Ocean Decade: Fostering dialogue on the role of science in marine policies in the Southeast Pacific

On 5 November 2020, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, MSPglobal Initiative and Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) co-organized, with the support of Sweden, the online session “Co-designing the science we need for the Southeast Pacific” as part of the Ocean Decade Virtual Series.

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) will harness and stimulate innovative ocean research, from co-design to co-delivery, and strengthen the multistakeholder cooperation needed to develop the science we need for the ocean we want.

In light of this, the purpose of the event was to foster dialogue on the role of science in the development of public policies for the marine environment by exploring the challenges and opportunities for collaborative research, as well as training, education and resource needs in the Southeast Pacific region.

As Chair of IOC-UNESCO, Mr. Ariel Troisi welcomed all participants and presented the background of the Ocean Decade, its vision, mission, challenges and expected results. A Call for Decade Actions will allow partners and stakeholders to send proposals until 15 January 2021 to address the challenges of the Decade in a collaborative and inclusive manner.

Ms. Carmen Grados, from the Institute of the Sea of Peru (IMARPE), presented the results of the 2019 Ocean Decade Regional Workshop for the Southeast Pacific. That meeting identified knowledge gaps, current and potential collaboration activities, priorities and training needs, as well as other initiatives that would be aligned with the objectives of the Decade.

The first session of the “Co-designing” event was dedicated to reviewing lessons learned through three panels, with the last panel presenting examples from the five countries of the region.

Mr. Juan Luis Orellana presented the GEF-UNDP Humboldt II project for the sustainable management of the shared resources of the Humboldt Current Large Marine Ecosystem between Peru and Chile, which aims to stop the deterioration of marine resources and habitats. Ms. Rosa Zavala and Mr. Guillermo Guzmán Gómez discussed in their intervention the aspects needed to build adequate financing structures and address institutional barriers.

Mr. Manuel Velandia of the MarViva Foundation (Colombia) explained the cooperation between research, different levels of government and various NGOs, sectors and local communities in the Integrated Management Regional Districts “Encanto de los Manglares del Bajo Baudó” and “Golfo de Tribugá – Cabo Corrientes (Colombian Pacific)”.

The potential of research centers in the region and their role in relation to marine policies was then discussed. Mr. Díaz Ferguson presented the case of the scientific station in the Coiba National Park, which contributes and promotes efficiency in the management of the park’s marine spatial protection area , but also at national level.

On behalf of Peru, Ms. Tamayo presented the work of the Directorate of Hydrography and Navigation of the Peruvian Navy in support of the development of national maritime policies in the context of climate change.

Along the same lines, Mr. Oviedo of the Directorate General Maritime of Colombia listed the tasks and products of the Oceanographic and Hydrographic Pacific Research Center, which benefit national, regional and local authorities.

Ms. Martinez-Harms from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile presented a flow chart on the links between science and action, as well as a concrete example of co-management.

Finally, from the perspective of public administration, Mr. Malo, National Undersecretary of Science, Technology and Innovation of Ecuador, presented the national policy to promote science for technological development and innovation, which are key for decision-making in the design and implementation of public policies.

In the final session, the panelists discussed training and education needs as well as the availability of resources at national and regional levels. They highlighted the need to go beyond the discourse on transdisciplinarity, the importance of marine spatial planning and the urgency of addressing inequalities – geographic, gender and socio-economic.

Among the needs mentioned, we can point out:

  • Shared financing
  • Public and private mechanisms
  • Targeted support
  • Create bridges between different actors and projects
  • Coordination between universities and NGOs
  • Facilitate the participation of fishermen and women involved in the production chains
  • More higher education curricula dedicated to oceanography
  • Educational programs in simple language for coastal communities
  • Education on ocean issues in schools
  • Participatory monitoring

Mr. Troisi invited the countries of the region to develop common agendas with transversal components, as has been done by IOC-UNESCO in the fields of capacity building (e.g. MSPglobal, OceanTeacher Global Academy), ocean literacy and the various products and tools supporting ocean science.

Ms. Quesada, coordinator of the MSPglobal pilot project in the Southeast Pacific and member of the MSPglobal Expert Group, listed the next steps of the Ocean Decade, including the evaluation of the Implementation Plan during the 2020 UN General Assembly and the First International Conference of the Ocean Decade.

Ms. Zuleika Pinzón, coordinator of the Regional Action Plan for the Southeast Pacific, detailed the fields of work of CPPS and the different scientific committees, projects and collaboration activities led by the institution in support of the Ocean Decade in the region. She highlighted the extraordinary capacity of the countries of the region to support all the challenges that will arise in this new decade and the wide recognition that CPPS has in the shared management of knowledge generation. Ms. Pinzón committed, on behalf of her institution, to continue supporting and contributing to the expected achievements of the Decade.

The event will contribute to the development of a regional roadmap for transboundary MSP and Sustainable Blue Economy in the Southeast Pacific.

Watch the speakers’ presentations below:


MSPglobal pilot project in the Southeast Pacific
Ocean Decade


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