Co-designing the science we need for the Ocean we want

A new publication developed with input from the International Science Council aims to build capacity and common understanding on co-design for a transformation in ocean management.

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The launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in June 2021 was a recognition of the crucial role of the Ocean in moving towards a more equitable, more sustainable planet, and a call for catalysing the transformative potential of science. As the Ocean is becoming warmer, more acidic and depleted in oxygen, this call has never been more urgent. The International Science Council (ISC) supports this aim as a partner of the Ocean Decade, which is implemented by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO).

To further explore the kind of co-designed science that can support transformative ocean actions and identify key obstacles, challenges and opportunities, IOC-UNESCO has now published ‘Co-designing the Science We Need for the Ocean We Want: Guidance and Recommendations for Collaborative Approaches to Designing and Implementing Decade Actions’. This discussion note draws on a series of global and regional webinars organized by IOC-UNESCO in partnership with the ISC in late 2020, which brought together 2100 participants from around the world.

Co-designing the Science We Need for the Ocean We Want

Guidance and Recommendations for Collaborative Approaches to Designing and Implementing Decade Actions

The first global webinar explored opportunities and challenges of transdisciplinary research, as well as best practices to deliver co-designed, solution-oriented research:

Find out more about this session and access the slides here.

The second webinar took a deeper look at how the Ocean Decade would support innovative co-designed, solution-oriented research:

Find out more and access the slides from this session here.

The discussion note offers a solid starting point for stakeholders on the ‘what, why and how’ they can join efforts to co-design and co-deliver salient, credible and legitimate ocean knowledge actions and solutions. It underscores the urgent need for the Ocean Decade to promote and facilitate science that is solutions-focused, that reaches across disciplines and actively integrates natural and social science disciplines, and that is co-designed and co-delivered in a multi-stakeholder environment in order to be relevant and responsive.

The document highlights approaches that can be used to co-design and co-deliver specific Ocean Decade Actions, as well as commonly experienced challenges and constraints in doing this kind of co-designed research. Some of the most common concerns revealed by scientists, practitioners, funders and other stakeholders across all regions include a lack of skills, experience and appreciation of the need for transdisciplinary engagement. This new publication aims to go some way towards overcoming those barriers, and the Ocean Decade will continue to promote co-design and co-delivery through the establishment of a global platform to convene communities of practice and co-design Decade Actions, as well as through a tailored training programme on co-design, which will be developed in partnership with the ISC.

Find out more about the Ocean Decade Actions and how to get involved in the various programmes and projects here.


Photo: Souza Sergio on Unsplash.

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