Ocean Leadership in the Ocean Decade: UNESCO Launches Endorsed Actions

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission have announced more than 60 programmes and contributions in the inaugural batch of endorsed Ocean Decade actions.

Led by diverse groups, from industry, philanthropy, government, international organisations, civil society and science, the flagship endorsed actions will work towards the Ocean Decade vision of  ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’.

The broad-ranging vision is reflected in the thematic diversity of the actions, from technological innovation in exploration and data collection; monitoring and reduction of ocean threats such as biodiversity loss, water quality and underwater noise; sustainable and resilient fisheries; and cross-cutting inclusivity initiatives relating to indigenous knowledge, gender and early career engagement.

Inclusive and equitable ocean leadership also appears as a theme. This is thanks in part to 2020 Ocean Leader Harriet Harden-Davies, who played a key role in shaping the endorsed programmes, Early Career Ocean Professionals and Ocean Voices.

The mission of Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) is to incorporate ‘new ways of thinking into global ocean sustainability and stewardship challenges through diverse engagement’. It will achieve this by empowering ECOPs with networking and professional development opportunities to engage with each other, experienced researchers, and local to global institutions.

The focus of the Ocean Voices programme is to understand the actors involved in the Decade, their culture and wellbeing, and how power dynamics and decision-making processes influence our ocean and the ability to achieve the Decade goals. It will conduct research, incubate ideas, facilitate discussions and build partnerships with the aim to identify barriers, pathways and enabling conditions for equity in the Decade.

 A full list of the endorsed Ocean Decade Actions is available here

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