Ocean Action Hub

What do you see as the priority actions which we can all rally around in global 'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.a to increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to development?

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Avan Antia's picture

Avan Antia said:

The SDG Academy (sdgacademy.org) has gone a long way in promoting the knowledge base for sustainable development for many of the SDGs through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that have reached a huge global audience. As one of their series, the MOOC “One Planet – One Ocean: From Science to Solutions” (www.oceanmooc.org) deals with the scientific basis for an integrated understanding of ocean processes and possible solutions for better management and governance. When broadcasting in 2017, we tapped into a large number of practitioners of ocean management, multipliers for communication of ocean issues and students looking to upgrade their knowledge. A re-broadcast is planned in 2017, and we welcome input at this planning stage from people who can contribute regional examples, who would be interested in partnering with us to use the MOOC broadcast for local learning groups, and/or to embed the issues in courses at universities or other institutions.

Integrated, relevant and insightful scientific knowledge is one of several prerequisites to sustainable development and as a group of scientists we are interested in learning more about how this knowledge can be brought to where it helps make informed decisions.

Tim Andrew's picture

Tim Andrew said:

One of the greatest challenges to achieving SDG14 and SDG14a in particular is to ensure participation from a local to global level. To make a difference, governments and other national level stakeholders need to take an active role and feel part of the process. This will require significant effort to firstly ensure that local and national support is built, actions are put in place to move forward, and that progress towards achievement of the goal is monitored at a local level. These actions will need to be integrated into other initiatives that are already ongoing, or new initiatives designed to specifically address SDG14.
While governments have agreed on moving forward to address the SDGs, at a regional and national level this can be a complicated process. In many countries, including developing ones, the priorities of Government are not always aligned to achievement of the SDGs, especially those related to the oceans and coast. Terrestrial environments continue to be priority in many countries, and other economic and geo-political processes often dominate domestic policy.
Political will and resources are required to support scientific research, the development of research capacity, and the sharing of information in support of the sustainable use of the ocean. There is a need to continue the process of building political will through greater science to policy interaction, where good science is made available in an understandable format to policy makers. Innovative climate financing schemes such as the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund need to be accessed by developing coastal states. The capacity to do this is still lacking in some countries, and needs to be addressed. In reality, countries most desperately in need of this support are often those that have the least capacity to access these funding schemes.
Capacity to generate the knowledge necessary to inform improved management of the ocean is another area that is often inadequate, and regional and international cooperation is one way of ensuring that available skills and capacity are shared. Young scientists, and especially young women, require support to reach their full potential and contribute to the generation of knowledge appropriate to achieving SDG14. A further capacity need is for the monitoring of progress towards SDG achievement. While there are guidelines to do this, at a regional level agreement needs to be reached on what indicators can be feasibly monitored by countries, and capacity and systems put in place to ensure that these monitoring programmes are useful to national and global efforts. Related to this is the sharing of information on an ongoing basis. Sustainable systems need to be in place to allow countries to contribute to the regional and global process.
More generally, regional programmes that relate to the oceans and coasts need to build-in the achievement of SDG14 into their design and implementation. Of particular importance is for these programmes to support participating countries in addressing SDG14, bearing in mind that many developing countries simply do not have the resources to do so on their own, and continue to rely on outside assistance in this regard. Of course, this approach should be seen as temporary, with the ideal of countries maintaining their own programmes in a sustainable manner being the longer term goal.
In terms of information and technology that is critical to support achievement of SDG14 at a global level, the poorly understood impacts of marine micro plastic pollution and the impacts of ocean acidification are areas requiring urgent attention. Without a better understanding of these types of threats, it is not possible to design possible solutions and mitigation measures. Research into these and other areas need to include elements leading to positive impact and potential solutions, rather than only address ‘interesting’ theoretical questions. Another area of research that could improve collaborative management of the ocean is on policy related to the deep sea and ABNJs. None of the global climate related threats can be solved by one country on its own, and ways need to be developed to ensure more effective management of the ocean as a whole.

Aurelien Carbonniere's picture

Aurelien Carbonniere said:

- Foster the emergence of an "integrated" marine knowledge which itself requires the development of a proper dedicated research (how to better exploit synergies between disciplines, how to adress the current gaps, how to link different groups of people?);- Promote effective interfaces and platforms/fora (eg. Science /policy interface) to exchange and discuss on cross-cutting issues : social and political sciences could be really needed to facilitate multiple interactions; - Foster the open access to research infrastructures to increase researchers' mobility and generate emulation, exchange of ideas and therefore new types of knowledge;- Promote and reinforce environmental education in schools

Cesar TORO's picture

Cesar TORO said:

Despite world economy and the life in the Planet depend on the Ocean, ocean affairs have received no significant attention.  Most of regions do not have a regional ocean policy and few countries have national ocean policy in place. Access to science for policy making is limited. It is difficult to access information needed for developing policy in general and in particular for supporting ocean related agreements, e.g. agreement on Biodiversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) currently being negotiated. As well, information needed to address much of SDG14 implementation and monitoring is limited or scarce.

Thus, a major priority should be focusing in producing sciences / improving access to data and information that support monitoring and implementation of already established ocean related agreements.

Lucy Scott's picture

Lucy Scott said:

Welcome to the online forum on increasing scientific knowledge, and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to development (SDG14.a) in advance of The Ocean Conference. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and looking forward to hearing from you.

For question 2, we are very interested to receive your input on priority actions. Please feel free to make your inputs on one or all of the questions we have posed here.

•    What do you see as some of the priority actions which we can all rally around in global  'Calls for Action' in achieving Target 14.a and to improve the current state of scientific knowledge and research capacity in order to improve ocean health?

•    What actions from local to global scales are needed to develop and support existing observational networks?

•    What actions have already been taken in your region/country?

•    What new actions are needed for capacity building, knowledge and data sharing, and policy to further assist in delivering to the needs of communities and the environment?

This forum will remain open until 17 April and we will monitor the inputs to ensure the discussion makes a substantive input to be carried to the Conference in June. Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform.

Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for our and future generations!