Fresh off hosting the 2022 Our Ocean Conference (13-14 April), the President of the Republic of Palau H.E. Surangal Whipps, Jr. has become the newest Patron of the Ocean Decade Alliance, further scaling up his country’s role in global ocean action and strengthening the voices of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Ocean Decade community.
In March 2022, the UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay issued a formal invitation to H.E. Surangel S. Whipps, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, to be a member of the Ocean Decade Alliance, including a personal role for the President as a Patron of the Alliance.
“Your leadership on ocean issues affecting Small Island Developing States, including as co-chair of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, and as host of the Our Ocean Conference, would be invaluable to the success of the Decade,” wrote Ms Azoulay in the formal invitation letter.
The Ocean Decade Alliance’s mandate is to catalyse support for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development through targeted resource mobilization, networking and influence, leveraging and multiplying financial and in-kind resource commitments.
Focusing on action and jointly developed solutions, the Ocean Decade Alliance will support all forms of ocean science to successfully deliver the Ocean Decade’s vision and thus contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“I look forward to strengthening the partnership with UNESCO on sustainable ocean management in SIDS countries. As a globally recognized advocate for the welfare of the world’s oceans, Palau welcomes every opportunity to strengthen regional and international commitments to the same. Membership in the Ocean Decade Alliance elevates Palau, and collectively, SIDS’ voices on the world stage,” wrote President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. upon accepting UNESCO’s invitation to join the Ocean Decade Alliance.
The Republic of Palau is the second SIDS country to join the Ocean Decade Alliance, after the Prime Minister of Seychelles announced the country’s membership earlier this year, during the Our Ocean Summit (Brest, 9-11 February). They join other world leaders in this role including H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, H.E. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, President of Portugal and H.E. Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway.
The Alliance members will have the opportunity to shape the strategic implementation of the Decade, leading the way in the form of commitments and political will to invest in ocean knowledge generation for sustainable development.
A high-level meeting of the Ocean Decade Alliance Patrons and members will take place during the upcoming 2022 UN Ocean Conference (27 June – 1 July) in Lisbon, Portugal, and members will play a major role in promoting the Ocean Decade agenda in other international events, including the 2022 UN Climate Summit, UNFCCC COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
About the Ocean Decade:
Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.
About the IOC-UNESCO:
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.