In December 2017, the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly proclaimed the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (referred to as ‘the Ocean Decade’) following campaigning from the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to better protect the Ocean.
The Ocean Decade creates the conditions for paradigm shift in the design and delivery of qualitative and quantitative ocean knowledge to inform solutions that will contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. Its mission is ‘to catalyse transformative ocean science solutions for sustainable development, connecting people and our ocean’.
In the context of the Ocean Decade, the ocean is considered as a part of the larger Earth system stretching from the coast to the open sea and from the ocean surface to the deep ocean seabed.
The term ‘ocean science’ encompasses natural and social science disciplines, including interdisciplinary topics; the technology and infrastructure that supports ocean science; the application of ocean science for societal benefit, including knowledge transfer and applications in regions that are lacking science capacity; and the science-policy and science innovation interfaces. It considers the land-sea, ocean-atmosphere, and ocean-cryosphere interactions. Ocean science recognizes, respects, and embraces local and indigenous knowledge.
Towards an Ocean Decade Collaborative Centre for the Pacific
PCCOS as the leading regional centre implementing the Ocean Decade in the Pacific is in progress of acquiring the official recognition of an “Ocean Decade Collaborative Centre” for the region.
This would help increase visibility, channel more resources, partnerships, and capabilities in Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and regionally, in accordance with the SAMOA pathway and the Ocean Decade objectives.
In terms of activities, the PCCOS Decade Collaborative Centre (DCC) would be the main vehicle for Ocean science in the Pacific, partnering with scientific organisations, national authorities, the private sector, and communities. It would promote excellence in Ocean science and the localisation of scientific capabilities at the national and regional levels. The PCCOS DCC will act as a broker by organising regional events and mobilising research partners. It would launch regional Ocean Decade calls for actions, projects, and programmes, while connecting with other Decade Regional and Thematic Centres. The PCCOS DCC will promote and ensure the visibility of the Ocean Decade in the region, while mobilising development partners to invest in Pacific Ocean science.
PCCOS, as the Pacific DCC, will implement program-level monitoring and reporting framework and practices for Pacific Decade Actions in line with the Ocean Decade Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, while promoting cross-learning.
SPC Ocean Labs
PCCOS and SPC organised several Ocean Labs in 2021 and 2022 as part of the Ocean Decade Laboratories. It raised awareness on key ocean issues while promoting expert voices from the Pacific to the global stage. The concept of the Vaka Moana or voyage on a traditional canoe was used throughout the five Ocean Labs organised by PCCOS-SPC and partners.