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The ocean we need for the future we want

Human-society interactions with the ocean were high on the agenda at the first Global Planning Meeting for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, 13-15 May 2019.

The meeting brought together over 200 participants from research, policy, civil society and the private sector to discuss how to achieve the aims of the Decade for an ocean that is clean, healthy, resilient, safe, sustainable, protected, predicted, transparent and accessible.

The Council was represented at the meeting by Colin Devey, a representative of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and by Martin Visbeck, a member of the ISC’s Governing Board and member of the Executive Planning Group of the UN Decade. Colin Devey presented during the panel session on ‘Transparent and accessible ocean’ on 13 May, calling for the Ocean Decade to foster an ‘Ocean Generation’ of children who are fascinated by and knowledgeable about the ocean, noting that they will be voting adults by the end of the Decade.

Further discussions also explored how to mobilize research and funding around major science breakthroughs, such as a deep-sea observing system or global map of the seafloor, and how scientific knowledge could define pathways to ocean sustainability in line with the aims of the Decade.

‘Ocean Data and Information should become a global public good that should be accessible by all and used in an open and transparent way,’ said Martin Visbeck.

The conclusions of the meeting re-iterated the importance of increasing capacity for ocean research and understanding, promoting ocean literacy and understanding of the role of science to generate deeper and solutions-oriented knowledge about present and future changes to the ocean, and encouraging discovery and innovation for more sustainable human-ocean interactions. Participants highlighted the importance of international scientific collaboration, as no single nation can deliver the knowledge needed for the ocean we want. ISC stands ready to mobilize the ocean science community thanks to its global and interdisciplinary membership and international scientific initiatives, including Future Earth and its Ocean Knowledge-Action-Network Development Team, SCOR, Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), and the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme.

Momentum builds towards the launch of the Decade

A number of regional workshops will take place between July 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, and a second Global Planning Meeting is scheduled for May 2020.

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