Ocean literacy within the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable development: a framework for action.
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Corporate AuthorIntergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
Creative CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO
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AbstractThe United Nations has declared that the Ocean Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (the Ocean Decade) will take place from 2021 to 2030. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’, and it provides a common framework for diverse stakeholders to generate and use ocean knowledge towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To that end, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) was mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to develop an Implementation Plan, in collaboration with partners, to serve as a roadmap to mobilize the resources and technological innovation needed to build capacity, develop scientific knowledge, create and share infrastructure and foster partnerships for a healthy ocean. In so doing, the Ocean Decade will transition us from the ‘ocean we have’ to the ‘ocean we want’. The latter will support a sustainable, equitable and healthy future for all. The Implementation Plan, which is the culmination of a highly participatory three-year process, has now been finalized and is a non-prescriptive, strategic framework for the roll-out of the Ocean Decade that details its objectives, challenges, actions and mechanisms for implementation. The enhancement of Ocean Literacy (OL) is critical to the success of the Ocean Decade. Ocean Literacy refers to the understanding of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean. Many people are unaware that the ocean is intrinsically linked to major global issues such as climate change and food security, human health and the global economy. The ocean also represents a range of social values for various cultures, as people from all over the world are able to recognize and relate to the ocean in different ways. To achieve sustainable development and well-being across the globe, everyone needs to understand our dependence on the ocean, and how we can contribute to its sustainability. In this context, Ocean Literacy has a twofold goal: to learn more about the world’s ocean, and to contribute to the co-design and co-delivery of solutions to the problems and threats it faces. In this way, Ocean Literacy becomes more than a tool for capacity development and knowledge generation. It also represents an ambitious approach to promoting the common understanding of global citizens as stakeholders, as well as furthering societies’ relationships to the ocean. Understanding the value of the ocean can enhance protection, conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources, as well as contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Throughout the Ocean Decade planning process, the importance of Ocean Literacy was reinforced during Global and Regional Planning Workshops (IOC-UNESCO, 2020). As a result, Ocean Literacy features prominently in the Implementation Plan and is reflected as one of the seven Ocean Decade Outcomes, ‘An engaging and inspiring ocean’. It is also explicitly referenced in the following two of the Ocean Decade Challenges that represent the most pressing priorities for the Decade: - Challenge 9: Ensure comprehensive capacity development and equitable access to data, information, knowledge and technology across all aspects of ocean science and for all stakeholders, and - Challenge 10: Ensure that the multiple values and services of the ocean for human well-being, culture and sustainable development are widely understood, and identify and overcome barriers to behaviour change required for a step change in humanity’s relationship with the ocean. Ocean Literacy is also relevant to the remaining eight Ocean Decade Challenges, as it is a tool that encompasses cross-sectoral, inter-and transdisciplinary approaches that can empower governments, businesses, the media, educators, civil society and the general public to understand the key role the ocean plays within their lives. Ocean Literacy can therefore create an environment conducive to achieving the ambitions of the Ocean Decade, including helping to ignite behaviour change, enhance collaborations, mobilize resources, promote sound policy-making, spark creativity and innovation and increase investment in ocean science. Ocean Literacy is radically evolving from its application in formal educational contexts into an approach for society as a whole that catalyses actions to protect, conserve and sustainably use the ocean. As such, Ocean Literacy initiatives can be implemented in formal or non-formal educational settings and can be part of school learning, citizen science, corporate training, public-awareness campaigns, the science–policy interface and so forth. Throughout the Ocean Decade, Ocean Literacy initiatives will be developed and implemented by actors including governments, United Nations entities, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), international and regional organizations, research institutes, businesses, foundations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), schools, educators, community groups and individuals. To date, a significant number of Ocean Literacy initiatives have been developed and implemented in every corner of the world. They range from educational programmes focusing on ocean issues (Blue Schools in Portugal or Ocean School in Canada), to Ocean Literacy centres promoting hands-on activities (see the Marine Educational Centre in Malmö) and company-funded education programmes for students (see AXA XL Ocean Education programme ), as well as public-awareness campaigns (see the European Union’s Sea Change project ) and immersive learning programmes at aquariums. The Ocean Decade provides a powerful and unique opportunity to catalyse and scale up these and other Ocean Literacy programmes at the global level. As outlined in the Implementation Plan, the vision for Ocean Literacy throughout the Ocean Decade is ‘to enable and scale up action in all sectors’. This Ocean Literacy Framework for Action was created to complement the Implementation Plan and provide a succinct, non-prescriptive framework to promote the development of global, regional, national and local Ocean Literacy Actions by diverse actors around the world as part of the Ocean Decade. This Framework was developed through a series of stakeholder consultations, including an open international questionnaire with over 300 respondents, a participatory multi-stakeholder workshop held in Venice in December 2019, a bibliographical review and peer review by international experts. This document is divided into three sections. The first one describes Ocean Literacy and its potential contribution to the Ocean Decade. The second one presents a framework for the Decade Actions on Ocean Literacy. The third section outlines the participation opportunities for potential partners and stakeholders, as well as the linkages between existing Ocean Literacy tools and participation mechanisms for Ocean Decade stakeholders.
Publisher or UniversityIOC of UNESCO
Series : NrIOC Ocean Decade Series; 22
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