IOI Special Seminar/IOI Alumni CPD: Breaking the Stalemate: The Role of Ocean Literacy in Catalysing Progress on SDG 14 and Beyond, 7th December 2023

Hybrid, Europe House - European Commission Representation in Malta, Valletta

As part of the annual IOI Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas, organised by IOI Malta, the IOI, supported by and in collaboration with the European Commission Representation in Malta, organised this year's high-profile hybrid seminar with a focus on  the pivotal role of Ocean Literacy in fostering the advancement of the SDGs, especially SDG 14 and the underlying theme of Ocean protection and conservation, and aimed to serve as a platform for insightful discourse and collaborative exploration of key overlapping concepts.


In the face of current challenges of Ocean degradation, increasingly unpredictable Ocean-climate modulation, and potential biodiversity collapse, distinguished experts examined how knowledge-based institutions such as the IOI can contribute to achieving effective solutions that meet the global SDGs and ambitions, while also considering the role that Ocean literate communities can play in accelerating this transition. With a primary emphasis on the critical need for heightened public awareness and understanding of Ocean issues, the seminar aimed to emphasise the significant impact of Ocean Literacy on fostering responsible and effective Ocean Governance practices amongst all stakeholders.


The seminar was chaired by IOI Honorary President, Awni Behnam, Training Course Director. Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director of the IOI, moderated the seminar and presented how the IOI Ocean Academy can play a significant role in improving global Ocean Literacy through online, easily accessible, free-to-all Ocean knowledge modules anchored in local contexts. Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and Assistant Director General of UNESCO, discussed the contribution of Ocean literacy to sustainability, highlighting the significance of the Ocean Decade. The next session delved into the role of Ocean trade data and regulatory outcomes in building a sustainable Ocean economy. David Vivas Eugui, Chief of Section at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), shared insights on the topic. Nilufer Oral, Director of the Centre for International Law at the National University of Singapore and a member of the International Law Commission, explored recent developments in international law, diplomacy, and the Ocean. Alan Deidun, Course Director IOI Malta Training Centre, focused on leveraging cutting-edge technology to elevate Ocean literacy. 

This seminar was attended by the faculty and participants of the Malta Training Programme class of 2023 and IOI Alumni from around the world joined online. The participants of the training programme are early career ocean professionals from the coastal states of the regional seas. The class prepared a message emphasising the importance of concrete actions in integrating Ocean literacy into formal and informal education, promoting community involvement, and advocating for a unified "green" and "blue" approach to address interconnected challenges across all Sustainable Development Goals. The class emphasised that Ocean literacy should be transformative as well as informative.


The message was presented on behalf of the class of 2023 by Iona Muscat and Manar Shibly, and can be read in full below:


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