The Ocean Decade in Costa Rica: Bridging regional and global ocean action for a resilient future


The Ocean Decade in Costa Rica: Bridging regional and global ocean action for a resilient future

The Ocean Decade in Costa Rica: Bridging regional and global ocean action for a resilient future 1920 1080 Ocean Decade

On the heels of the SIDS4 Conference organized in Antigua and Barbuda in late May, Costa Rica, in turn, hosted the ocean community to mobilize efforts for the protection and sustainable use of this threatened ecosystem at the High-Level Event on Ocean Action: Immersed in Change. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (‘Ocean Decade’) touched down in San José to present its action plan towards global sustainable ocean management but also to outline a roadmap for Decade implementation in the Tropical Americas and Caribbean region.

From 4 to 6 June 2024, ahead of the ‘Immersed in Change’ event, the Ocean Decade Tropical Americas and Caribbean (TAC) Taskforce convened its first in-person meeting. The members reviewed the outcomes of the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference, took stock of progress and discussed the next strategic steps for the implementation of the Decade in the TAC region. They highlighted the diverse nature of the TAC region that will require a tailored approach to Ocean Decade implementation. Amongst the key issues discussed were the importance of the tourism sector’s contribution to a sustainable ocean economy, the need to coordinate action on marine pollution and ecosystem management, as well as the importance of youth engagement and regional cooperation and partnerships. The discussions will form the basis of a regional Ocean Decade roadmap, which will be finalized ahead of the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties 16 (CBD COP16) to be held in Cali, Colombia, in October 2024. The Taskforce also identified the essential conditions required to create an enabling environment for enforcing this regional strategy, including resource mobilization efforts and available financial mechanisms.

Galvanize ocean actions to generate ocean science solutions

The significance of supporting these vulnerable coastlines and oceanic nations underpinned the exchanges at the High-Level Event on Ocean Action: Immersed in Change – the preparatory meeting to the 2025 United Nations Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of France and Costa Rica in Nice in June 2025. Leaders and government authorities, civil society, the scientific community, and the private sector covered diverse ocean topics including fishing resources, the ocean economy, marine technology, the effective implementation of global agreements, and resource mobilization.

With a series of side events, the Ocean Decade presented and discussed The Barcelona Statement, shared co-design practices, and illustrated successful Decade Actions.

“Two months ago, the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona identified patterns of ocean decline and formulated priority action areas for all stakeholders,” said Julian Barbière, Global Coordinator of the Ocean Decade and Head of Marine Policy and Regional Coordination at UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC). “Today, in Costa Rica, we are presenting a comprehensive, adaptive, and inclusive roadmap to guide the global community towards a healthy and resilience ocean through all facets of ocean science.”

Towards gender equality in ocean science

Inclusivity, including through gender equality, is a tenet of the Ocean Decade, with many endorsed initiatives aiming to enhance women leadership in ocean science. During a side event on 6 June, the Empowering Women for the Ocean Decade Programme announced the launch of its Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan titled ‘Towards gender equality in ocean science and ocean governance: Gender equality strategy and action plan for ocean-related institutions. The goal is to promote gender equality as a central pillar in ocean-related organizations through concrete indicators and goals, which will guide their Member States and enhance synergy and collaboration.

Charting a course from Barcelona to San José and beyond

Organized by the Ocean Decade on 7 June, this flagship event provided an overview of the Barcelona Statement, the main outcome of the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference. Aiming to guide the global ocean science agenda, this crucial roadmap for the Ocean Decade identified the areas where ocean solutions must be accelerated. Based on their field of expertise, the speakers showcased successful examples of how to strengthen national engagement and impact, increase the inclusivity of all knowledge systems, and ensure Decade implementation across the science-policy-society interface. These illustrations enabled participants to discover how the priority recommendations from the Statement can be translated into actionable and impactful short- and long-term initiatives for sustainable ocean management.

Click here to read the full Barcelona Statement.

On 8 June, participation of the Ocean Decade concluded with participation in two side events dedicated to source-to-sea management and coastal resilience of cities to ocean hazards. The Starting at the source to save the ocean: Coordinated action to achieve SDG 14’ event introduced a game-changing approach, bridging land, freshwater, coastal, and marine resources in managing healthy ecosystems. High-level experts, including Ocean Decade Deputy Coordinator Alison Clausen, emphasized the impact of upstream activities on ocean health, sharing lessons on breaking down silos, and taking coordinated action for resilient source-to-sea systems.

The side event ‘The Ocean Rise and Resilience Coalition: Adapting coastal cities and regions to ocean hazards’ – led by the Ocean and Climate Platform, in charge of the Ocean Decade endorsed SEA’TIES project – put forward the empowerment of coastal communities through exchange of best practices and adaptation solutions. This includes strengthening scientific cooperation, ensuring access to real-time, reliable, and integrated data, and mobilizing diverse financial, technological, and human resources. This new Coalition will collaborate  with the Ocean Decade’s Cities with the Ocean platform, recently unveiled at the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference, ahead of the first Ocean Decade Coastal Cities Conference to be held in Qingdao, China, in early 2025.

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) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.

About the UNESCO-IOC:

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC) 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.


The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want





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