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The Ocean Decade in a nutshell

What is it?

Launched in January 2021, the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), the ‘Ocean Decade’, provides a convening framework for a wide range of stakeholders across the world to engage and collaborate outside their traditional communities to trigger nothing less than a revolution in ocean science.

Throughout the Ocean Decade, partners will generate the data, information and knowledge needed for more robust science-informed policies and stronger science-policy interfaces at global, regional, national and even local levels. By collectively aligning research, investments and initiatives around a set of common challenges, the Ocean Decade community will contribute to a well functioning, productive, resilient, sustainable and inspiring ocean.

Ocean Decade Vision: ‘The science we need for the ocean we want.’

Ocean Decade Mission: ‘Transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our ocean.’

How is it being implemented?

Building on existing achievements in ocean science, the Ocean Decade stimulates action at all levels while catalyzing transformation to deliver change across all geographies, genders, sectors, disciplines and generations.

Ocean Decade Actions are the tangible initiatives carried out across the globe over the course of the Decade to achieve “the science we need for the ocean we want”. Hundreds of Actions are being implemented globally today, with many more expected over the next eight years, by research institutes, governments, UN entities, intergovernmental organizations, business and industry, philanthropic and corporate foundations, NGOs, ocean sports, educators, community groups, and more.

Actions contribute to fulfilling the 10 Ocean Decade Challenges, which articulate the most immediate priorities for the Ocean Decade:

  1. Understand and beat marine pollution
  2. Protect and restore ecosystems and biodiversity
  3. Sustainably feed the global population
  4. Develop a sustainable and equitable ocean economy
  5. Unlock ocean-based solutions to climate change
  6. Increase community resilience to ocean hazards
  7. Expand the global ocean observing system
  8. Create a digital representation of the ocean
  9. Skills, knowledge and technology for all
  10. Change humanity’s relationship with the ocean

An Ocean Decade Alliance was established to leverage and multiply financial and in-kind resource commitments towards the Ocean Decade. Consisting of 10 Patrons and 18 institutional members, this network of eminent partners of the Ocean Decade leads by example to drive support for the Decade through targeted resource mobilization, networking and influence.

Who coordinates it?

The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the only UN body responsible for supporting global ocean science and services, to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Ocean Decade. Within the IOC Secretariat, the Decade Coordination Unit is the centralized coordination structure in charge of endorsing Decade Actions, facilitating connections between Actions and resource providers, and coordinating communication and engagement activities for and between key stakeholder groups, among others.

The Decade Coordination Unit is supported by decentralized coordination structures, including those hosted by other UN agencies, governments, international or regional organizations and other partners.

A Decade Advisory Board was also set up to provide strategic advice on the implementation of the Ocean Decade. The 15 experts selected by the IOC/UNESCO for the period 2024-2025, hailing from over a dozen countries, come from government, private sector, philanthropy, civil society and the scientific community.

You, too, can be part of the ocean knowledge revolution. Join us to co-design and co-deliver transformative ocean science solutions to create the Ocean We Want!


The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want





Join #OceanDecade

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