A new agreement between UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and the leading scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, The Pacific Community (SPC), will boost ocean science collaboration for the world’s largest ocean.

Covering areas including early warning systems and risk reduction, ocean literacy and capacity development, the agreement will spur action on Pacific Ocean science and increase collaboration on the implementation of the UN Decade of ocean science for sustainable development.

The agreement was signed at the official UN Ocean Conference side event held by The Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and co-organised by IOC-UNESCO where speakers presented Pacific solutions for ocean preservation and reinforced the need for urgent action to maintain ocean health in the face of the triple threats of climate change impacts, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Speaking at the side event, the Deputy Director-General of Pacific Community Cameron Driver said, “This new agreement with IOC-UNESCO is an example of how SPC has strengthened its partnerships to take action targeted at strengthening ocean science, increasing cooperation with international experts to complement the Pacific’s own capabilities and responding to needs expressed by our members”.

Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO said, “the Pacific is at the forefront of climate and ocean change. The only way out is action based on knowledge and knowledge that is co-designed and co-delivered with Pacific expert networks, indigenous communities, and the Governments of the Pacific Community. UNESCO is happy to help move forward toward this objective in the context of the Ocean Decade 2021-2030”

The 2022 UN Ocean Conference has seen Pacific leaders highlight the central role the ocean plays in the region for its people and its future. The conference has also heard calls from Pacific scientists to halt ‘parachute science’ and build long-term ocean science capacity in region.

Dr Jerome Aucan, Head of the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science (PCCOS) said, “this agreement will streamline ocean science collaboration in the region and enable us to continue to build ocean science capacity in the Pacific”.

Under the agreement, an IOC-UNESCO Programme Officer for Disaster Risk Reduction and Tsunami Warning will be hosted at the Pacific Community (SPC), to manage early warning systems for marine hazards, disaster risk reduction and tsunami projects which will be developed as vital resources for one of the world’s most disaster-prone regions.

The agreement also strengthens ongoing ocean literacy work in the region aimed at developing and encouraging understanding and study of the ocean in the Pacific.

The ocean is the Pacific region’s biggest resource and, with Pacific Island Countries and Territories at the UN Ocean Conference calling for increased investment to maintain ocean health, this agreement strengthens the regions capacity to undertake vital ocean science to ensure a healthy, productive, resilient, and safe ocean for all.

This story was originally published at SPC on 03 July 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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