On 10 June 2014, during the celebration of World Oceans Day at UNESCO Headquarters, the Director-General, Irina Bokova, and Guy Lengagne, President of Nausicaá – Centre national de la mer, signed a partnership agreement between the two institutions.
UNESCO and Nausicaá have been working closely since 1998, when the 1st global forum of ocean museums, science centres and aquariums was organized under Nausicaá’s leadership with the support of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO-IOC). This 1st meeting led to the creation of the World Ocean Network, an alliance of over 250 organizations worldwide, aiming to educate the general public on ocean-related issues and to promote the sustainable use of ocean resources.
Together, UNESCO and Nausicaá have striven to mobilize decision makers, stakeholders, and the general public on global issues related to the ocean through targeted activities, notably during international fora, including the Global Ocean Forums, the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the United Nations Conferences on Climate Change and World Ocean Days.
The newly signed partnership will include joint efforts in education for sustainable development. Through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO will support the extension of Nausicaá’s outreach programme, focusing on climate change and on the High Seas. The promotion of ocean literacy will continue to be at the center of these joint efforts, including activities to engage the public as ‘ocean citizens.’
“Sustainable development is not possible on earth without sustainable development of the ocean,” said the Director-General. “Together, we have the power to safeguard the ocean”.
Nausicaá will play an active role in the Ocean and Climate Platform 2015, launched at UNESCO on the same day. The Platform will bring together the research community and civil society organizations, with the aim of placing the ocean at the heart of international debate on climate change. The ocean regulates the climate, absorbs over one quarter of carbon emissions and is the main source of oxygen in the world. As such, it must be part of the solution as States shape a new agenda for sustainable development.
“This platform is a crucial tool to highlight the ocean as a source of sustainable solutions to climate change, to weigh in the public debate and to fuel negotiations,” declared the Director-General.
With this in mind, UNESCO-IOC and the Oceanography Society are convening the 2nd International Ocean Research Conference in November to shape international collaboration in marine sciences and technology. On this occasion, Nausicaá will help to engage the public during the conference, through film screenings and other activities for the general public.
The celebration of World Oceans Day continued with the 1st OPEN UNESCO Campus, where over 300 young people, aged 12 to 17 years old, discussed what the ocean means for them – and what they can do for the ocean, with experts and sailing legends.