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Korea, Sweden and Canada scale up funding to support the Ocean Decade

Date: 6 November 2020

Korea, Sweden and Canada renewed their support to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Piloted by UNESCO, the Ocean Decade is a unique opportunity to strengthen the management of the ocean: we are now entering the last step of its preparatory phase.

The Republic of Korea’s Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), the Government of Sweden, and the Government of Canada – led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), all announced new agreements with UNESCO’s IOC within the framework of the Ocean Decade to help promote the importance of ocean science to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and to support the coordination of the Ocean Decade.

Republic of Korea’s Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST): an agreement to create capacity-development opportunities

Since 2018, KIOST has contributed to the development of the Decade’s strategy. Their support has, among other things, made it possible for IOC to conceive the first communication materials of the Decade and its societal outcomes, including the production of movies (e.g. Executive Planning Group meeting), the organization of regional media trainings and the creation of a dedicated communication team.

This year, KIOST has awarded additional funding to the Ocean Decade, upscaling a previous contribution awarded in 2018. This new contribution will enable UNESCO’s IOC to develop online events, a range of dedicated communication materials - such as new videos, brochures, printing documents – and the development of a strategic plan to include Early Careers Ocean Professionals (ECOPS) in activities and projects dedicated to the promoting of science as a lever of action to build sustainable societies.

As part of the Implementation Plan of the Decade, the integration of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCS) is a top priority during the preparatory phase of the Decade: KIOST funds will contribute to meet this goal.

The Government of Sweden: a cooperation to carry the implementation of the Ocean Literacy 

Last year, the government of Sweden enabled IOC to ensure regional and sub-regional synergies in support to the Decade, to build collective capacities on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and sustainable blue economy, as well as to increase collective knowledge and information about the ocean. Promoting international collaboration, Sweden especially made possible the participation of African experts in the Regional South Atlantic Planning Workshop (Brazil).

The Swedish funds were allocated to advance cooperation around education and culture allowing the translation of the Decade brochure and the establishment of Ocean Literacy trainings. Sweden also financed the production of Ocean Literacy principles movies, featuring international ocean experts like Sylvia Earle or Peter Thomson.

This year, new funds will help to encourage the implementation of new trainings; the creation of proposed Ocean Literacy policies and innovative partnerships.

Government of Canada (Fisheries and Oceans Canada): a partnership to support the Decade’s coordination 

The Government of Canada has been committed to supporting the preparatory phase of the Ocean Decade over the last two years, including by leading the organization of the North Atlantic Regional Consultation, and a financial contribution to the development of the Implementation Plan.

The new agreement will support the implementation of the Decade’s strategic programme. Over a four-year period (2020-2024), the Government of Canada’s funding will help establish the coordination, governance and engagement mechanisms for the Decade. This financial investment will support the launch of a new online platform that will provide news and updates on the Decade; the operations of the Decade Advisory Board; and key engagement and outreach activities to promote the objectives of the Decade. In addition to workshops already completed, planning is already underway to co-host various events to help advance gender equality in ocean science and support sustainable development through inclusive, co-designed, inter-disciplinary approaches.

Launching the Ocean Decade

These three new strategic agreements will bolster Ocean Decade communications and outreach activities. By promoting regional and sub-regional synergies throughout virtual sessions; ensuring a sound governance and coordination of the implementation plan and developing a new guidance on coastal risks mitigation, the funds will help to ensure a successful launch of the Decade well into its first year and beyond.