence.


[Social Networking Event]

Technology and Innovation Working Group networking breakfast (8:45-9:45 | TBD)

Informal networking breakfast co-organised with Smidt University to present vision of tech and innovation working group and facilitate discussion around innovation issues.


[Partner Event]

Training for policymakers on Blue Curriculum (10:00-13:00 | Ciencia Viva Library)

A training for educational authorities, policy makers, curriculum developers and experts on the new publication "A new blue curriculum: a toolkit for policy-maker".


[Official Side event]  

Side event (13:00-14:30 | Blue Zone)


The side-event focused on better introducing underwater cultural heritage in ocean discussions should be chaired by the UNESCO Director-General and a Portuguese Government representative, followed by interventions of several experts and a discussion.


[Official Side event] 

GenOcean: Mobilizing Citizens for the Ocean we need (Time TBC | Blue Zone, SDG Media Zone)


Media event to mark the formal designation by UNESCO DG of Maya Gabeira as UNESCO Champion for the Ocean. UNESCO DG, Maya Gabeira and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador OSkar Metsavaht will be in conversation about the challenge of mobilizing citizens to act for the ocean we need, through the perspective of the GenOcean Campaign, launched by UNESCO as official public-facing communications campaign for the UN Ocean Decade 2021-2030.


Friday 29 June


[Partner Event]

1000 Ocean Startups Side Event (10:00-12:30 | Green Zone, Coral Pavillion)

More information coming soon


[Official Side event]

Sea Beyond Final Ceremony (11:00-12:30 | Auditorium)

Final Ceremony of  Sea Beyond project in cooperation with PRADA. This event will celebrate the winner of the contest and have the presence of jury members, which are well-known professionals of the ocean. 


[Official Side event]

Workshop with Coordinators of Blue School Networks  (14:00-15:00 | Ciencia Viva Library)

This event will bring coordinators of the Ocean Literacy international networks together and will discuss ways forward.


[Social Networking event]

Ocean Literacy Dialogues in the format of “Aperitivo Blu” (18:00-20:00 / 30 June 10:00-12:00 | Ciencia Viva Atrium)

This event will bring journalists and ocean experts in the format of an "interview" open to the public.


[Social Networking event]

Ocean Acidification cocktail reception  (18:30-21:00 | Ciencia Viva Museum)


[Official Side event]

The Ocean Decade Forum (14:30-17:00 | Green Zone, Ciencia Viva Auditorium)

Friday 1 July

UNESCO Launches Emergency Plan to Boost World Heritage-Listed Reefs’ Resilience (12:00-13:15 (GMT+1))

This event will be held in-person in the Reef Action Hub (R. do Bojador 47). 

On the occasion of the Our Ocean Conference in Palau, UNESCO announced an emergency plan to give World Heritage coral reefs the best chance of survival. UNESCO also called for an international mobilization to prevent coral reef extinction. During this event at the UN Ocean Conference, UNESCO will showcase the successes from the Resilient Reefs Initiative in 4 World Heritage reef pilot sites in Australia, Belize, France (New Caledonia) and Palau; and provide more information about how the partnerships will accelerate resilience support to World Heritage-listed reefs in developing countries.