The African Ocean Decade Taskforce held its first in-person meeting on 3rd and 4th April 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, to identify priorities and concrete actions to efficiently advance the implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) in Africa and Adjacent Island States.
The Taskforce, a multistakeholder group, was nominated in October 2022 with a mandate of spearheading the implementation of the Ocean Decade Africa Roadmap. The Taskforce is composed of 14 individual members and six institutional/organisational representatives from the African Development Bank, African Union Commission (AUC), NORAD, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi and Abidjan Conventions, and Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA). Twelve Taskforce members attended the meeting in-person while the rest participated virtually.
While addressing the meeting, IOC/UNESCO Executive Secretary Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin expressed his appreciation to the Taskforce and recognised the role it will play to push on the implementation of the Ocean Decade in Africa. He highlighted the progress made by the team so far and assured them of support from the IOC/UNESCO Secretariat in order to ensure their success. He further reiterated the importance of the Ocean Decade in Africa and how its successful execution will accelerate transformative ocean science for sustainable development of African ocean and coasts.
The Chair of the Taskforce, Dr. Jacqueline Uku, acknowledged the members for their dedication and commitment in moving forward the ambitions of the Ocean Decade in the region. She stated that the work of the team is already cut-out by the Africa Roadmap, and the actualisation of the nine priority actions identified by the document should be their key.
“This group will ensure the involvement and collaborations among the different stakeholders of the Decade in the region. We will strengthen and enhance Africa’s representation in areas that we have continued to lag behind in the two years of the implementation of the Decade. There is a need for submission of Ocean Decade Actions from the region, creating partnerships, more visibility through effective communication, and mobilising resources for Africa,” Uku said.
The two-day meeting was instrumental in developing a comprehensive workplan for the Taskforce for the next two years as well as the structure for a new African Decade programme on sustainable ocean economy. The programme, labelled “Science and Knowledge for a Resilient and Sustainable Ocean Economy in Africa”, incorporates four pillars on: (i) Sustainable management of marine resources, (ii) Climate change and marine biodiversity, (iii) Tackling ocean pollution for enhanced human health, and (iv) Extreme events and disaster risk Reduction.
The four pillars will encompass capacity development, technology and innovation, knowledge generation and dissemination, ocean literacy, financing mechanisms and instruments as cross-cutting aspects and enablers for their attainment. Ocean observations including data and information will form the foundation of the programme.
In the coming months, the programme will be developed in detail for submission as a Decade Action for Africa. The Taskforce will also work in establishing a Community of Practice (CoP) for the various endorsed Ocean Decade Actions in the region. This CoP will enhance knowledge sharing, collaboration and avoid duplication of activities. To join the Africa Community of Practice, subscribe to the Ocean Decade Network.
You are also invited to attend the Africa Ocean Decade webinar on 2 June (14.00-16.00 CET) to learn more about the work of the Taskforce and next steps for implementation of the Ocean Decade in Africa.
For more information, please contact:
Ocean Decade Communications Team (email@example.com)
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.
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.