Preparations for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) are coming to a close as the version 2.0 of the Decade Implementation Plan is submitted for presentation to UN Member States at the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly.

In accordance with the Resolution 72/73 of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) has led the preparation of the Implementation Plan for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development through a highly participatory and inclusive process that has spanned nearly three years.

The Plan provides a framework for transformational action that will build on existing achievements and deliver action across geographies, sectors, disciplines, and generations. It is a non-prescriptive document and will evolve with time reflecting new possibilities, opportunities, and challenges.

Following Resolution 74/19, UNESCO’s IOC submitted Version 2.0 of the Implementation Plan to the 75th session of UNGA, set to open on Tuesday, 15 September 2020. The latest version of the Implementation Plan incorporates significant contributions from the Decade Executive Planning Group (EPG), a group of 19 global leaders in ocean science that was established in mid-2018 to advise Decade preparations, and from an Informal Working Group of Early Career Ocean Professionals that was established in late 2019.

Version 2.0 of the Plan builds on discussions held in a series of global, thematic, and regional planning meetings that convened over 1900 participants from the scientific community, governments, UN entities, NGOs, private sector, and donors across ten ocean basins between June 2019 and May 2020. The Plan also reflects submissions from over 50 leading ocean institutions that informed the development of the scientific priorities of the Decade, and over 230 written submissions received in response to the peer review of the zero draft in March and April 2020.

The 150 Member States of UNESCO’s IOC and the UN bodies comprising the UN-Oceans inter-agency mechanism further contributed to version 2.0 of the Implementation Plan through a comprehensive review between June and July 2020.