Sunday, December 22, 2019

Educators: International Ocean Literacy Portal

11.07.2018 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

IOC-UNESCO launches new one-stop shop Ocean Literacy Portal

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is pleased to announce the launch of the Ocean Literacy Portal. This Portal has been developed to provide a one-stop shop for ocean literacy worldwide, by sharing existing global ocean knowledge. The resources will be accessible to citizens worldwide, from different backgrounds and of all ages, from students to educators, from researchers to policy makers.

Ocean literacy is defined as the understanding of our influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on us. Ocean literacy is a way not only to increase the awareness of the public about the ocean, but it is as an approach to encourage all citizens and stakeholders to have a more responsible and informed behaviour towards the ocean and its resources. It is not just knowledge about the state of the ocean but a deeper understanding of our individual and collective responsibilities to take care of the ocean.
The ocean literacy framework and approach has been developed by a group of educators and scientists in the United States, and then taken up, and adapted by European, Asian and African scientists and educators. While all these organizations and associations have been critical to promote ocean literacy nationally and regionally, the need for an international collaboration and exchange of good practices and experiences led to the engagement of UNESCO in ocean literacy, both through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and its Education Sector.
The high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources for Sustainable Development, convened at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2017, provided the platform to further promote the ocean literacy concept and framework internationally. A voluntary commitment #OceanAction15187, “Ocean Literacy for All: A Global Strategy to Raise the Awareness for the Conservation, Restoration, and Sustainable Use of Our Ocean”, was submitted by UNESCO in partnership with many institutions and other relevant partners. The main aim of the initiatives outlined in the Voluntary Commitment is to develop a global partnership to improve public knowledge across the world citizenry regarding our global ocean.
In this context, IOC has, at the occasion of the 51st session of its Executive Council, launched the Ocean Literacy Portal, developed with the support of the Government of Sweden. The Portal will serve as one-stop shop for ocean literacy worldwide to share resources, news and information about events and projects that are relevant for all ocean stakeholders, from different backgrounds and of all ages. The Portal has been built to respond to the need of the ocean literacy community to have access to educational resources that are based on rigorous scientific knowledge, that cover different themes, e.g. marine litter, ocean observation, marine policy, and that are useful for different users, such as educators, scientists, journalists, policy-makers and representatives of the private sector.
In addition, the Portal users will have the opportunity to register for a collaborative workspace. Through the Ocean Literacy Collaborative Workspace – UNESTEAMS, experts from all around the world will be able to work directly with fellow members by co-working on topics and ideas and co-creating and developing new joint projects. This is a further step towards creating a collaborative network.
“It is our hope that this platform will contribute to further information and communication regarding the understanding of our ocean,” said Francesca Santoro, IOC Programme Specialist in charge of ocean literacy activities.
For more information, please contact:
Francesca Santoro (f.santoro(at)
Teachers looking for resources the Online Ocean Literacy Toolkit can be found at:

AUSMEPA has several units of work for students and teachers on our website

Australian Marine Educator represents in Decade of the Ocean planning

MANY thanks to Victorian colleague, Mr Harry Briedahl, who attended the recent UNESCO workshop in Venice on behalf of marine educators in Australia. Educators were gathered in Venice to contribute to the roadmap.

13.07.2018 - UNESCO Venice Office

Roadmap for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is working to prepare the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. At the IOC’s Executive Council in Paris, member states approved the roadmap, in which ocean literacy plays a central role. There is a need to commit to a greater investment in ocean science, to encourage the scientific community, the public and policy makers to think ahead and aspire to real change. The decade will help us deliver the ocean we need for the future we want. Youth will be central in this process.

From 3 to 6 July 2018, the 51st session of the Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO undertook major scientific and policy discussions and deliberated on important themes. On the agenda: ocean science requirements for addressing climate uncertainty, ocean observations and data, early warning and preparedness against tsunamis, multiple stressors affecting marine life, and strategies and tools for science-based ocean planning.
Furthermore, one of the main drives was to define the action plan in view of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), proclaimed by the United Nations to gather ocean stakeholders worldwide under a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the ocean.
The proclamation of the decade was made necessary because of the increasing need to support and encourage the many aspects of ocean science, especially due to current data on ocean health. As mandated by the UN General Assembly, IOC is coordinating the decade’s preparatory process, inviting the global ocean community to plan for the next 10 years in ocean science and technology to give new generations a chance to live in a sustainable planet.
After the debate, the 39 Member States of the Executive Council – acting on behalf of the 149 Member States of the IOC – as well as observers unanimously voted in favour of initiatives aimed to emphasize the importance of marine sciences for society. According to Francesca Santoro, IOC Programme Specialist, “the objective is to have people understand the importance of oceanography, and that ocean sciences are fundamental in ocean-related services such as fishing, transport and tourism”.
If oceanography is of utmost importance, so is education to raise awareness and forge minds. Ocean Literacy is an essential component of the Ocean Science Decade. Member states voiced the importance of youth in this process. The IOC project office at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), is focusing on Ocean Literacy and currently introducing it into school curricula in 36 countries around the world.
All countries are now aware that our ocean is in danger, making decisions is urgent and we must act. Most of all, we must transform knowledge and scientific research in concrete actions”, said Santoro. “We aim to engage private sectors, politics and all citizens to create a deep-rooted sense of common knowledge”.
With a greater understanding of the science, we must also reinforce our work on ocean literacy, so that decision-makers can fully take advantage of scientific research in order to affect real policy change.” , said UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, at the opening of the 51st Session of the IOC Executive Council.
Our life and scientific research are closely connected. It is thanks to scientific research that we can make marine weather forecasting today, and detect tsunamis in advance to issue warnings in areas, which are subject to such environmental events. This is only one of the many examples as to how scientific research and our daily lives are closely connected.
Walter Munk, a pioneer in ocean research, was ready to remind us of this strong relation in occasion of the Roger Revelle Memorial Lecture held on 5 July during the IOC Executive Council. “The Allies put their strength and knowledge together, working for a common goal, reversing the outcome of the war”, disclosed Walter Munk. His work during World War II focused on wave forecasting and calculation may seem trivial, but in reality, it was essential for American boats to reach the beaches safely.
According to the 100-year-old scientist Munk, working together for a common goal is the key to facing the challenges of ocean pollution and global warming. It is vital to turn scientific research into concrete action. In the words of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, more than ever protecting the ocean requires us to think globally and collectively. We must join our forces, share our knowledge and embrace the cause of the Ocean to shape a future where humankind and seas benefit from each other.
During the plenary, Rosalia Santoleri, president of the Italian Oceanographic Commission, announced that Italy will be taking part in the preparations for the Decade. A workshop involving all nations facing the Mediterranean Sea will be planned, with coordination from Rome, and an agenda of initiatives starting January 2021 will be laid out.
The ocean is yet to be explored. Only 5% of the ocean floor has been mapped at high resolution and it is estimated that 1 million marine species are still unknown to science. Regardless of the great amount of research available today, our knowledge is still insufficient to manage biodiversity in 99% of habitable marine environments There are only 3 people in the world who have explored the deepest known point of the ocean. This information alone should be motivation enough to start acting and not only to respect our ocean, but also to discover it. We can all be a part of it, 2021 is not far off.