In the context of global celebrations for World Oceans Day, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission announced the first Actions officially endorsed as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, 2021-2030 (the ‘Ocean Decade’).
“From restoring the Great Barrier Reef to mapping 100% of the ocean floor in high resolution, these innovative programmes and contributions make up the first set of Ocean Decade Actions that will contribute to help deliver the ocean we want by 2030” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
Led by diverse proponents from science, government, civil society, United Nations agencies, the private sector, philanthropy and international organizations, these flagship Ocean Decade Actions are characterized by their wide geographical reach.
Subject to a competitive selection process with hundreds of applications, the endorsed Actions were selected for their focus on solutions and ability to accelerate the generation and uptake of ocean knowledge for sustainable development; for their use of innovative technology; for their transdisciplinary efforts to co-design solutions between scientists and users of ocean knowledge; and for their respect of inclusivity, empowering women, early-career professionals and indigenous knowledge holders across their activities.
The thematic diversity of the endorsed Actions is reflected in initiatives to expand deep sea research and exploration of the enigmatic twilight zone of the ocean (from 200 to 1000m); development of knowledge and solutions to reduce multiple pressures on marine ecosystems including from climate change, biodiversity loss, underwater noise or pollution; the use of innovative technology to collect data on the state of the ocean and use that data to make decisions about its management; and measures to improve sustainable management and resilience of fish stocks.
The cultural values of the ocean are a cross cutting theme across many of the Decade Actions with specific initiatives to improve ocean literacy around the world, and a specific workstream to unlock ocean knowledge and benefits for the Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS). A range of other endorsed Ocean Decade Actions aim to ensure that no one is left behind over the next ten years with initiatives that aim to boost inclusivity in ocean science around genders, generations and geographies.
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