Ocean Decade Conference 2024

Ocean Decade Conference 2024

We share the conclusions and results of the Ocean Decade Conference, which was held from April 10 to 12 in Barcelona, co-organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

The Conference took place at a unique moment in the global ocean governance landscape with the recent emergence of the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of areas beyond the jurisdiction of national borders (BBNJ Agreement), the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the formalization of the Ocean-Climate Dialogue in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the ongoing negotiation of the treaty on plastics.

The Conference discussed and identified the following future priorities for the generation and adoption of ocean knowledge that could be fulfilled through the Ocean Decade framework. This includes the joint design and delivery of science and knowledge to:

Understand the global distribution and impacts of marine pollution on human health and ecosystems across the land-sea spectrum, including identification of priority pollutants and consideration of emerging and unregulated pollutants.

Improve and expand management approaches based on marine and coastal ecosystems.

Better understand deep-sea ecosystems, including vulnerability to climate change and new or emerging economic activities.

Promote sustainable, resilient and equitable small-scale fishing and aquaculture and facilitate the sustainable management of industrial fisheries.

Strengthen sustainable aquatic food production and innovation for new frontiers with a focus on developing countries and strengthened public-private partnerships.

Support evidence-based sustainable ocean plans at the national level and in relevant transboundary areas.

Promote sustainable and climate resilient ocean economy projects.

Rapidly scale up climate change mitigation, including through renewable marine energy and coastal ecosystem management.

Enable a timely understanding of the technical, ecological and social feasibility, potential impacts of proposed marine carbon dioxide removal initiatives and contribute to future policy and regulatory development.

Support adaptive governance and management systems and decision support tools for vulnerability and risk assessment for coastal communities and marine industries.

Develop innovative economic models, policies and financial instruments to diversify and accelerate investment in ocean science, including for better digital representation of the ocean and sustained and sustainable ocean observation and infrastructure.

Inform knowledge drawn from transdisciplinary social science and ocean literacy research on human-ocean connection, behavioral change and cultural engagement that can be integrated into the digital infrastructure of the Ocean Decade and used to map and measure impact of ocean literacy initiatives.

Increase engagement with the health sector and better understand the connections between ocean health and human health.