UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and NAUSICAÁ, National Sea Center, signed an agreement mobilizing the Center’s scientific and public outreach teams to support the coming UN Decade of Ocean Science in bringing ocean knowledge to visitors and policy-makers.
The Agreement builds on over 20 years of collaboration between the two organizations, which started working together in 1998 in the context of the International Year of the Ocean, declared by the United Nations and coordinated by UNESCO’s IOC.
“We have been old friends since the late 1990s, but we are very happy to be part of this new initiative, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. There is a time before the Decade, and a time after the Decade – nothing will be the same, so we are thrilled to be onboard,” said NAUSICAÁ Director General, Philippe Vallette, during the signing ceremony.
Between 2019 and 2021, IOC and NAUSICAÁ have committed to launching joint projects on Ocean Literacy, communication and public outreach, many of which already under planning or in early concept phase.
Among other activities in 2020, the partners will launch a Youth Charter for the Decade of Ocean Science, highlighting the next generations’ objectives and aspirations for the years 2021-2030; organize joint activities around World Oceans Day, and launch a high profile exhibition in Lisbon on the contribution of the UN Decade of Ocean Science to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The exhibition would be a major public attraction of the 2nd United Nations Ocean Conference, to take place in the Portuguese capital in early June.
For 2021, the Agreement sets forth a host of joint activities to take place in the lead-up to and during the International Aquariums Congress (IAC) at NAUSICAÁ (4-7 October, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France). Philippe Vallette, currently presiding over the IAC, has pledged to help IOC systematically engage this global community of actors for raising awareness of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and promoting direct citizen mobilization toward fulfilling its vision of a healthier, sustainable ocean.
For NAUSICAÁ’s President Mr Jean-Loup Lesaffre, the Agreement speaks to their core mission of building awareness among the nearly 1 million visitors who make their way to the National Sea Center every year, most of whom are children and young adults, about what it takes to conserve our ocean and sustainably use its resources.
IOC’s Executive Secretary Vladimir Ryabinin concurred, arguing that “at no other point in history has it been so urgent to effectively integrate ocean science within all levels of society. From a closed process meant to satisfy the curiosity of a few, we need to transform ocean science into an open, shared, and policy-oriented tool that can help us leave no one behind in the pursuit of a more sustainable world.”
The signing ceremony took place on the margins of the 30th Session of the IOC Assembly, the Commission’s main governing body which brings together all 150 Member States every two years to establish general policy and main lines of work. Preparations for the UN Decade of Ocean Science figured prominently in Assembly deliberations, with the now traditional IOC Assembly Ocean Science Day dedicated to brainstorming Decade scientific and societal priorities with scientists, civil society organizations, governmental representatives, and interested citizens.
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