Good ocean data science is vital for reversing the rapid decline in the health of our seas that threatens humanity and the planet, the UN Environment Northwest Pacific Regional Seas Programme told an international scientific forum in Tokyo, Japan, in February 2019, in preparation for the first UN Decade of Ocean Science.
The 18–19 February 2019 International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) XXV Scientific Conference, organized by the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and hosted by the Government of Japan, reviewed scientific preparedness and needs for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The Decade aims to strengthen scientific knowledge for the sustainable use of the largest planetary ecosystem.
“The UN Decade of Ocean Science is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the global expert community to define the concept of sustainability for the marine environment and communicate to policymakers and the public the importance of oceans for humanity,” Lev Neretin, Coordinator of the UN Environment Northwest Pacific Action Plan, told the conference.
“New knowledge, new forms of public-private partnerships and new forms of communication are needed to realize the mission of the Decade,” he added.
In a presentation to the expert gathering, Mr Neretin highlighted the contribution of the over four-decade-old UN Environment Regional Seas Programme to the sustainable management of the marine and coastal environment, a key goal of the 2030 Agenda.
An estimated 99 per cent of habitable marine areas lack basic biodiversity knowledge for their management and up to 1 million marine species could still be unknown to science. Ocean science has a less than 4 per cent share in global research and development investment.
The UN Environment and its Regional Seas Programme are developing indicators and reporting mechanisms for monitoring implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.
Besides generating quality data from its monitoring of the regional marine and coastal environment and communicating this to policymakers and the public, the Northwest Pacific Action Plan coordinates regional implementation of the ocean-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)
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 Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO has been tasked by the UN General Assembly to coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process working with 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!
International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Programme
The International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme was established in 1961 to enhance marine research, exploitation and development, by facilitating exchange of oceanographic data and information among countries and generating data and information. There are over 80 oceanographic data centres in as many countries collecting and ensuring ocean data quality, and making these available to countries.