In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the years 2021 to 2030 to be the "United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development". A major dynamic for the Ocean, which offers a common framework for a better understanding of its role, and sustainable management of its resources.
This news was warmly welcomed by the Ocean & Climate Platform, a strong supporter of research and knowledge on this major area of our planet. At the dawn of this new decade of action, the Ocean & Climate Platform reaffirms its commitment to the preservation of the ocean and its ecosystems, and intends to actively participate, alongside its members, in the achievement of this new international action framework’s objectives.
“The science we need for the Ocean we want”
"The development of ocean science allowed us to identify and highlight the essential functions it provides to make the Earth 'livable', particularly in terms of climate regulation. Yet, it is essential to develop our knowledge in order to better anticipate its evolution in the face of global changes” declares Françoise Gaill, Vice-President of the Ocean and Climate Platform and member of the IOC-UNESCO French delegation.
The latest scientific reports alert us on the ocean’s degradation and the alteration of its regulatory capacities as human impacts rise. The challenges are great. Much remains to be done to set the conditions for a development that respects the ocean and the biodiversity it shelters. To better understand “the last unexplored space on Earth”, research support is essential.
"The ocean, a 21st-century geostrategic issue"
While 64% of the oceanic space is located outside national jurisdictions, ocean governance has become one of the major challenges at the turn of this century, as evidence shows from the ongoing negotiations at the United Nations on the only treaty on biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions, in addition to the important Convention on the Law of the Sea. The many Ocean’s services benefit all human societies, and its good health is a matter of common and shared responsibility.
To overcome divergent interests and move towards sustainable management of ocean resources, this new Decade provides a positive framework for the mobilization of funding, of the scientific community, decision-makers, businesses, and civil society to improve the protection of marine areas.
The Decade also aims to strengthen international cooperation, an essential condition for the development of scientific research and technologies that can link oceanography to societal issues. In this regard, it intends to speed up the 2030 Agenda’s implementation, particularly the one of the Sustainable Development Objective No. 14 devoted to the conservation and sustainable use of the Ocean.
"An ocean of solutions before current challenges"
The ocean is one of the first casualties of climate change outcomes, but it is also a formidable reservoir of solutions before current challenges. However, neither science nor policymakers can tackle these challenges on their own. The mobilization of all stakeholders within the ocean science community is needed to build new models integrating ocean resiliency.
"This decade will enable to structure scientific research around a common roadmap - the joint action of the scientific community and civil society will be crucial for its implementation" Romain Troublé, President of the Ocean & Climate Platform and Director of the Tara Ocean Foundation.
In this regard, the role of civil society will be decisive in supporting the identification and implementation of science and nature-based solutions. The Ocean & Climate Platform and many of its members have already submitted research programs and awareness-raising projects to UNESCO (‘Ocean literacy’), thus contributing to achieving the Decade goals. The Sea'Ties project is part of this approach and seeks to facilitate the elaboration of public policies and the implementation of adaptation solutions for coastal cities exposed to sea-level rise.