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2021: The Launch of Ocean Decade

As nature continues to relapse, the world must commit to some serious actions. From forests to seas, and from skies to mountains, nature is suffering. Thus, as the primal cause of the disarray taking place today, it is our duty to make peace with nature and ease its ongoing suffering. Therefore, the launch of the ocean decade presents a unique opportunity to establish “a brave new ocean” while salvaging a vital part of our planet.

The United  Nations  Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

The ocean decade is an initiative that was first announced in 2017 with the goal of focusing on, identifying, collaborating, and solving ocean-related problems from 2021 to 2030. This timeframe is crucial to preventing irredeemable damages and saving the oceans. 

Moreover, global cooperation proves most vital in achieving the decade’s goals as the world unifies in the face of a common agenda. 

“More than ever, protecting the ocean requires us to think globally and collectively. We must join our forces, share our knowledge and embrace the cause of the ocean to shape a future where humankind and the seas benefit from each other. It’s our responsibility to give new generations a chance to live in a sustainable world,” said HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Supporting ocean science 

2017’s data states that despite the ocean’s significance in our ecosystems, it only accounts for 0.04% to 4% of total government research and development expenditures worldwide. Therefore, the ocean decade will play a leading role in mobilizing and building on existing partnerships while increasing investment in priority areas that require immediate action.

Furthermore, the decade will highlight the importance of expanding the global

scientific capacity required to quickly collect issue-specific information. Thus, ocean sciences and discoveries will finally be able to keep up with the constantly-changing needs of the ocean, the coastal zone managers, and the ever-evolving blue economy.

“Ocean science, supported by capacity development, is essential not only to inform SDG 14 but also other SDGs that have an ocean dimension”, announced the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson.

The seven Decade Outcomes

While collaborating on a global scale with the guidance of science and facts to save the blue ecosystems is the final target of the ocean decade, the UN did identify seven outcomes to focus on. 

First, the main sources of pollution should be identified and removed to achieve a clean ocean. Second, all essential marine ecosystems should be mapped and protected as means of achieving a healthy and resilient ocean. Third, use scientific means to understand the current and future ocean conditions to make blue spaces more predictable. Fourth, provide a safe ocean, so that people are safe from ocean disasters. Fifth, establish laws and means that ensure a sustainably harvested and productive ocean. Sixth, create a transparent ocean where access to data, information, and technologies is shared on a global level. Seventh, raise awareness on the ocean, thus establishing an inspiring and engaging ocean.

On the other hand, Chair of IOC, Ariel Troisi pointed out that “The challenges of intelligent and sustainable management of the ocean require strengthening our capacities to produce and transfer knowledge applied to decision-making. The Decade offers a unique framework for collaborative and coordinated work, as to achieve the ocean we need for the future we want.”

‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity 

Though 2021 is proving to be quite successful in the ocean department, UNESCO stressed the importance of providing a further commitment to this initiative. By setting up a specific timeframe, The Ocean Decade is sponsoring a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for the world to work hand in hand and generate the science and technology needed to support the sustainable development of the blue planet. 

Additionally, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “protecting and sustainably managing the ocean is essential – for food, livelihoods, and mitigating climate disruption and related disasters”. 

“Restoring the ocean’s ability to nurture humanity and regulate the climate is a defining challenge”, he added. He then urged everyone to “make peace with nature to deliver a prosperous and equitable world for all, leaving no one behind”. 

Furthermore, Norway’s Prime Minister and Ocean Panel co-chair, Erna Solberg, announced during the virtual gathering: “The ocean is an exciting place and we should have more research, more knowledge, but also understand that more livelihoods could come out of the ocean if we manage it better”.

In brief, the ocean decade is providing the world with the chance to save its blue spaces. Achieving the identified outcomes will secure a sustainable and productive ocean for generations to come in a world where nothing is environmentally secure. 

References:

‘Make peace with nature’, UN chief urges at Ocean Decade launch. (2021, February 5). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/02/1083732The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want. (2021). United Nations. https://www.oceandecade.org/assets/The_Science_We_Need_For_The_Ocean_We_Want.pdfUnited Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). (2021, February 1). UNESCO. https://en.unesco.org/ocean-decade

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