News

Inception meetings of two new National Decade Committees highlight country-level engagement in the Ocean Decade

IOC-UNESCO, 24.11.2022

The National Decade Committees of France and the United Kingdom recently held their first meetings, discussing current and future engagement in the Ocean Decade at the countrywide level.

As dynamic Ocean Decade actors, National Decade Committees are country-level, multi-stakeholder platforms that convene key national institutions concerned with the ocean and its management.

National Decade Committees bridge and engage the ocean community across their country, identify ocean science priorities and facilitate the co-design of Decade Actions. As hosts that can facilitate regional or sub-regional meetings on the Ocean Decade, National Decade Committees have a unique vantage point to be able to engage a wide variety of important perspectives.

The French National Decade Committee held its first national symposium on the Decade in July 2022 at the Océanopolis Aquarium in Brest, Brittany. The “Embark on the Ocean Decade” event highlighted the various programmes, projects and contributions of French actors involved in the Ocean Decade. The interventions were focused around the concepts of the digital ocean (observation and modelling), which are linked to Ocean Decade Challenge 8, and ocean culture, linked to Ocean Decade Challenge 10.

The symposium welcomed 150 participants simultaneously in person and online. France’s National Decade Committee will continue organizing similar exchanges regularly to strengthen national contributions to the Ocean Decade.

The United Kingdom’s National Decade Committee held its first in-person workshop in late September 2022 in London. With government representatives and members from across the ocean science community, the Committee mixes established researchers with early career ocean professionals to champion the Ocean Decade.

At the workshop, participants developed plans for collaboration, including how to inspire and coordinate engagement with the Ocean Decade in the UK. The discussions were supported by members sharing their own insights and lessons learned from building communication through marine governance research, experiences of communicating with and inspiring local communities to engage with environmental issues, ranging to experts from the healthcare profession and in inspiring cultural heritage. The Decade Coordination Unit also took part to share updates and help support the Committee’s approaches.

To date, 31 National Decade Committees have been officially established. The Decade Coordination Unit encourages all Member States to establish their own National Decade Committees, which are key to linking national action to the global Ocean Decade framework, as well as to exchange with existing National Decade Committees to benefit from their insights and best practice.

For more information, please contact:
Olivier Dufourneaud (o.dufourneaud@unesco.org)

***

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.