Ocean science is unevenly distributed across geographies, generations and genders. According to the 2020 Global Ocean Science Report (GOSR), transformative advancements in ocean science are primarily led by developed, high-income countries. To support individuals and institutions in developing the skills to deliver sustainable and science-based ocean solutions worldwide, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (‘Ocean Decade’) has launched a new Capacity Development Facility.
Launched during the International Symposium of the United Nations Regular Process on strengthening the ocean science-policy interface, held on 12-13 December 2023 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, the Capacity Development Facility marks the Ocean Decade’s concrete contribution to filling these gaps across all aspects of ocean knowledge and for all stakeholders.
“The Ocean Decade Capacity Development Facility will help us develop capacity both in ocean science and will also build other essential skills that individuals and institutions need to effectively work across the ocean science-policy nexus,” introduced Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).
Drawing on IOC’s decades-long experience in capacity development, the new mechanism will function as a needs-driven and collaborative platform that facilitates innovative, cross-disciplinary knowledge exchanges between practitioners and users. Over an initial phase of 24 months, it will implement a set of training activities and mobilize in-kind and financial support to strengthen existing national and regional resources and networks.
“No matter where you are in the world, no one person, institution or nation has the capacity to do it all,” explained Julian Barbière, Global Coordinator of the Ocean Decade at IOC/UNESCO “The Facility is about making things easier and faster to support capacity development initiatives within the Decade and bringing people together. “We invite you to take part and play an active role in this initiative!”
Capacity development underpins all 10 Ocean Decade Challenges and is an integral part of each Decade Action, with particular focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs). The new Facility will support existing Decade Actions as well as proponents wishing to engage in co-design of future Decade Actions by identifying their capacity development needs, then delivering initiatives that respond to these needs. It will also facilitate a Community of Practice focusing on capacity development.
In this context, the current Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023 aims to fill gaps in knowledge and capacity development through a tailored and inclusive participatory process to co-design Decade Actions in Africa and Caribbean SIDS. As part of this Call, the Marine Institute of Ireland through its ‘Our Shared Ocean’ Programme will provide support to develop the necessary skills for co-design in Caribbean SIDS, while support from Norway will focus on support and mentoring for African partners.
The Ocean Decade Capacity Development Facility was established with funding from the Government of Flanders, building on earlier commitments in supporting IOC-led Ocean Decade Actions OceanTeacher Global Academy, e-DNA Expeditions, PacMAN and Ocean InfoHub.
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