Barcelona Statement identifies the priority areas of action for the Ocean Decade in coming years

Barcelona Statement identifies the priority areas of action for the Ocean Decade in coming years

The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference, held in Barcelona from April 10 to 12 and co-organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO), rallied over 1,500 participants from 124 countries and over 3,000 online viewers, and was the culmination of Ocean Decade Week with 120 Satellite Events (April 8-12). The main outcome of this event was the Barcelona Statement which identifies priority areas for action for the Ocean Decade in the coming years.

Click here to read the full Barcelona Statement.

During the closing session of the conference, Vidar Helgesen, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, unveiled the Barcelona Statement, a crucial roadmap for the coming years which identifies the areas where ocean solutions must be accelerated.

Deepening ocean science and knowledge

The Barcelona Statement identifies the future priorities for ocean knowledge and science generation within the framework of the Ocean Decade, including the co-design and co-delivery of science and knowledge to understand global distribution, human health, ecosystem impacts of marine pollution; and to strengthen sustainable aquatic food production and encourage sustainable and climate resilient ocean economy projects.

As a testament to this priority, the Barcelona City Council and Port of Barcelona have committed to developing a Decade Collaborative Centre focusing specifically on the blue economy. The launch of new Ocean Decade Programmes on sustainable ocean planning, and on sustainable ocean management in Africa will also help to bolster the development and dissemination of ocean science.



IISD/ENB | Mika Schroder

© IISD/ENB | Mika Schroder

IISD/ENB | Mika Schroder

© IISD/ENB | Mika Schroder

IISD/ENB | Mika Schroder

© IISD/ENB | Mika Schroder

Priority cross-cutting issues in ocean science

The Barcelona Statement also places an emphasis on cross-cutting issues that must be addressed to ensure the success of the Ocean Decade. These include bold new policy frameworks such as the Cities with the Ocean Platform, launched during the conference in order to enhance the use of science for policy and decision making by coastal cities. The first Ocean Decade Coastal Cities Conference will be hosted by the city of Qingdao, China, in 2025.

Ensuring that the ocean science community cultivates inclusivity will also maximise the impact of the Ocean Decade – whether this be giving a more central place to Indigenous and local knowledge systems, or better taking into account the voices of women and youth. Ocean literacy is a key area where progress must be expanded in order to address all sectors of society including policy makers, resource managers, and industry to sensitize these audiences to the ocean challenges of today and tomorrow.

Geographical balance must also be achieved by developing capacity where it is most lacking, exemplified by the launch of new funding opportunities for Africa through the Belmont Forum, and for Small Island Developing States through the Marine Institute, Ireland.

Greater priority for volume and avenues for funding will bolster the ability of the Ocean Decade to equip the necessary solutions to solve challenges. The conference saw the launch of the Ocean Matcher Tool to enhance opportunities for philanthropic funding to Decade Actions, linking together these two crucial types of stakeholders.

Ocean science infrastructure

The conference deliberated on and pinpointed key requirements for ocean science infrastructure, encompassing marine pollution monitoring, oceanic observation, harmonized oceanic data, and the utilization of tailored, cutting-edge technology to support the fair production, accessibility, and utilization of observations, data, and knowledge across all challenges of the Ocean Decade, and by every nation.

The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference covered a broad range of topics structured around four principal themes: Science and Solutions for a Clean, Healthy and Resilient Ocean; Science and Solutions for a Sustainable and Resilient Ocean Economy; Science and Solutions for a Safe and Predicted Ocean; and An Inspiring and Engaging Ocean for All. Click here for a full recap of the conference by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

A conference made possible through the support of numerous partners

The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference was organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the Generalitat of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council through the Fundació Barcelona Capital Nàutica, and the National Ocean Decade Committee of Spain, which is led by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities through the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The conference was also made possible with the financial support of the Japanese and Portuguese Governments, the European Commission, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Schmidt Ocean Institute, HUB Ocean, REV Ocean, Allianz, Balearia, Dalio Philanthropies, OceanX, as well as numerous partners who have been providing support for travel of under-represented groups to participate in the Conference: Amundsen Science, Barcelona Turisme Convention Bureau, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH), Government of Flanders, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Lenfest Ocean Program (Pew Charitable Trusts) and Union for the Mediterranean.

The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference is co-organised by:

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