Ireland and the Ocean Decade partnering to support co-design of transformative ocean science for Caribbean SIDS


Ireland and the Ocean Decade partnering to support co-design of transformative ocean science for Caribbean SIDS

Ireland and the Ocean Decade partnering to support co-design of transformative ocean science for Caribbean SIDS 1800 1350 Ocean Decade

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) rely heavily on the ocean to support human health and wellbeing. This connection between SIDS and the ocean is under threat from multiple stressors that create challenges for sustainable development. To help address this issue, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (‘Ocean Decade’) is partnering with the Government of Ireland to support Caribbean SIDS in co-designing effective science-based ocean solutions.

Thirty-eight per cent of Decade Actions reported that they carried out some activities in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Ocean Decade’s latest annual progress report; however, less than 3 per cent of Decade Actions are led by SIDS partners on the ground. Catalyzing actions to build resilience and achieve sustainable development in SIDS is therefore one of the major priorities of the Decade.

Transformative ocean science requires bringing all relevant stakeholders together for the co-design and co-delivery of initiatives that best respond to local, national and regional contexts. The more deeply users are involved in identifying the problems and their potential solutions, the better fit and the more empowered they will be to apply these solutions.

However, when attempting to use co-design frameworks, scientists and stakeholders often find themselves facing barriers including a lack of skills and experience, and difficulty implementing a transdisciplinary approach.

Launched on 15 October, Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023 aims to fill gaps in ocean knowledge and capacity development for Caribbean SIDS through a tailored and inclusive participatory process to co-design Decade Actions that meet local and regional needs.

“The concept of co-design is fundamental when talking about transformative science in the context of the Ocean Decade,” said Julian Barbière, Global Coordinator of the Ocean Decade. “By remaining open, inclusive, and welcoming to new voices, the co-design support and mentoring that we will offer will help foster knowledge generation and partnerships to address the specific needs of Caribbean SIDS.”

Over several months, successful applicants from Caribbean SIDS will be mentored toward conceptualization and development of robust Decade Actions thanks to the financial support of the Marine Institute of Ireland, lead institution of the ‘Our Shared Ocean’ Programme. The Programme, which is an official contribution to the Ocean Decade, recognizes the important role of SIDS in relation to global ocean governance and their capacity to develop innovative responses, and facilitates partnerships on ocean-related issues between research institutions in SIDS and in Ireland.

The multi-annual collaboration funded by Irish Aid and administered by the Marine Institute will provide €3.8 million over the next five years to facilitate partnerships on ocean-related issues globally.

“Through this contribution to the Ocean Decade, Ireland responds to the challenges facing many SIDS, recognizing that our fellow islanders are on the front line of the impact of climate change and are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and extreme weather events,” stated David O’Sullivan, Programme Manager of Our Shared Ocean.

Led by the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), and involving a range of Ocean Decade partners, the capacity development and mentoring programme will offer thematic, methodological and theoretical expertise to develop the necessary skills and explore new approaches in co-design processes.

This initiative is in line with the recently launched Statement of Collaboration with the SIDS Coalition for Nature, which aims to accelerate ocean action for sustainable development of SIDS.

Learn more about co-design in the Ocean Decade in this publication.

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/UNESCO) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.


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.

About the Marine Institute of Ireland:

The Marine Institute is the state agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland. It provides government, public agencies and the maritime industry with a range of scientific, advisory and economic development services that inform policy-making, regulation and the sustainable management and growth of Ireland’s marine resources.

About Our Shared Ocean:

Through Ireland’s development cooperation programme, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Marine Institute (MI) have established ‘Our Shared Ocean’ to support research, knowledge exchange and capacity building in partnership with Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The programme will run until December 2026 with a total investment of €3.8 million funded by the DFA, and administered by the MI. Our Shared Ocean will establish and grow research partnerships between Irish institutions and international counterparts, providing research and technical support to assist eligible SIDS in addressing specific ocean and climate related challenges within one of three thematic pillars:

  • Oceans and Climate Action
  • Inclusive and Sustainable Blue Economy
  • Marine Policy and Ocean Governance


The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want





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