News

Norway continues its support to UNESCO with focus on ocean science for sustainability

IOC-UNESCO, 01.12.2022

A leading donor to UNESCO over the past four years, Norway has reaffirmed its support to the core programmatic work of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) including capacity development and the engagement of developing countries in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

Norway will contribute a total of 14.5 million Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD 1.4 million) to continue supporting UNESCO in mobilising ocean scientific research and knowledge-based solutions to advance the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Norway, through the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), will provide 13 million Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD 1.3 million) in support of the UN Ocean Decade 2021-2030 (Ocean Decade) as well as core activities of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in their efforts to support developing countries in enhancing knowledge for climate action, biodiversity, water and ocean management, and disaster risk reduction. The Agreement signed in November 2022 renews and reaffirms the long-standing cooperation between Norway and IOC-UNESCO.

In addition, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research (MoER) simultaneously renewed its contribution to IOC-UNESCO for the fourth consecutive year, for an amount of 1.5 million Norwegian Kroner (approximately USD 151,000). The MoER contribution will strengthen core IOC programmes based on the priorities collectively agreed by Member States.

“Sustainable oceans are key to future food security. We are proud to support the UN Ocean Decade, to benefit sustainable management of the ocean and coastal zones. We applaud the vital work of the IOC in ensuring scientific cooperation between developing countries in this area,” said Norway’s Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.

The Ocean Decade was proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly 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. It 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.

Norad’s new contribution will strengthen the Ocean Decade’s ability to integrate and build the capacities of ocean professionals, including early career professionals, in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), catalysing their involvement in the development of new Decade Actions, based on agreed regional and national priorities.

Another part of the Norad contribution to the Ocean Decade will enable IOC-UNESCO to initiate the development of a new Ocean Decade programme focusing on sustainable ocean planning. This new global initiative will help countries align with the commitments of the members of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy to sustainably manage 100% of their exclusive economic zones by 2025. The Norwegian contribution will also reinforce the scientific capacity of the Ocean Decade’s Coordination Unit as it enters a new phase of strategic ambition setting for the Ocean Decade Challenges.

Beyond the Ocean Decade, Norad is also supporting the core programme of IOC-UNESCO, including capacity development activities with particular focus on increasing the number of SIDS communities recognized as “Tsunami Ready”, and on developing a pilot in the Caribbean region of the IOC-UNESCO Ocean Best Practices project aimed at facilitating international open exchange and collaboration around ocean data and information.

“Ocean science and sustainable development need to work hand in hand. Both require global, collective efforts to ensure that we are generating the best knowledge and transforming it into innovative solutions for societal challenges, from ending hunger to addressing climate change and protecting coastal communities. Norway’s longstanding commitment to the IOC, and in particular around the Ocean Decade, is a perfect example of how Member States can support UNESCO’s core mission through a constructive and effective approach,” said Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary and Assistant Director-General of the IOC-UNESCO.

Multi-pronged commitments to UNESCO

Norway has traditionally been a leading donor to IOC-UNESCO, and has been fully engaged in the Ocean Decade throughout the preparation phase from 2018 to 2020. Since the start, Norway has been an active partner in the Decade including via development of a national action plan for the Decade and the establishment of a multi-stakeholder National Decade Committee.

Norway is a leading member of the Ocean Decade Alliance. In February 2022, Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre accepted UNESCO’s invitation to become a Patron of the Alliance, on the occasion of the One Ocean Summit (Brest, France). An imminent group of individuals and institutions, the Ocean Decade Alliance aims to catalyse support for the Ocean Decade through targeted resource mobilization, networking and influence, leveraging and multiplying financial and in-kind resource commitments.

***

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.

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.