In the past few months, we have been building up to the start of the Ocean Decade. In this blog we will outline the key aims of the Decade and how we hope to get involved.

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (also known as the Ocean Decade) began on 1st January 2021 and will focus on protecting the Ocean by bringing everyone together and using science, technology and education to ensure the sustainable use of our Ocean.

Due to rising population growth and over exploitation, the Ocean is now seriously degraded as outlined in the The First World Ocean Assessment released in 2016. The Ocean Decade will help Ocean stakeholders collaborate and plan how to best reverse this cycle of decline using Ocean science and a clear communication strategy.

The Ocean Decade is inclusive and it will enable action at all levels both professional and public by:

  • Promoting partnership and collaboration, bringing the best Ocean Scientists, Educators and Communicators out there to find solutions and share them with the world.
  • Improving communication between different communities working across the fields of Ocean science, policy, academia and technology.
  • Helping in the development of robust Ocean science in the places that need it most such as small nations affected directly by climate change and least developed countries.
  • Increasing investment in Ocean Sciences and the Blue Economy so more people can hone their expertise in these areas.

To help achieve these actions, a structure has been developed with seven desired outcomes:

  1. A clean Ocean where sources of pollution are identified and removed
  2. A healthy and resilient Ocean where marine ecosystems are mapped and protected
  3. A predictable Ocean where society has the capacity to understand current and future Ocean conditions
  4. A safe Ocean where people are protected from ocean hazards
  5. A sustainably harvested Ocean ensuring the provision of food supply
  6. A transparent Ocean with open access to data, information and technologies
  7. An inspiring and engaging Ocean where society understands and values the Ocean

These outcomes are the Ocean Decade’s vision and mission statement to everyone taking part. 

Alongside these outcomes, the Decade hopes to fulfil Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 which is one of 17 SDGs that came into force for nations in 2016. Of the 17 SDGs issued to protect life on earth, SDG 14 was declared ‘Life Below Water’ with a mission to conserve and sustainably manage ocean and marine resources by 2030. As you can see below, SDG 14 interacts with the many other SDGs so although the Decade focuses on the Ocean, it will naturally help all areas of our planet.

A diagram showing the relationship between SDGs

SDG 14 and the 7 Desired Outcomes will help to define the Ocean Decade’s work which is set to end in 2030 with hopefully enough action to protect and restore our marine world.

In the build up to the start of the Ocean Decade on 1st January 2021, interested Ocean stakeholders around the world have been asked to apply to participate in the Decade by offering Ocean science needs.

The Ocean Conservation Trust has put forward an Ocean Decade agenda which utilises our excellent science communication and education skills to connect people to the Ocean.

Our mission naturally sits within Outcome 7: An inspiring and engaging Ocean where society understands and values the Ocean so our work will continue in line with our belief that science is for all and a love of nature is the fastest way to help people protect it.

We look forward to unveiling our Ocean Decade activities in the coming months and hope you will consider playing a part in the Ocean Decade.