The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission launches the Global Ocean Science Report 2020

The Global Ocean Science Report 2020 (GOSR2020) offers a global record of how, where and by whom ocean science is conducted, charting ocean science capacity for sustainable development.

On 14 December, during the 60th Anniversary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the GOSR2020 was launched. The report is a resource for policymakers, academics and other stakeholders seeking to assess progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN 2030 Agenda, in particular, the SDG target 14.a on scientific knowledge, research capacity and transfer of marine technology. 

The findings of GOSR2020 are based on primary data provided by IOC’s member states. The report shows the status and the trends in ocean science. It analyses the workforce, infrastructures, equipment, funding, investments, publications, data flow and exchange policies, as well as national strategies. It also monitors our capacity to understand the ocean and seize new opportunities. 

“On average only 1.7% of national research budgets are allocated for ocean science. This is a small portion compared to the 1.5 trillion dollar contribution of the ocean to the global economy in 2010.”

Jan Mess, Co-Chair of GOSR2020

GOSR2020 is a successor to their 2017 report. The new report addresses four additional topics: contribution of ocean science to sustainable development; blue patent applications; extended gender analysis; and capacity development in ocean science.

Key findings from the report state:

  • Ocean science funding is largely inadequate, undermining the ability of ocean science to support sustainable provisions of ocean ecosystem services to humanity. 
  • Ocean science continues to underrepresent women, particularly in highly technical categories 
  • The technical capacity of ocean science remains unequally distributed among countries and regions 
  • Ocean data and information are inadequately supported, which hampers open access and data sharing
  • Ocean research has direct implications on sustainable development policies, management strategies and action plans of multiple societal structures. 

The GOSR2020 process offeres a systemic approach to measure ocean science capacity internationally in line with SDG target 14.a.

The report is available through a dedicated portal and a summary is available in 6 languages. 


The ISC supports the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will begin in 2021.

Find out more about our work on the ocean decade.

Photo by Andrzej Kryszpiniuk on Unsplash

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