Ocean science research, the key to a sustainable future

Human activity has already affected all parts of the ocean, with pollution increasing and fish-stocks plummeting. The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. It regulates our climate and holds vast and in some cases untouched resources. It provides us with basics such as food, materials, energy, and transportation, and we also enjoy the seascape for religious or recreational practices. Today, more than 40% of the global population lives in areas within 200 km of the ocean and 12 out of 15 mega cities are coastal. Doubling of the world population over the last 50 years, rapid industrial development, and growing human affluence are exerting increasing pressure on the ocean. Climate change, non-sustainable resource extraction, land-based pollution, and habitat degradation are threatening the productivity and health of the ocean (Journal of Nature).

The United Nations has always emphasized on the importance of oceans and has showed it in Rio+20 summit (The future we want) and also sustainable goals (goal 14) explicitly which finally lead to the first oceans conference in 2017. Following these actions and in order to clarify the important and key role of oceans, the United Nations designated the years 2021 to 2030 to oceans as one of the main priorities of UN and declared it in an announcement with the title of “Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development”.

The UN’s recent announcement of a Decade of Ocean Science provides a glimmer of hope, but scientists will need to work closely with decision-makers and society atlarge to get the ocean back on track. This announcement which was accompanied by the wide support of specialists, especially emphasized on the collaboration of all stake-holders, politicians and decision makers, companies, researchers. Furthermore, it has demanded from all communities which are at vicinity of oceans to contribute with this program. UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is responsible to proceed this program.