Barcelona to host 2024 UN Decade of the Ocean conference

Litoral barceloní
06/03/2023 - 16:37 h - Science Ajuntament de Barcelona

With the aim of advancing ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the deterioration of the ocean system and promote the sustainable development of the marine ecosystem, the United Nations General Assembly declared the period from 2021 to 2030 as the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, also known as the Decade of the Ocean. Now, the UN has announced that Barcelona will host the 2024 Decade of the Ocean Conference, an event that will bring together the Decade community and partners to review achievements and set joint priorities for the future.

The Conference will take place from 10-12 April 2024 and will be organised by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Government of Catalonia and Barcelona City Council, through the Barcelona Nautical Capital Foundation and the National Committee of the Spanish Decade of the Ocean, all led by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the CSIC. When the news was announced on 2 March, the deputy mayor in charge of the City Council’s Economy Department, Laia Bonet, stressed that Barcelona is a city of sea, and the sea is in our identity, culture and economy. She added: “It is in our hands to keep it alive, which is why Barcelona has adopted a Blue Economy strategy with which we will promote the creation of quality companies and jobs, adding economic competitiveness and environmental sustainability”.

According to the Catalan Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Roger Torrent, “Catalonia has a long tradition as a centre for marine research and marine sciences and as a maritime hub, with a strong commitment to sustainability. This synergy with the Ocean Decade vision makes Catalonia and Barcelona an ideal location for the first face-to-face meeting of the global Ocean Decade community since its inception in 2021”. Likewise, the Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, praised the fact that this conference is taking place in Barcelona, because “it strengthens Spain’s commitment to the blue economy and the sustainable development of the ocean, and also confirms our country’s position in marine sciences”.

An opportunity for reflection and action

Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO-IOC, stressed the importance of the Conference as an opportunity for actors from around the world to collectively reflect on the use of science and knowledge for sustainable ocean management and pave the way for the future of the Decade.

The event will provide a unique opportunity for governments, leaders, maritime sectors, philanthropists, universities, the private sector, NGOs and others to reflect on the achievements of the first three years of the Decade of the Ocean and define a vision for the future. The aim is to generate the knowledge needed to find science-based solutions to global challenges such as climate change, food security, biodiversity conservation, sustainable ocean economy, pollution and natural hazards. The conference will include concrete examples and best practices in ocean science to deliver “the science we need for the ocean we want”. The meeting will be accompanied by a series of events to extend the reach of the conference to marine stakeholders and citizenship, in general.