The Government of Flanders funds a new initiative to support capacity development as part of the Ocean Decade


The Government of Flanders funds a new initiative to support capacity development as part of the Ocean Decade

The Government of Flanders funds a new initiative to support capacity development as part of the Ocean Decade 400 200 Ocean Decade

As part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the Government of Flanders has approved USD 1.1 million in funding for a new Capacity Development Facility within the framework of the UNESCO/Flanders Fund-in-Trust (FUST).

To achieve the Ocean Decade’s transformative vision of supporting the generation and use of ocean science for sustainable development, it is important that all actors – regardless of geography, gender or generation – are able to actively participate and benefit. Fostering and strengthening the necessary skills and expertise for the co-design, co-delivery and uptake of ocean knowledge in decision making and policy are key.

The new Ocean Decade Capacity Development Facility, supported by the Government of Flanders (Kingdom of Belgium), will build on the long-standing experience of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in capacity development. Through a flexible and demand-driven approach, the Facility will support the capacity strengthening needs of individuals and institutions involved in the Ocean Decade.

Capacity development is a tenet of the Ocean Decade: both an underlying theme and requirement for all 10 Decade Challenges, and significantly, Challenge 9 (“Skills, knowledge and technology for all”) which specifically refers to capacity development. All initiatives that are submitted for endorsement as Decade Actions, no matter which Challenge they focus on, must demonstrate how they contribute to capacity development, with particular emphasis on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).

The new Facility will support actors wishing to engage in the co-design of future Decade Actions, as well as the existing Decade Actions who may require further support on targeted capacity development initiatives:

  • Identifying priority capacity development needs of existing and future proponents of Decade Actions
  • Delivering initiatives to meet the identified capacity development needs via the Facility
  • Supporting the facilitation of an Ocean Decade Community of Practice focusing on capacity development

The Facility will integrate specific activities to mobilize resources and establish partnerships with philanthropic partners, governments and industry to secure financial and in-kind contributions to operational costs and thus ensure its sustainability throughout the Ocean Decade and beyond.

“The Government of Flanders and IOC/UNESCO have been collaborating in the field of ocean science for over 20 years now, and this Facility is yet another milestone,” said Julian Barbière, Head of the Marine Policy and Regional Coordination Section of IOC/UNESCO and Global Coordinator of the Ocean Decade. “We thank the Government of Flanders for their generous contribution in recognition of the support that is required for capacity development, which will contribute greatly to the Ocean Decade movement – and beyond, for long-term skills.”

The project will be implemented over an initial period of 24 months under the strategic guidance of a Steering Group. The Flanders Marine Research Institute (VLIZ) is one of the key project partners and a long-standing supporter of IOC/UNESCO, and will provide in-kind resources to help develop capacity strengthening initiatives.

The Ocean Decade Capacity Development Facility builds on the earlier commitments of the Flemish Government in supporting, through the UNESCO/Flanders Fund-in-Trust (FUST), IOC/UNESCO projects which are Ocean Decade endorsed, such as OceanTeacher Global Academye-DNA ExpeditionsPacMAN and Ocean InfoHub.

For more information, please contact:
Ocean Decade Communications Team (


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.


The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want





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