January 15 2024/Kiel. The German Ocean Decade Committee (ODK) is dedicated to implementing the international goals of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in Germany. As of today, 15 newly appointed members are taking on this voluntary role, supported by eight prominent ambassadors, including Boris Herrmann and Arved Fuchs. Since August 2023, Ulrike Heine has been the full-time coordinator at the helm of the ODK, which is based at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.
The United Nations has declared the years 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. During this decade, the foundations for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans are to be laid. The German Ocean Decade Committee (Ozeandekade-Komitee, ODK) is committed to implementing the internationally defined tasks and goals in Germany. The committee members work on a voluntarily basis and are appointed for a period of three years. They come from the fields of science, business, non-governmental organisations, administration, politics, and foundations. Now, in mid-January 2024, the first cohort of the ODK is being replaced, and 15 newly appointed members are starting their work.
Also new starting in January: Eight public figures will support the committee as ambassadors (“Botschafter”) through targeted communication, helping to raise public awareness for marine conservation and research. The ODK has secured prominent personalities for this honorary role, including professional sailor Boris Herrmann, futurist and founder Monika Griefahn, marine biologist and author Julia Schnetzer, journalist Lars Abromeit, polar explorer and author Arved Fuchs, lawyer Anna von Rebay, extreme athlete André Wiersig, and Björn Both, lead singer of the German band “Santiano” and a sailor.
Since August 2023, the ODK has had a full-time coordinator, Dr Ulrike Heine, who is setting up the contact point for information on the Ocean Decade. This position is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and its projects are supported in particular by the German Marine Research Alliance (Deutsche Allianz Meeresforschung, DAM). The coordinator is providing organisational support to the committee and developing initiatives with the now 80 network partner institutions. In addition to its virtual home on the website https://ozeandekade.de, the ODK’s physical office is located at the network partner GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany. “Over the next three years, we want to get even more people excited about the ocean and involve them as stakeholders in sustainable ocean management,” says Ulrike Heine.
GEOMAR Director Professor Dr Katja Matthes: “It is a pleasure for us to support the German contact point at GEOMAR. The German Committee and the network of partners are important platforms for the implementation of concrete initiatives and pioneering measures to bring about positive change for the ocean”.
The German Ocean Decade Committee works with many partners from society, business and science, including the DAM and the German Marine Research Consortium (Konsortium Deutsche Meeresforschung, KDM), to achieve the goals of the Ocean Decade. Over the past three years, the ODK has supported, amongst others, early career ocean professionals as well as educational initiatives. The ODK actively promotes better links between science and stakeholder in the maritime economy sector and provides political advice.
The German Ocean Decade Committee 2024-2027:
Antje Boetius, Stefan Bülow, Cornelius Eich, Karin Kammann-Klippstein, Alexis Katechakis, Steffen Knodt, Anne-Marie Melster, Kim Nierobisch, Marja Ritterfeld, Susanne Stampf-Sedlitzky, Nuri Max Steinmann, Martin Visbeck, Holger Watter, Ute Wilhelmsen, Nadja Ziebarth
Ambassadors of the German Committee for the UN Ocean Decade:
Lars Abromeit, Björn Both, Arved Fuchs, Monika Griefahn, Boris Herrmann, Anna von Rebay, Julia Schnetzer, André Wiersig