The main motivation for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and create improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean. The Decade Coordination Unit will be located within the IOC Secretariat.
See Ocean Decade: Implementation Plan Version 2.0 (August 2020)
The mission of the Decade is: Transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our ocean. The Decade will harness, stimulate and empower interdisciplinary ocean research at all levels, to support the timely delivery of the data, information and knowledge needed to achieve a well-functioning ocean in support of all SDGs of the 2030 Agenda. The Decade will not set ocean policy but will provide a framework to motivate ocean science and research that can increase understanding and inform policy and decision-making.
Ocean Literacy contributes to capacity development and is defined as the understanding of human influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on people. Throughout the Decade, Ocean Literacy will play a key role in promoting sound public marine policy, fostering more responsible behaviours, encouraging more ocean aware corporate practices, and stimulating young people to start a career in the sustainable ocean economy, ocean science, marine policy, or ocean conservation and management.
The following seven Ocean Decade Outcomes describe the ‘ocean we want’ at the end of the Decade.
1. A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and reduced or removed,
2. A healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are understood, protected, restored and managed,
3. A productive ocean supporting sustainable food supply and a sustainable ocean economy,
4. A predicted ocean where society understands and can respond to changing ocean conditions,
5. A safe ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards,
6. An accessible ocean with open and equitable access to data, information and technology and innovation,
7. An inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean in relation to human wellbeing and sustainable development.
The Ocean Decade Challenges represent the highest level of the Decade Action Framework. They articulate the most immediate priorities for the Decade. The present set of ten Ocean Decade Challenges are as follows:
Knowledge and Solutions Challenges·
- Challenge 1: Understand and map land and sea-based sources of pollutants and contaminants and their potential impacts on human health and ocean ecosystems, and develop solutions to remove or mitigate them.
- Challenge 2: Understand the effects of multiple stressors on ocean ecosystems, and develop solutions to monitor, protect, manage and restore ecosystems and their biodiversity under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.
- Challenge 3: Generate knowledge, support innovation, and develop solutions to optimise the role of the ocean in sustainably feeding the world’s population under changing environmental,social and climate conditions.
- Challenge 4: Generate knowledge, support innovation, and develop solutions for equitable and sustainable development of the ocean economy under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.·
- Challenge 5: Enhance understanding of the ocean-climate nexus and generate knowledge and solutions to mitigate, adapt and build resilience to the effects of climate change across all geographies and at all scales, and to improve services including predictions for the ocean, climate and weather.
Essential Infrastructure Challenges:
- Challenge 6: Enhance multi-hazard early warning services for all geophysical, ecological, biological, weather, climate and anthropogenic related ocean and coastal hazards, and mainstream community preparedness and resilience.·
- Challenge 7: Ensure a sustainable ocean observing system across all ocean basins that delivers accessible, timely, and actionable data and informationto all users.·
- Challenge 8: Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, develop a comprehensive digital representation of the ocean, including adynamic ocean map, which provides free and open access for exploring, discovering, and visualizing past, current, and future ocean conditions in a manner relevant to diverse stakeholders.
- Challenge 9: Ensure comprehensive capacity development and equitable access to data, information, knowledge and technology across all aspects of ocean science and for all stakeholders.
- Challenge 10: Ensure that the multiple values and services of the ocean for human wellbeing, culture, and sustainable development are widely understood, and identify and overcome barriers to behaviour change required for a step change in humanity’s relationship with the ocean.