IMPAC5 Endorsed as an Official United Nations Ocean Decade Event


IMPAC5 Endorsed as an Official United Nations Ocean Decade Event

IMPAC5 Endorsed as an Official United Nations Ocean Decade Event 1600 900 Ocean Decade

In Canada, the health of our ocean is directly linked to the health of our people. This also rings true beyond Canadian borders and around the globe. People are dependent on the ocean, and the health of the ocean is dependent on us. Preserving the richness and diversity of the global marine environment and protecting this vital resource has never been more important than it is today.

The Government of Canada is working domestically to protect 25 per cent of ocean space by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030 – a goal for which Canada is advocating internationally as well. That is why, on the opening day of the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference, the Honourable Joyce Murray, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, proudly announced the endorsement of the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) as an official event of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade).

The United Nations proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the decline in ocean health and ensure a sustainable ocean for future generations. As an official Ocean Decade event, IMPAC5 is recognized for investing in, developing, sharing and showcasing science and Indigenous knowledge that will propel governments and communities to study, promote and protect ocean health.

IMPAC5 will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from February 3 to 9, 2023. The Congress will bring together marine conservation experts and decision makers to exchange knowledge, experience and best practices to strengthen marine conservation, and protect the natural and cultural heritage of the global ocean. The outcomes from the Congress will also help contribute to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development goals focused on responsible consumption, climate action, life below the water, and partnerships.

The Congress will conclude with a Leadership Forum on February 9, 2023, where invited government officials will join leaders of Indigenous, environmental, educational and private sector organizations to discuss the results of the Congress and build global momentum on the path to 2030.


“Healthy oceans support healthy communities. From coast to coast to coast, I see diverse groups working together to share knowledge and expertise—from Indigenous Peoples and scientists to grassroots community groups and businesses. I am encouraged by the collaboration IMPAC5 will generate—together we can make protecting 25 per cent of our oceans by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030 a reality. I’m looking forward to welcoming the 5th International Marine Protected Areas Congress to Vancouver in 2023 as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.” The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Conserving marine and coastal waters in collaboration with Indigenous partners, the provinces and territories, and other key partners, is crucial to our Government’s commitment to protect 25 per cent of lands and waters by 2025, and 30 by 30. By learning from Indigenous peoples and science, we can deepen our understanding of the ocean and marine ecosystems to help to conserve biodiversity, mitigate the impacts of climate change and strengthen nation-to-nation relationships. This February, Canada is proud to welcome the world to IMPAC5 in Vancouver and we encourage people to join us in the conversation.” The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“UNESCO salutes Canada and the many actors preparing for IMPAC5. We are excited to see the concretization of a world congress that brings together the best of science, conservation and Indigenous and local knowledge. We are equally proud to recognize IMPAC5 as an official contributing event to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, which reinforces UNESCO’s commitment and efforts towards complementarity and co-construction of knowledge. In this line of thought, we highlight IMPAC5 Indigenous Peoples Leadership Program Stream, which acknowledges the contribution of Indigenous peoples to knowledge and marine protection. As UNESCO also seeks to build stronger collaborations with Indigenous peoples, notably through the above-mentioned Ocean Decade and the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, I wish us all the best in learning from each other on this journey towards greater complementarity of voices and knowledge.” Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

“This decision should be applauded and seen as a natural extension of what IMPAC5 stands for. As well as scientists, conservationists, and MPA professionals, let’s remember that Ministers from governments will join leaders of Indigenous, environmental, philanthropic, educational and private sector organizations at the Congress and build global momentum towards charting the course to protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Every part of that work and the IMPAC5 themes and streams of Indigenous leadership, youth partnership, and technology integration, should be seen as an integral part of the Ocean Decade. Since IMPAC1, IUCN has supported and will continue to support every aspect of this work.” Dr Minna Epps, Director IUCN Ocean

“CPAWS joins the Government of Canada, IUCN, and Host First Nations to announce IMPAC5’s endorsement as an official United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development event. This significant recognition solidifies IMPAC5 as a key international event to act for the ocean. IMPAC5 is a crucial opportunity for Indigenous leaders, VIP delegates, and marine professionals to transition high-level commitments into implementable actions; ensuring that the world can meet its goal of strongly protecting at least 30% of the ocean by 2030. CPAWS looks forward to welcoming the world to Vancouver in February 2023 to build on the important outcomes anticipated at the UN Ocean Conference, CBD-COP, and G20 environment meetings taking place later this year.” Sandra Schwartz, CPAWS National Executive Director

Quick facts: 

  • In 2018, Canada announced that it would invest $9.5 million in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade) via the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). DFO has established a dedicated project office, and is working with the Canadian ocean science community and international partners to advance activities under the Ocean Decade.
  • IMPAC5 will be hosted by the Government of Canada, alongside the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, the Government of British Columbia, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • International Marine Protected Area Congresses (IMPACs) are a collaborative effort between the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the chosen host country. Canada was awarded the honour of hosting IMPAC5 during the closing ceremonies of IMPAC4 in La Serena-Coquimbo, Chile, in 2017.
  • IMPAC5 will be informed by five themes and three cross-cutting streams that align directly with the UN Ocean Decade mission: Transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our ocean.


For more information, please contact:
Claire Teichman (

Article originally published here.

Read the article in French here.


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