International Symposium of the United Nations Regular Process on strengthening the Ocean science-policy interface

UN DOALOS - IOC UNESCO; 12-13 December 2023; IOC-UNESCO Headquarters, Paris


The programme of work for the period 2021-2025 for the third cycle of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects (the “Regular Process”), endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, included the holding of a two-day international symposium on strengthening the Ocean science-policy interface. 


In view of the synergies between the Symposium thematics and the mission and programmes of the IOI in developing Ocean governance capacity globally, the IOI was invited to attend this meeting. The IOI was represented by Awni Behnam, Honorary President, and Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director.


The contributions of experts speaking at the symposium emphasised the importance of the science-policy interface for Ocean governance. The panels showcased regional and international  examples of how dialogue among multiple stakeholders from all levels could enhance and synergise this interface while drawing on the outcomes of the Regular Process within the framework of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021– 2030). Special emphases of the panel on Ocean literacy were placed on inclusivity, co-design, and indigenous knowledge, especially across the wide spectrum of stakeholders contributing to science-based policy making in different regions globally. The audience was made up of experts, policy and decision-makers, trainers and educators from national governments, intergovernmental institutions, private sector entities, and civil society united by their reliance on scientific advice to develop ocean-related policies.


The IOI Capacity Development and Education and Training Programmes offered globally by the IOI network over the last five decades for mid-career practitioners in Ocean governance: (scientists, policy makers, educators and decision makers) have as a focus the creation of a growing global network of Ocean leaders trained and empowered to develop Ocean-related policies based on sound scientific knowledge, underpinning the sustainable development of Ocean resources holistically.  The more recent IOI Ocean Academy global project on Ocean Literacy also contributes globally to the creation of a growing group of Ocean Literate stakeholders from all levels of society who are able to positively contribute to its protection and preservation and its sustainable use.


As well as benefitting from the panel contributions and audience interactions, the Symposium provided an excellent networking opportunity for the IOI delegates for whom it was a privilege and a pleasure to meet again with many accomplished alumni of the IOI Training Programmes as well as with partners in the global network of the IOI, who are able to further grow and share in different regions globally, the benefit of a sound investment in science-based policy training.