UN Ocean Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development


The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.

The marine realm is the largest component of the Earth’s system that stabilizes climate and support life on Earth and human well-being. However, the First World Ocean Assessment released in 2016 found that much of the ocean is now seriously degraded, with changes and losses in the structure, function and benefits from marine systems.  In addition, the impact of multiple stressors on the ocean is projected to increase as the human population grows towards the expected 9 billion by 2050.

Adaptation strategies and science-informed policy responses to global change are urgently needed.

Scientific understanding of the ocean’s responses to pressures and management action is fundamental for sustainable development. Ocean observations and research are also essential to predict the consequences of change, design mitigation and guide adaptation.

As mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO will coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process, inviting the global ocean community to plan for the next ten years in ocean science and technology to deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want!  To that end, IOC drafted a Roadmap that provides an initial guide for the steps and processes needed to develop the Implementation Plan of the Decade. It also formulates a set of preliminary objectives and identifies governance and structural arrangements. This revised Roadmap has been widely disseminated to Member States, UN bodies, including the International Maritime Organization, and IOC’s institutional partners.  As a coordinator for the Preparation Phase, the IOC will engage in extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders: IOC and UN Member States, UN bodies, institutional partners, the scientific community, the economic actors/private sector, civil society and foundations, through a stakeholder forum, regional workshops and global planning meetings.