March/April 2021 – Issue 26

This month: CARIBEWave & NEAMWave tsunami preparedness exercises New Ocean Carbon Report – First International Ocean Decade Conference – Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 – 1Ocean exhibition – Panerai Partnership on Ocean Literacy – State of the Climate 2020 – PEW 2021 Marine Fellows – 10 years from Japan quake and tsunami – New policy briefs on MSP – First Ocean InfoHub Project website – LME Ocean governance – Publications Corner – Upcoming Events & Trainings – Employment 

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Foreword by the Executive Secretary


Dear friends of IOC,

Over a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still largely working from home, seeing already some signs of improvement but cognizant of major uncertainties ahead. We feel very sorry for those who suffered and experienced losses from the pandemic. We are grateful to the many ordinary heroes who keep the society functioning. 

We recognize the potential danger of the continuing virus mutation and yet are hopeful that vaccines may soon allow us to enjoy some of the freedoms and social comforts of the pre-pandemic world. I am very happy to see that while the challenges to our operations are significant, IOC has successfully and uninterruptedly continued to deliver ocean knowledge for a more sustainable, equitable management of our planet’s greatest ecosystem. 

Safety comes first. It is very encouraging to see the mobilization of Member States and thousands of stakeholders around the IOC Caribbean and Northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean tsunami preparedness exercises – all organized in alignment with new national sanitary guidelines and regulations. The Ocean Decade is gaining momentum, with a major (virtual) celebratory event set for 1st June and to be followed by “Decade Laboratories” across 2021-2022 to co-design “the science we need for the ocean we want”. As the UNFCCC COP26 approaches, the new IOC-R (Integrated Ocean Carbon Research) report puts forward a whole new outlook on ocean carbon and what that could mean for the climate change scenarios. These are just few examples of the many IOC deliverables since the previous issue of the Newsletter.

Let me invite you to read the Newsletter,  learn about and join the many IOC activities currently underway!

Best wishes,
Vladimir Ryabinin


Tsunami preparedness exercises in the North-Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean and in the Caribbean 

UNESCO’s IOC conducted a tsunami preparedness exercise for countries in two ocean regions: the Caribbean (11 March) and the North-East Atlantic, the Mediterranean and adjacent seas (8-10 March). The exercises marked the 10th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake in Japan, which caused a deadly and devastating surge on the north-eastern coast of the island of Honshu, leading to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Read more about our tsunami preparedness exercises:
NEAMWave20 (8-10 March)
CARIBEWave20 (11 March) | Outcomes of the CARIBEWave20 Exercise

The ocean risks losing its ability to absorb carbon, exacerbating global warming, new report reveals

Integrated Ocean Carbon Research: A Summary of Ocean Carbon Knowledge and a Vision for Coordinated Ocean Carbon Research and Observations for the Next Decade, a report newly published by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) sets out to accomplish the vital task of studying the evolution of CO2 uptake and the potential impacts on climate change.

Download the report

Ocean Decade
Save the the Date: High-Level Launch: First International Ocean Decade Conference

This high level virtual event will be one of the highlight celebrations of the launch of the Ocean Decade, opening the First International Ocean Decade Conference. The event will be hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany, in partnership with IOC-UNESCO. The high level virtual event will be followed by seven interactive “Ocean Decade Laboratories” set between July 2021 and May 2022.

Find out more

Ocean Decade
Celebrating women empowerment on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development celebrated the 2021 International Women’s Day (8 March), emphasizing the Decade’s ambitions to advance gender equity. This year’s global theme ‘Choose to challenge’ sought to call out gender bias and inequality across all ocean fields.

Read more

Ocean Decade
1 Ocean, the great testimony’ photographic exhibition: a first dive into the Ocean Decade

The photographer Alexis Rosenfeld, SNCF Gares & Connexions and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO are teaming up to offer an exceptional exhibition at the start of the Ocean Decade “1 Ocean, the great testimony


Ocean Literacy
Panerai & UNESCO join forces to foster Ocean Literacy during the Ocean Decade

Panerai and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) are partnering to develop ocean literacy activities in the framework of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). 

Read more

Ocean Science
Climate change indicators and impacts worsend in 2020

Extreme weather combined with COVID-19 in a double blow for millions of people in 2020. However, the pandemic-related economic slowdown failed to put a brake on climate change drivers and accelerating impacts, according to a new report compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and an extensive network of partners.

Read more

Ocean Observations
PEW announces 2021 Marine Fellows 

Key members of the Global Ocean Observing System recognized by the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation as making major contributions to address challenges affecting the world’s oceans.

Meet the new Pew Fellows

Disaster preparadness is key, 10 years on from Japan quake and tsunami

The UN chief urged countries to make sure they invest the funds necessary to prevent and manage disasters, in a solemn message of remembrance on Wednesday for the 18,400 people who died or are unaccounted for, due to the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan exactly ten years ago.

Read more

Marine Policy
New set of policy briefs highlights role of Marine Spatial Planning in sustanaible ocean governance 

The MSPglobal Initiative has just published five policy briefs highlighting the importance of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) for a sustainable governance of the ocean. These documents will inform decision-makers and relevant stakeholders to make coordinated decisions that allow for a more sustainable use and management of marine resources.

Read more

Marine Policy
Navigating the Complexity of Regional Ocean Governance Through the Large Marine Ecosystems Approach 

Discover this complete guide to the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) approach to navigating complex problems related to transboundary issues affecting the world’s marine ecosystems, of which forty-one out of sixty-six are shared (62%) by one or more countries.

Read more

Ocean Data
The Ocean InfoHub (OIH) Project launches its first website

The Ocean Infohub (OIH) Project is pleased to announce the launch of their website to find useful information about OIH objectives and services. Launched in February 2021, the OIH website invites the community to discover the latest news and events of the project, as well as regions where the project is implemented and their official partners. Through this website, the OIH team would like to assist experts and ocean scientists in the dissemination of digital technology and sharing of ocean data.


Publications Corner

The Ocean Panel and Ocean decade: unleashing the full potential of ocean knowledge for a sustainable ocean economy 

A recent analysis prepared by IOC-UNESCO explores tangible ways in which linkages between the Ocean Decade, with its vision of the ‘science we need for the ocean we want’, and the Ocean Panel, with its aims of ‘safeguarding the long-term health and resilience of the ocean’, can be leveraged and optimized create long-lasting knowledge-based ocean action.

Read more
Download full report