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From COP21 towards the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

10 - 11 September 2018
Room X, UNESCO Headquarters



The High Level Scientific Conference “From COP21 towards the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)” is now available in full online!

10 September:
English interpretation
French interpretation

11 September:
English interpretation
French interpretation


Since COP21, new elements of knowledge came to light, thus enhancing our understanding of the interactions between ocean, climate and biodiversity. The well-being of marine ecosystems is recognized as central to combat climate change, highlighting the need to support and develop ocean science.

In view of the launching of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and Ocean and Climate Platform are organizing a High Level Scientific Conference on 10 and 11 September 2018, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

The conference aims at synthesizing recent scientific progress on ocean and climate interplays; evaluating the latest ocean-climate trends within the context of increased ocean action; and reflecting on ways to move “from science to action”.

Organized around four sessions, the event will bring together scientists from multiple disciplines, civil society, businesses, decision-makers and UN entities, to share their expertise on ocean and climate related issues.


September 10:

Welcome address: Audrey Azoulay (or her representative), Director-General, UNESCO
Byong Hyun Lee, Chair of the Executive Board, UNESCO
Ana Paula Vitorino, Minister of the Sea of Portugal
Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of France
Romain Troublé, President, Ocean and Climate Platform

What are the most recent scientific advances about the ocean, climate and biodiversity relationship? Which knowledge gaps can we identify? This roundtable will discuss research priorities, knowledge gaps and their dissemination and reception through society.

William Cheung, Director of Science, Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program
Sheila Heymans, Executive Director, European Marine Board
Patricia Miloslavich, Project Officer, GOOS Biology and Ecosystem Panel
Lauren Mullineaux, Biological Oceanographer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Martin Visbeck, Head of the Research Unit Physical Oceanography, GEOMAR
Moderators: Anny Cazenave, member of the French Academy of Sciences, and Françoise Gaill, Emeritus Research Director, CNRS

How are the IPCC and IPBES introducing the ocean in their reports and decisions? How is ocean science integrated into UN frameworks, especially with regards to marine ecosystems and biodiversity?

Elva Escobar, Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico
Nathalie Hilmi, Environmental Economist, Scientific Center of Monaco
Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-chair, IPCC
Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-chair, IPCC
Robert Watson, President, IPBES
Moderators: Joachim Claudet, Researcher, CNRS-CRIOBE, and Laura Hampton, BBC journalist

September 11:

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) provides a unique opportunity to bring together the scientific community, decision-makers, the private sector, UN entities and civil society, in the search of science-based solutions to address the impact of climate-related changes on ocean ecosystems and society.

Peter Haugan, Chair, IOC-UNESCO
Torsten Thiele, Economist, Global Ocean Trust
Jacqueline Uku, President, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA)
Anna Zivian, Co-chair, Future Earth's Ocean Knowledge-Action Network Development Team; Senior Research Fellow, Ocean Conservancy
Moderators: Julian Barbière, Head of the IOC Marine Policy and Regional Coordination Section, IOC-UNESCO, and Patricia Ricard, President, Paul Ricard Oceanography Institute

How can international frameworks – such as UNFCCC’s Action Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Ocean Pathway Partnership – shape national, regional and international policies on ocean, climate and biodiversity? What are the actions initiated by States and international alliances, such as Because the Ocean, to implement their commitments and elaborate ocean-NDCs?

Julio Cordano, Head of the Department on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile
Cameron Diver, Deputy Director-General of the Pacific Community
Serge Ségura, French Ambassador for Ocean Affairs
Ricardo Serrão Santos, Member of the European Parliament
Moderators: Rémi Parmentier, Director, The Varda Group, and Salvatore Aricò, Head of the Ocean Science Section, IOC-UNESCO

Wrap up: Peter Haugan, Chair, IOC-UNESCO, and Lisa Svensson, Director of the Ocean and Marine Programme, UN Environment
Closing remarks: Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary, IOC-UNESCO, and Serge Ségura, French Ambassador for Ocean Affairs

Special Sessions:

Organized by the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and the University of Western Brittany

South Atlantic marine environments and coastal socio-ecosystems are facing major challenges in the context of global change. Transdisciplinary scientific cooperation across both side of the Atlantic and a better dialogue between science and policy are essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In this special session, research programmes in different areas of concern will be presented and policy-makers will be invited to discuss. This event will launch a foresight programme on the need of sciences and adapted policies for coastal and marine waters in the South Atlantic Ocean by the Ocean University Initiative for the creation of a UNU institute dedicated to the Ocean. It will also feed regional consultations of the IOC in the framework of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the implementation of the Belém Agreement.

Welcome address: Frédéric Ménard, Head of the OCEANS Scientific Department, IRD
Keynote speech: Amadou Thierno Gaye, Director General of research, Senegal
Session 1: Data production, observatories and models
Moacyr Araujo, Departamento de Oceanografia - Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil
Isabelle Ansorge, Oceanography Department - University of Cape Town, South Africa
Bamol Ali Sow, Head of the Department of Physics - University of Assane Seck, Senegal
Alexander Turra, Oceanographic Institute - University of São Paulo, Brazil
Session 2: Sustainable management of marine and coastal socio-ecosystems
Silva Osvaldina, President, National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development, Cape Verde
Patricia Muñoz, Director of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies, National Polytechnic Institute, and President of the Climate Change Council, Mexico
Cyrille Barnerias, Head of the Department of European and International Affairs, French Agency for Biodiversity (AFB)
Abou Bamba, Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, Côte d'Ivoire
Wrap up and follow up: Denis Bailly, OCEAN University Initiative coordinator, UBO

Organized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO

Gender equality in ocean-related sciences, as in all scientific fields, remains a priority and recalling the IOC’s commitment to advance gender issues within the context of the Decade, Canada is hosting a panel discussion on Women in Ocean Science on September 10, 2018. This 60-minute event will include short presentations by relevant leaders in the fields of ocean science and engagement, followed by a group discussion moderated by Canada’s Ambassador to UNESCO Ms. Elaine Ayotte. The panel will highlight IOC member state support for the consideration of gender issues in improving the global oceans knowledge base and in decision-making in support of building more resilient coastal communities. The discussion will also focus on concrete opportunities to advance women’s issues and priorities in the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science.

Wendy Watson-Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Frontier Institute, Canada
Angela Hatton, Director of Science and Technology, National Oceanography Centre, United Kingdom
Jacqueline Uku, Senior Research Officer and Research Coordinator, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, and President of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), Kenya
Gretta Pecl, Director, Centre for Marine Socioecology and IMAS ARC Future Fellow, University of Tasmania, Australia
Moderator: Elaine Ayotte, Canada's Ambassador to UNESCO

Organized by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the French National Research Alliance for the Environment (AllEnvi)

Societies now operate outside safe planetary boundaries. The new race for blue economy, coastal development and demography poses serious challenges for ocean sustainability, as underlined by the launch of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Ocean science needs to help foster social-ecological synergies to avoid common trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and resource use. However, several challenges are ahead: How to best model complex, interacting systems? How natural, environmental, earth and natural sciences should be integrated? Which data are needed and how to make the best use of big data? What innovations are expected in social-ecological systems management? How science can guide and inform about the environmental, social and financial costs of transformations towards sustainable social-ecological systems? How to best operationalize science-policy interfaces to improve evidence-based decision-making?

Laurent Bopp, Research Director, CNRS
Rodolphe Devillers, Professor, Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
William Cheung, Director of Science, Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program
Nele Matz-Lück, Professor of Law, University of Kiel, Germany
Moderators: Marie-Alexandrine Sicre, Research Director, CNRS-SCOR, and Agathe Euzen, Scientific Deputy Director, Institute of Ecology and Environnement (INEE-CNRS)


Registration for this event is now closed!