The 51st session of the Executive Council of the IOC of UNESCO approved the roadmap for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
It also considered ocean science requirements for addressing climate uncertainty, stressors affecting marine life, and strategies and tools for science-based ocean planning, among other agenda items.
13 July 2018: The 51st session of the Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved the roadmap for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Council also addressed ocean science requirements for addressing climate uncertainty, stressors affecting marine life and strategies and tools for science-based ocean planning, among other agenda items.
The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) will bring together ocean stakeholders globally to ensure that ocean science supports countries in achieving SDG 14 (life below water). The Decade will also encourage science and data that support efforts to reverse declines in ocean health. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) mandated the IOC with coordinating the preparatory process for the Decade.
The Executive Council agreed on a revised Decade Roadmap, a document that addresses governance and structural arrangements for the preparation phase and presents a guiding framework to further develop the concept, objectives, outcomes and modalities for the Decade’s implementation and engagement strategy. The document outlines a comprehensive and inclusive planning process through 2020 that builds on guidance from an Executive Planning Group, a minimum of five regional consultation workshops, two global planning meetings and two stakeholder forums. The regional consultation workshops are expected to play a fundamental role in the design of the Decade and will communicate the purpose and expected results of the Decade to stakeholders, engage and consult with the ocean community on the implementation plan for the Decade, and draft plans for initiatives.
In addition, the Executive Council adopted the terms of reference for the Executive Planning Group of the Decade, which will serve as an expert advisory mechanism. The Executive Planning Group will also draft the Implementation Plan and ensure delivery of activities needed to establish the Decade during the Preparatory Phase. It will be composed of 16 to 20 members who will serve in their technical capacity. The IOC Secretariat will accept nominations until 5 September and the Group is expected to hold its first meeting by November 2018.
Ocean education and ocean literacy are critical components of the Ocean Science Decade.
According to UNESCO, ocean education and ocean literacy are critical components of the Ocean Science Decade. UNESCO member States further underscored the importance of involving youth in raising awareness on the ocean and enhancing their understanding of ocean science. The IOC is introducing ocean literacy into school curricula in 36 countries around the world.
Italy announced its intention to participate in preparations for the Decade at the Executive Council meeting. Italian Oceanographic Commission President Rosalia Santoleri said Italy will plan a workshop involving all nations facing the Mediterranean Sea and lay out an agenda of initiatives starting January 2021.
In its discussions, the Executive Council further recognized the importance of encouraging the scientific community, policymakers and the public to commit to greater investment in the ocean and be inspired to achieve real change. Participants also discussed the importance of ocean observations and data and early warning and preparedness against tsunamis.