The Decade Advisory Board members convened at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on May 2-4 2023 to deliberate on strategic issues related to the implementation of the Ocean Decade and discuss priority areas for the next year.
As an advisory body to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO), which is responsible for coordinating the Ocean Decade, the Decade Advisory Board provides strategic guidance and recommendations on Decade initiatives and priorities.
During this annual in-person meeting of the Board, IOC/UNESCO shared key updates regarding endorsed Ocean Decade Actions, regional and national coordination structures, and engagement and outreach. For their part, the Board members emphasized the need to engage new partners in resource mobilisation, increase the visibility and number of National Decade Committees (NDCs) within national governments, and strengthen connections to decision-makers.
Representatives from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) joined the Board this year as further evidence of the engagement of the whole UN system in the Ocean Decade.
Board members heard that the Ocean Decade Data and Information Strategy will soon be launched to strengthen the generation and accessibility of data in areas by improving the links between global data infrastructure. The Board applauded the news of the new Ocean Decade Capacity Development Facility funded by the Government of Flanders that will identify and fulfil capacity development needs of partners, with a focus on of Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
A significant part of the meeting was dedicated to discussing strategic objectives of the Decade to 2030, and in particular a discussion of the launch of the Vision 2030 process. This process will contribute to shaping a common vision, enhancing collective impact and measuring progress towards achieving the Ocean Decade Challenges through the definition of concrete indicators.
As an important milestone on the path to 2030, the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference (10-12 April 2024 in Barcelona, Spain) will convene Decade Actions and partners to celebrate achievements, take stock and set collective vision for coming years. A key outcome of the Conference will be the publication of a set of white papers related to the 10 Challenges, as part of the Vision 2030 Process.
In the context of Call for Decade Actions No. 04/2022, the Board reviewed and made recommendations on one Decade Programme submission. The recommendations of the Board will be considered by the IOC/UNESCO Executive Secretary to inform the final decision on endorsement with announcements expected on World Oceans Day, 8 June 2023.
The current Call for Decade Actions No. 05/2023 was launched on April 15 and will remain open until 31 August. The Call is soliciting Programmes related to Challenge 1 – Marine Pollution, with a focus on sub-themes of plastic pollution and nutrient pollution, and Challenge 2 – Ecosystem Restoration and Management, with a focus on sub-themes of area-based management, restoration, and multiple ocean stressors. Eighteen Programmes are also receiving applications for Decade Projects.
Click here to read the meeting report in full.
Meet the Members of the Ocean Decade Advisory Board
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) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.
About the IOC/UNESCO:
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.