As a commitment to the 2019 edition of Our Ocean Conference (23-24 October 2019, Oslo, Norway), UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission announced the establishment of a global Alliance to support the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).
The Ocean Decade Alliance is actively recruiting members in the lead up to the 2nd United Nations Ocean Conference (2-6 June 2020, Lisbon, Portugal), where it will be officially presented as a global coalition of ocean actors working together to support, enhance and leverage commitments towards the Decade.
The objective of the Alliance is to form a network of leaders from governments, United Nations organizations, scientific institutions, private sector and philanthropic organizations, among others, who will stimulate and motivate others to commit ambitious investments and efforts to advance concrete ocean science solutions to sustainable development issues.
“All our actions must be knowledge-based. The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will help us by providing ocean science, data and information to inform for our policies”, declared Erna Solberg, Norway Prime Minister in her opening speech.
The announcement was made by Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC’s Executive Secretary during the opening of a side event on Forging Transformative Partnerships for the Decade – co-organized by UNESCO’s IOC and the United Nations Global Compact. Dr. Ryabinin “cordially and enthusiastically invited” all interested actors to join “the Ocean Decade Alliance, a coalition of willing of institutions, agencies, foundations that will be implementing and injecting energy into the Decade”.
Three Alliance will mobilize members around three main tasks:
- Raise awareness about the Decade objectives and activities world-wide and build support to the Decade by all concerned actors;
- Create a platform demonstrating the role and power of science in providing solutions for ocean sustainability; and
- Establish a broad international network that stimulates actions and commitments in the framework of the UN Decade at all societal levels.
By joining the Alliance, members agree to abide by the following principles:
- Promote and communicate the importance and value of ocean science at all level of society;
- Support the development of inter-operable ocean knowledge systems as a decision support tool and means to deliver effectively information to those who need it;
- Apply good scientific practice and ethics for publicly funded ocean science, and engage end-users from the design phase;
- Integrate an ecosystem-based approach in policy making, e,g. maritime spatial planning at the global, regional and local level;
- Facilitate the development and deployment of innovative technologies and solutions;
- Support individual and institutional capacity development, especially in least developed countries and Small Island Developing States;
- Contribute with funding and/or in-kind contribution to the Decade activities;
- Increase national support towards ocean science, and research relevant infrastructures;
- Adhere to the principle of free, open and accessible data;
- Be committed to undertake outreach activities to stimulate international and interdisciplinary collaboration.
Beyond the launch of the Ocean Decade Alliance, UNESCO’s IOC and the UN Decade of Ocean Science Secretariat also highlighted the importance of using ocean science to strengthen the capacities of all countries to contribute to a more sustainable ocean, in particular the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who are at already facing severe challenges from climate change and ocean pollution impacts.
Aiming for universal inclusiveness, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will offer a wide platform to advance the agendas of key ocean communities and stakeholders, including SIDS, traditional knowledge, and early career ocean professionals.