UN Ocean Decade endorses Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center’s ‘Ocean Voices’ as an official ‘Decade of Action’ program


UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission announced that the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center program, Ocean Voices, has been officially endorsed as one of the first Decade Actions as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, 2021-2030 (the ‘Ocean Decade’). Twenty eight programs, ranging in topic and geography, were selected for the first set of Ocean Decade Actions that will help create the ‘ocean we want’ by 2030.

The Ocean Voices program asserts that the contribution of ocean science to sustainable development is determined by people, and therefore it is critical to understand the actors involved, their culture and wellbeing, and how power dynamics and decision-making processes influence our oceans. 

“This endorsement by the UN Ocean Decade validates our approach to put the wellbeing of people at the heart of ocean science,” said Harriet Harden-Davies, Ocean Nexus Center research fellow. Harden-Davies co-developed and will lead the program.

Ocean Voices will conduct research, incubate ideas, facilitate critical discussions and convene capacity building, in order to:

  • Advance understanding of the factors influencing the contribution of ocean science to sustainable development, and stimulate discussion across disciplinary, sectoral and geographical boundaries.
  • Critically identify barriers and the enabling conditions for equity, fairness and justice in ocean science and raise awareness so that no one is left behind through the Ocean Decade.
  • Enable solutions-oriented ocean research and promote equitable engagement by enhancing accessibility to interdisciplinary (including social, natural, health, and humanities) tools and frameworks.

“The work we are doing at Ocean Nexus Center is critical for Ocean Voices,” said Yoshitaka Ota, Ocean Nexus Center director. “This program will advance equity in the Decade through interdisciplinary research and partnerships that will examine how ocean science can support a more equitable and sustainable world, and how to prevent the science from being used, misused or ignored.”

For more information about the program, visit https://oceannexus.uw.edu/ocean-voices/