Written by Nereus fellow Guillermo Ortuño Crespo
In 2015, the global community made a series of global commitments to the generations to come by agreeing on a series of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are to be met between 2020 and 2030. The scope and nature of these goals varied significantly, from tackling poverty, hunger and gender inequalities, to fighting climate change or protecting terrestrial and marine life.
While our home is called Earth, the heart, lungs and interconnective tissue of our planet is clearly the Global Ocean. Until recently, the Ocean and its central role for life on Earth had not been given the attention it deserved. As stocks began to collapse, plastic in the oceans continued to proliferate and oxygen dead-zones multiplied, the global community began to realize that if the oceans fall, we fall, and that a global inter-generational push for better understanding and protection of our oceans is required.
SDG 14, on life below the water, set out a series of ambitious targets to help reduce human impacts on marine life and habitats around the world. While the vehicle for achieving these targets will come in the form of different socio-economic commitments, the vehicle must be fueled by scientific knowledge.
In an effort to solidify and generate the new partnerships and knowledge that is necessary to attain
the targets of SDG 14, the global community called for a UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). On May 13-15th, Copenhagen was home to the first planning meeting of the Decade, where over 250 scientists, policy-makers, business leaders and other members of civil society deliberated on the gaps and opportunities for the six societal outcomes that will serve as a roadmap of the 2021-2030 Decade of Ocean Science:
- 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 presence of the Nereus Program did not go unnoticed in the planning meeting. Nereus fellow Harriet Harden-Davies was the programme coordinator for the meeting, policy director Yoshitaka Ota was a panelist on for the second societal objective and Nereus fellow Guillermo Ortuño Crespo spoke during the opening plenary on the perspectives of young scientists on the Decade.
A second planning meeting will take place in 2020 before the kickoff meeting for the Decade in Berlin in 2021. The Nereus Program network will continue to engage in the planning and implementation of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.