News

New agreement boosts vital scientific collaboration in the Pacific

IOC-UNESCO, 01.07.2022

A new agreement between UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and the leading scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, The Pacific Community (SPC), will boost ocean science collaboration for the world's largest ocean.

Covering areas including early warning systems and risk reduction, ocean literacy and capacity development, the agreement will spur action on Pacific ocean science and increase collaboration on the implementation of the UN Decade of ocean science for sustainable development.

The agreement was signed at the official UN Ocean Conference side event held by The Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and co-organized by IOC-UNESCO where speakers presented Pacific solutions for ocean preservation and reinforced the need for urgent action to maintain ocean health in the face of the triple threats of climate change impacts, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Speaking at the side event, the Deputy Director General of Pacific Community Cameron Driver said, “This new agreement with IOC-UNESCO is an example of how SPC has strengthened its partnerships to take action targeted at strengthening ocean science, increasing cooperation with international experts to complement the Pacific’s own capabilities and responding to needs expressed by our members.”

Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO said, “the Pacific is at the forefront of climate and ocean change. The only way out is action based on knowledge, and knowledge that is co-designed and co-delivered with Pacific expert networks, indigenous communities, and the Governments of the Pacific Community. UNESCO is happy to help move forward toward this objective in the context of the Ocean Decade 2021-2030.”

The 2022 UN Ocean Conference has seen Pacific leaders highlight the central role the ocean plays in the region for its people and its future. The conference has also heard calls from Pacific scientists to halt ‘parachute science’ and build long-term ocean science capacity in region.

Dr. Jerome Aucan, Head of the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science (PCCOS), said “this agreement will streamline ocean science collaboration in the region and enable us to continue to build ocean science capacity in the Pacific.”

Under the agreement, an IOC-UNESCO Programme Officer for Disaster Risk Reduction and Tsunami Warning will be hosted at the Pacific Community (SPC), to manage early warning systems for marine hazards, disaster risk reduction and tsunami projects which will be developed as vital resources for one of the world’s most disaster-prone regions.

The agreement also strengthens ongoing ocean literacy work in the region aimed at developing and encouraging understanding and study of the ocean in the Pacific.

The ocean is the Pacific region’s biggest resource and, with Pacific Island Countries and Territories at the UN Ocean Conference calling for increased investment to maintain ocean health, this agreement strengthens the regions capacity to undertake vital ocean science to ensure a healthy, productive, resilient, and safe ocean for all.

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About IOC-UNESCO:

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.

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.

About the Pacific Community (SPC):

The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, proudly supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 27 country and territory members

The Pacific Community supports sustainable development by applying a people-centred approach to science, research and technology across all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We serve our members by interweaving and harnessing the nexus of climate, ocean, land, culture, rights and good governance; through trusted partnerships; investing in Pacific people; and understanding Pacific contexts.