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02-09-2019

UNESCO launches Ocean Literacy programme in Brazil

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

United Nations / Ocean Science & Technology / Ocean Policy & Sustainable Development / Business & Industry / Donors & Foundations

Whether we realize it or not, our life and routine are connected daily to the ocean. Our climate, food, history and economy – amongst many other things – are directly influenced by the ocean. And this is true for everyone, those who live in the coastal areas and for all those who live far from the coast too. Simply put, our relationship with the ocean should be recognized as a culture – an ocean culture that involves that involves knowledge, respect, art, customs and is embroidered into the fabric of our lives.

In this context, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) launched its Ocean Literacy programme, including an online portal to promote awareness and exchange of knowledge, and a teaching guide and toolkit to mainstream ocean literacy into schools worldwide. Promoting Ocean Literacy is one of UNESCO’s goals for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (the Ocean Decade), which the United Nations (UN) has proclaimed for the years 2021 to 2030.

This week, through a partnership between the Federal University of São Paulo’s Maré de Ciência Project and the Secretariat of Environment of the Santos Municipality, a Portuguese translation of IOC’s “Ocean Literacy for all: A toolkit” will be released for use in public and private schools throughout the state of São Paulo and, ultimately, anywhere in Brazil.

The Portuguese kit will be formally launched during an event on 5-6 September in Santos, Brazil’s largest port city. The launch will be attended by staff from UNESCO’s IOC, notably the kit’s author Francesca Santoro, coordinator of the organization’s Ocean Literacy program, and Vinicius Lindoso, IOC Communication Officer. Cultura Oceânica, the Brazilian term for Ocean Literacy, is an invitation for schools, companies, NGOs, government, universities, communities, citizens, each and every one of us, to recognize the role of the ocean in our lives, to talk about its importance, to recognize our influence on the ocean, think about our behaviors and propose actions, public policies, and innovative tools that help conserve the ocean and ensure the quality of life for future generations. The launch event in Santos will be an opportunity for recognizing and valuing what has already been done in this area in different countries and boost new actions and discussions.

The launch event for the Ocean Literacy materials is organized in three stages. On the afternoon of 5 September, the Ocean Decade will be presented to government representatives and educators, and Ms Santoro will give a lecture on ocean literacy and its potential for application in Brazil. The same afternoon, there will be discussion on different approaches to promote Ocean Literacy in inland areas of the country, far from the coast, with reports on the theme of ocean pollution from schools in cities far from the sea: São Paulo (70 km), Rio Claro (200 km) and Ribeirão Preto (350 km). The Oceanos para Leigos (Ocean for lay people) Project will also report on the use of social media to promote Ocean Literacy in both coastal and inland cities.

On the second day, the programme will continue in partnership with the British Council, addressing the role of social engagement and innovation to strengthen Ocean Literacy, discussing approaches in schools and communities, as well as discussing the role of public policies for environmental education. In the afternoon, there will be discussion about the role of women in science, with the presentation of the Liga das Mulheres pelo Oceano (League of Women for the Ocean) and the launch of the challenge “Women at Sea”, which will take place in September and October: an invitation to all women to share their perspectives on Ocean Literacy.

At each session, experts and authorities will discuss future steps to promote Ocean Literacy in Brazil. Participating institutions include: British Council, FAPESP, CNPq, SESC, Boticário Group Foundation, WWF Brazil, SOS Atlantic Forest, EcoSurf, Colégio Magno de São Paulo, Colégio Koelle de Rio Claro, Colégio Marista de Ribeirão Preto, as well as the Coordination for Environmental Education of the Department of Environment of the State of São Paulo. Journalists and researchers will also participate, bringing their perspectives to discussions.

The event is free and will take place on 5 September (14.00-18.00) and 6 September (9.00-18.00) at the Association of Engineers and Architects of Santos (Dr. Arthur Porchat Street of Assis, 47 - Boqueirão, Santos - SP). The complete schedule and registration for physical participation can be found online (www.maredeciencia.com.br) and the whole event will be broadcast live over the internet in partnership with the Oceanos para Leigos Project, allowing online participation and interaction with discussions through questions and comments.

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