July 18, 2019

IOC Assembly Welcomes Progress on SDG 14 Indicators, Supports Cooperation on Ocean-Climate Nexus

News Source: SDG Knowledge Hub

Author(s): Catherine Benson Wahlén

4 July 2019: The 30th session of the Assembly of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) reviewed progress on the Commission’s work, and agreed on future priorities. The Assembly welcomed the Commission’s progress on elevating awareness on SDG 14 (life below water) and the Commission’s role in developing accelerated methodologies for SDG 14 indicators.

The 30th session of the IOC Assembly convened from 26 June to 4 July at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. The Assembly is composed of 150 member States, and is charged with establishing IOC-UNESCO’s general policy and main areas of work.

The Assembly acknowledged the IOC’s role in advancing increased visibility on SDG 14. IOC-UNESCO is the custodian agency for the indicators for SDG target 14.3 on ocean acidification, and SDG target 14.a on marine scientific research. The Assembly recognized the Commission’s progress in developing accepted methodologies for measuring these two indicators, both of which are now classified as Tier II indicators. According to the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), a Tier II indicator has a clear methodology but inadequate data. Countries can now begin collecting global data for both indicators.

On climate change, the Assembly agreed to support countries to formulate ocean-related climate mitigation and adaptation strategies and on further cooperation and research on the ocean-climate nexus. The Assembly established a Joint IOC-World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Collaborative Board, which will work on disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate information.

Also on cooperation, the Assembly encouraged the IOC Secretariat to strengthen joint activities in support of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development for the years 2021-2030. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, called on IOC member States to increase budgetary resources to ensure the world does not “undershoot our ambitions for the Decade.” The Commission is also working to improve interactions between citizens and the ocean through increasing global ocean literacy. In addition, the IOC Secretariat will continue to provide a platform to enhance member States’ capacities, including through exchange of oceanographic data and information and best practices in ocean sciences, with an emphasis on vulnerable countries, particularly least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).

The Assembly agreed on a number of key programmes and initiatives, including Seabed 2030, an initiative that aims to map the entire seafloor by 2030. The Assembly also agreed on the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2). These initiatives aim to enhance understanding of the world’s oceans and provide information to support sustainable development, well-being and prosperity.