Dr. Noirin Burke representing Ireland and the IOLNetwork.

Irish Ocean Literacy Network participates in UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, Venice 12th & 13th December 2019

The Ocean is the most important natural feature on ‘Planet Earth’, covering two thirds of its surface, regulating its climate and providing half of the oxygen we breathe. Yet very few people are ‘Ocean Literate’, while the vast majority know very little about the Ocean, the threats facing it and how these can be managed to ensure Humanity’s future.

To narrow this knowledge gap, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) has been tasked to coordinate the planning phase of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, to be held from 2021 to 2030. This Decade expects to provide a unique foundation to strengthen the management of our oceans and coasts for the benefit of humanity.

As part of this task, a Workshop on Ocean Literacy was held in Venice at UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, on 12-13 December 2019. It was organized with the support of the Government of Sweden, and attended by Dr. Noirin Burke, co-secretariat of the Irish Ocean Literacy Network (IOLN).

“The main objective of this workshop was to contribute to the development of the Ocean Literacy Strategy for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development,” said Dr. Burke. “The workshop was highly participatory and included short pitches on Ocean Literacy good practices from Ireland and around the world. It also brought together multiple stakeholders to discuss pathways to increase global awareness on the state of the ocean, as well as to transform ocean knowledge into actions that promote sustainability.”

Dr. Noirin Burke

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is centred on 6 societal outcomes, defined as:

  • A clean Ocean
  • A healthy and resilient Ocean
  • A predicted Ocean
  • A safe Ocean
  • A sustainably harvested and productive Ocean
  • A transparent and accessible Ocean

“The overall goal of the Ocean Literacy strategy for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is to ‘Enable and scale up action in all sectors of society regarding ocean sustainability, in order to accelerate a fundamental shift in the way our ocean is managed’,” said Garry Kendellen co-secretariat of the IOLN. “The priority areas proposed to advance the OL agenda included advancing policy; enhancing corporate action; showcasing ocean science; strengthening schools and boosting communities.”

Garry Kendellen MA Youth Work & Community Development

The IOLN look forward to exploring how it can contribute to Ocean Literacy in Ireland, through partnerships, identifying stakeholders, and highlighting the benefits of ocean literacy to Irish society, while also providing a neutral brand, a focal point for OL nationally and resources for all stakeholders use.

For more information on Ocean Literacy in the context of the UNESCO Ocean Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development see Unesco Ocean Literacy and Unesco Ocean Literacy Get Involved.

CONTACT the IOLN, see;

Written by IOLN admins

The Irish Ocean Literacy Network (IOLN) aims to bring together relevant institutes, agencies, researchers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), individuals and educators who are working towards the vision of “achieving an ocean literate society across the island of Ireland”.

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