2024 Ocean Decade Conference: Initiating a new chapter of global ocean action


2024 Ocean Decade Conference: Initiating a new chapter of global ocean action

2024 Ocean Decade Conference: Initiating a new chapter of global ocean action 1000 540 Ocean Decade
  • The Conference will celebrate achievements and set joint priorities for the future of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)
  • A key outcome will be the launch of the Barcelona Statement containing recommendations on priority areas of action for the Ocean Decade in coming years
  • The Barcelona International Convention Center (CCIB) will host an expected attendance of 1,500 people and feature the participation of 40 international speakers
  • The opening session will feature a lineup of diverse and high-profile international leaders, amongst whom Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, and the Presidents of Cabo Verde, José Maria Neves, and Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan
  • Over 120 Satellite Events and a dozen of Cultural Events across 18 locations around the city will complement the official programme between April 8 and 12

Barcelona, Spain, is gearing up to become the world’s capital of the ocean for a week as it hosts the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference from April 10 to 12 at the Barcelona International Convention Center (CCIB), the highlight of an entire Ocean Decade Week running between April 8 and 12.

Within this framework, a groundbreaking gathering of international thought leaders, policymakers, scientists and advocates will come together to celebrate and evaluate the progress made four years into the implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), or ‘Ocean Decade’, and set joint priorities for the future of the global movement.

Titled Delivering the science we need for the ocean we want, the Conference will cover diverse and urgent challenges facing the ocean and the intricate interlinkages between these critical topics, including climate change, food security, biodiversity management, sustainable ocean economy, pollution and natural hazards.

Over the course of three days, a new foundation will be created to initiate a new chapter of global ocean action, spotlighting innovative and transformative science-based solutions. With an expected attendance of 1,500 in-person participants, including 40 plenary speakers of international renown and 100 presenters, the Conference will serve as a global forum where governments, leaders, maritime sectors, universities, NGOs, the private sector and civil society will meet and foster new alliances and collaborations, catalysed by rich dialogue bridging science, policy and society.

The key outcome of the Conference will be the launch of The Barcelona Statement containing a set of recommendations that will set the future direction of the Ocean Decade.

Leading voices: Opening ceremony lineup revealed

The opening ceremony of the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference will feature diverse and high-profile international leaders. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, will kick off the event with a warm welcome to all attendees, setting the stage for the three days of discussions.

Three esteemed Patrons of the Ocean Decade Alliance will share their insights and visions: H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, H.E. President of Cape Verde, José Maria Neves, and H.E. President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, each bringing their unique perspectives to the conversation.

Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, will deliver a compelling speech on behalf of the UN, paving the way for a dynamic exchange of national and international perspectives with the Honorable Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, H.E. Cecilie Myrseth, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy of Norway, H.E. Kerryne James, Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy of Grenada, H.E. Shuxian Sun, Vice-Minister of Natural Resources of China, Dr. Filimon Manoni, Pacific Ocean Commissioner, and Manuel Barange, Assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

To conclude the inauguration, the Conference’s hosts will be represented by the Mayor of Barcelona, H.E. Jaume Collboni, the President of the Region of Catalonia, H.E. Pere Aragonès, and the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Universities of the Government of Spain, Dr. Juan Cruz Cigudosa.

Bridging science and action: The ‘Scientific Solutions Forums’ at a glance

The programme of the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference will kick off with a diverse range of international speakers from all sectors of society discussing the Conditions of Success needed to achieve the Ocean Decade vision. This will be followed by four thematic sessions, each comprising a plenary session and various parallel sessions. Each plenary session will feature a keynote speaker and a panel discussion that will provide an overview of achievements, future opportunities and remaining challenges for the issues in question, setting the stage for discussions in parallel sessions.

These thematic sessions, titled ‘Scientific Solutions Forums’ and focusing on the 10 Ocean Decade Challenges, will present key outcomes of the Ocean Decade Vision 2030 process for the relevant Challenge, before opening the floor to a series of oral presentations on ocean solutions. A total of 100 oral presentations are planned over the three days.

The first thematic session, titled Science and Solutions for a Clean, Healthy and Resilient Ocean, will address marine pollution, ecosystems and the ocean-climate nexus. The sustainable ocean economy and blue food will be the focus of the second session, titled Science and Solutions for a Sustainable and Resilient Ocean Economy. The third session of the Conference, Science and Solutions for a Safe and Predicted Ocean, will be dedicated to coastal resilience, observations, data and predictions; while the last session will delve into capacity development, ocean literacy, Indigenous and local knowledge and cultural heritage under the title An Inspiring and Engaging Ocean for All. A final plenary session will discuss the innovative Resources and Partnerships needed to realise to ambitions set out by the Conference.

Over 120 opportunities to learn about, understand and be inspired by the ocean

The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference will be the culmination of a whole week of activities that will take place across 18 locations in Barcelona from April 8 to 12, during which more than 120 Satellite Events will complement the official programme, both on-site at the CCIB on all three days of the Conference as well as off-site on April 8 and 9. These will be located in four main hubs around the city with a strong link to ocean science and solutions: the Ocean Hub, Sea Hub, Port Hub and City Hub. Off-site Satellite Events, including Cultural Events, will all be open to the general public, unless specified otherwise.

Partner-led and action-oriented, the Satellite Events will actively shape the outcomes of the Conference by providing additional forums for debate, networking and knowledge exchange. Through formats such as discussion panels, presentations, interactive workshops and dialogues, attendees will be able to deepen their understanding, collaborate and contribute to the objectives of the Ocean Decade in dynamic and inclusive environments.

Among these events, a rich array of exhibitions, film screenings and immersive experiences will make up the cultural heart of the Ocean Decade Week in Barcelona. The Ocean Decade Movie Day, with a selection of short films that offer different visions of the ocean, exhibitions dedicated to Chinese nautical technology and shipwrecks, family-friendly events such as SalvaMar Cirkus, Sounds of the Ocean or Our Ocean from Space, and exhibits such as Let’s talk about the sea to talk about us. Anchored in art and culture’s ability to stir awareness and inspire action, these events will encapsulate the essence of our ocean, its beauty and its fragility.

The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference is organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO), the Generalitat of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council through the Fundació Barcelona Capital Nàutica, and the National Ocean Decade Committee of Spain, which is led by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities through the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The Conference is also being made possible with the financial support of Schmidt Ocean Institute, HUB Ocean, REV Ocean, Allianz, Balearia, Dalio Philanthropies, OceanX, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Japanese and Portuguese Governments, the European Commission, as well as numerous partners who are providing support for travel of under-represented groups to participate in the Conference: Amundsen Science, Barcelona Turisme Convention Bureau, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH), Government of Flanders, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Lenfest Ocean Program (Pew Charitable Trusts) and Union for the Mediterranean.

Media Contact:
Undatia Comunicación
Borja Igual
+34 646 216 663


About the Ocean Decade:

Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.


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