Decade Advisory Board

Guiding global ocean solutions through the Ocean Decade

The Decade Advisory Board is an advisory body to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the UN body tasked with coordinating the Ocean Decade, that will provide strategic advice on Decade implementation. Members are selected for a period of two years and serve in their individual capacities.

The Decade Advisory Board will provide recommendations on the endorsement of programmes and Decade Collaborative Centres and comment on the consolidated performance of Ocean Decade Actions. Board members will also contribute to the assessment of resource requirements for Ocean Decade Actions and raise awareness about the Ocean Decade, including with potential resource providers.

The 15 experts selected by the IOC/UNESCO for the period 2024-2025, hailing from over a dozen countries, come from government, private sector, philanthropy, civil society and the scientific community.

Meet the members of the Decade Advisory Board:

Professor Donovan Campbell is a Professor of Environmental Geography at the University of the West Indies. His primary scientific expertise is in climate change adaptation and food systems in the Small Islands. He has contributed to multiple intergovernmental scientific assessments, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the World Ocean Assessment, and the Global Environmental Outlook. At the regional level, he currently serves as Head of the Regional Centre for Caribbean Technology Needs Assessment and is the Co-Director of the Caribbean Resilience & Recovery Knowledge Network.

Awa Bousso Dramé is a Senegalese and Cabo-Verdean researcher in coastal sciences, GIS and AI at University College London. She is also the CEO of ‘CoastGIS Research Institute’. Awa’s expertise has been internationally recognised through the 2023 Forbes Africa 30 under 30s Class and the 2022 L’Oréal-UNESCO award for Women in Science: Sub-Saharan Africa for her research on coupling AI and GIS for monitoring cross-border coastal/marine systems in West Africa, and promoting gender equality in STEM. Awa turns her research into social impact through different educational programs and supports policymaking within governments and international organisations. Awa is currently developing coastal research initiatives in Cabo Verde, in addition to her gender and STEM educational programs reaching 16 countries in West Africa and more than 150 women and girls.

Linda Faulkner is currently Natural Sciences Commissioner of New Zealand’s National Commission for UNESCO, Deputy Director for New Zealand’s Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge, and Director of Tūtaiao Ltd. – a private consultancy focusing on people, policy and planning. Linda hails primarily from the tribal regions of Ngāti Rangi and Whanganui in Aotearoa New Zealand and has long advocated the opportunities and benefits possible through empowering indigenous knowledge and practice to work alongside contemporary science. Her work in the National Science Challenge arena has seen transformational change to the way indigenous knowledge contributes to multi and transdisciplinary research, and the significant benefits and impact that accrue from such approaches.

José María Figueres Olsen led a comprehensive sustainable development strategy linking environmental, economic and social issues as President of Costa Rica. For his work he received numerous international awards including the first ever Global Leadership Award given by GEF. After leaving office, he headed the first UN ICT Task Force. Later he joined the World Economic Forum, becoming its first CEO. Afterwards, as president of the Carbon War Room he led the organization in identifying sectors of the global economy in which carbon emissions could be profitably reduced. President Figueres was instrumental in launching the Global Ocean Commission, which he co-chaired, to address the causes of the Ocean’s degradation and define actions leading to its recovery. He serves on the boards of Pristine Seas, ORRAA and is a co-founder of Antarctica 2020. José María is also the Executive Chairman of SICPA Latin America, and Co-Chairman of Tojoy Shared Holding Group. President Figueres is a graduate of The United States Military Academy (West Point) and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Professor Gideon Henderson is Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra, UK), responsible for overseeing the quality of evidence that the Department relies on for policy decisions. He also provides ministers with scientific advice and sets the priorities for scientific research and evidence-gathering. He has been Professor of Earth Sciences at the Department of Earth Sciences in the University of Oxford since 2006. Gideon is also a Senior Research Fellow at University College, Oxford and an Adjunct Associate Research Scientist at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. His awards include the 30th Annual Plymouth Marine Science Medal 2016, European Union of Geosciences outstanding young scientist award in 2001, and the Leverhulme Prize Fellowship in 2001. In 2013, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Gideon is completing a second term on the Decade Advisory Board.

Dr. Michelle Heupel is Director of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing system. She is a research scientist with over 25 years’ experience working on ecology, conservation and management of marine predators, predominantly sharks and fish. Her career has spanned a range of sectors in marine science, including universities, public funded research agencies, private non-profit laboratories and joint ventures. Michelle has produced over 200 peer reviewed scientific publications, has held various editorial positions with several scientific journals and has previously or currently sits on several national and international committees relevant to science, conservation and management. She is a former member of the Commonwealth Threatened Species Scientific Committee and was a member of the Australian Delegation to the Convention on Migratory Species Sharks MOU meetings in 2016 and 2018.

Charlotte Hudson is the Project Director of the Lenfest Ocean Program, a scientific grant-making program based at The Pew Charitable Trusts (Washington, D.C., USA), that funds research projects that address the needs of marine and coastal stakeholders and supports grantees to engage with the people most likely to use the results. She is responsible for identifying thematic areas of research and overseeing the design and implementation of research projects that include purposeful engagement with those who might use the research. She also oversees the engagement with and communication of research results in ways that inform policy decisions and promote the sustainable management of the ocean. Charlotte has co-authored many papers on the role of science, philanthropy and policy in decision-making. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Davidson College and a master’s degree in environmental management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.

Charlotte is completing a second term on the Decade Advisory Board, for which she is Co-Chair.

Adrian Lema is Director of Denmark’s National Center for Climate Research at the Danish Meteorological Institute. He has many years of experience in bridging knowledge and policy and now translates climate science and oceanography into public awareness, policymaking and practical applications. Adrian is also Chair of the Danish, Greenlandic and Faroese committee for UN Ocean Decade.

Angelique Pouponneau is a lawyer in the Seychelles and UK. She holds an LLM in Environmental Law; specializing in the law of the sea and natural resources law. Angelique is also a trained climate change negotiator under the AOSIS Climate Change Fellowship Programme at the United Nations. She has worked in different countries in the Caribbean, Pacific and the Indian Ocean on a wide range of projects relating to sustainable fisheries, sustainable management of marine biodiversity within and beyond national jurisdiction, and climate change, in particular climate adaptation and climate finance. Further, she served as a legal expert of the African Group of Sixth Committee in works of oceans and law of the sea at the United Nations. Moreover, Angelique has experience working with civil society as a co-founder and board member for not-for-profit organizations in Seychelles and abroad.

Angelique is completing a second term on the Decade Advisory Board.

Dr. Julie Reimer is a marine social scientist and Senior Policy Advisor in the National Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) program at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. In her various roles, she aims to amplify MSP as a pathway toward global conservation and sustainability goals. Julie holds a PhD in geography, a Master of Marine Management, and a Bachelor of Science in biology, and brings this interdisciplinary lens to her work across MSP practice and research. She has been recognized as a leader in organizational governance, youth empowerment, and science-based advocacy. In 2021, Julie was named a Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader in Canada. 

Professor Hiroaki Saito is a professor and Advisor to the Director at the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (AORI) at the University of Tokyo. Prior to this, Hiroaki spent more than 30 years at the National Fisheries Research Institutes at Hokkaido and Tohoku, Japan. Hiroaki’s scientific interest is the role of organisms in marine ecosystem dynamics and biogeochemical cycles and how they respond to natural and anthropogenic perturbations. From 2018-2023 he served as Chair of the Integrated Marine Biosphere Research (IMBeR)-Japan National Committee, Science Council of Japan and he is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Oceanography.

Marc Simon is Innovation and Strategic Project Senior Vice President at Suez France and a member of the Scientific Council of H/OEHS Exposure Scenario Tool (IHEST). He has 30 years of experience in the water industry and circulation economy in France, Australia, China and Africa for large municipalities and industries. Marc has worked with diverse coastal communities for wastewater and storm management, urban cleaning services, sea water desalination, aquifer recharge, and centralized wastewater facility on industrial parks.

Dr. Katy Soapi is the Coordinator for the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science at the Pacific Community (SPC, New Caledonia). Before that, she was the Manager of the Pacific Natural Products Research Centre at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji. She has worked with Pacific Island governments to assist with the development of guidelines and policy on access and benefit sharing. Katy is an adviser on marine genetic resources supporting Pacific Island countries on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) process at the UN. Katy is passionate about developing the capacity of early career ocean professionals and is also active at the community level. Katy holds a bachelor’s degree from USP, a master’s from the University of Sydney, Australia, and a PhD from the University of East Anglia, UK. She grew up on the island of Rendova, Solomon Islands.

Katy is completing a second term on the Decade Advisory Board.

Dr. Alexander Turra is a professor at the Oceanographic Institute of the University of São Paulo (IOUSP, Brazil) and coordinator of the UNESCO Chair on Ocean Sustainability, based at the Oceanographic Institute and the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of São Paulo. He is a biologist that exercises interdisciplinary and integrated research, focusing on themes such as marine biodiversity, governance, integrated management, marine conservation, environmental impact assessment, climate change and marine pollution (marine litter). Turra seeks to promote the integration between science and society, policy makers and the private sector to support public policies and technological development and innovation applied to the ocean.

Alexander is completing a second term on the Decade Advisory Board, for which he is Co-Chair.

Dr. Nina Wambiji has worked at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) as a Senior Research Scientist for the last 19 years. Nina is the Assistant Director responsible for the Fisheries Section at KMFRI. Nina is also the Vice President of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), which promotes research into and extension of coastal and marine spaces, capacity building, knowledge sharing, science to policy linkages and improving awareness of research interventions. She has been WIOMSA’s Country coordinator for Kenya since 2014.

Decade Advisory Board meeting reports:

Report of the Ninth meeting of the Decade Advisory Board (21-23 May 2024)

Decade Advisory Board leverages Vision 2030 outcomes to identify priority actions for the Ocean Decade

One month following the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference, the new Decade Advisory Board members convened for their first in-person meeting from 21 to 23 May 2024 at UNESCO Headquarters in [...]

Report of the Eighth meeting of the Decade Advisory Board (13 March 2024)

New Decade Advisory Board launches to maximize impact of Ocean Decade

A new global, multi-stakeholder Decade Advisory Board has been launched to provide strategic advice to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) on further steps and priorities for the Ocean Decade implementation [...]


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