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21-11-2019

Kenya and Portugal announce their support to the Decade Alliance

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

United Nations / Ocean Science & Technology / Ocean Policy & Sustainable Development / Business & Industry / Donors & Foundations

On the margins of UNESCO’s 40th General Conference, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the Government of Kenya and the Government of Portugal convened a High-Level Side Event on 14 November, during which both countries announced their support of the recently launched Ocean Decade Alliance.

The High-Level Side Event “Towards the Ocean We Need: The Ocean Decade on the Road to Lisbon 2020” informed Permanent Delegations and other stakeholders about the second United Nations Ocean Conference (Lisbon, Portugal, 2-6 June 2020) and the upcoming launch of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The event featured two segments: a high-level segment and a panel discussion with experts.

“We all have an opportunity – the last one, perhaps – to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health. This opportunity is the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, taking place from 2021 to 2030” declared Xing Qu, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General at the opening of the event. The second United Nations Ocean Conference should fully reflect the ambitions of the Decade and help mobilize all concerned actors.

Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of Sea of Portugal and George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary of Education of Kenya restated the support of their respective countries to the Decade.“Portugal has supported the Decade since the beginning and will continue to do so,” declared the Portuguese representative, who also welcomed the launch of the Ocean Decade Alliance at the Our Ocean Conference (Oslo, October 2019), and announced that Portugal is ready to support UNESCO’s IOC with the organization of a flagship event dedicated to the Decade at the June 2020 Lisbon Conference.

“Our success lies in our ability to build partnerships and strengthen synergies. This is why Kenya welcomes the Ocean Decade Alliance, a key alliance of leaders from sciences, education, culture, governments, private sector, civil society and youth committed to act capitalizing on the transformative power of science,” stated the Kenyan representative.

Ambassador Peter Thomson, United Nations Secretary-General Special Envoy for the Ocean closed the segment reminding that the Decade will allow us to turn the scientific knowledge into actions and solutions to achieve ocean sustainability and increase climate resilience.

Following the high level announcements, the expert panel provided an opportunity to bring together different perspectives to the Decade:

-Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reviewed to the audience the most important findings of the Panel’s recent report on the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate and highlighted how the ocean can be a solution to climate change.
-Kouadio Affian from the University of Cocody Abidjan focused his intervention on the need of African countries to increase their capacity to conduct ocean observations and seek sustainable solutions to ocean hazards, climate change, health, and natural resource management.-Guigone Camus, Social Anthropologist and Ethnologist reminded how social sciences and local and traditional knowledge must be considered as key actors in the construction of knowledge.
-A new figure to the debate, Boris Hermann, professional ocean sailor was a testimonial of the less known to general public but close cooperation between scientists and sailors in the deployment of observing instruments in support of ocean science, illustrated by the partnership between the racing class IMOCA and UNESCO’s IOC.

“The Decade will make a major breakthrough in ocean science and technology and I invite you to join the Ocean Decade Alliance to build and an enthusiastic workforce behind the emerging exiting implementation plan for the Decade,” announced Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s IOC, who brought into the panel discussion IOC’s perspective as lead coordinating agency for the Decade preparations.

The Lisbon Conference will be a milestone in the Decade process, with the focus being on science and innovation to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14, and for providing the stage to unveil the implementation plan for the Decade.

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