The second United Nations Ocean Conference was co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, as a high-level meeting to support the implementation of SDG14. The overall theme of the Conference was: “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions.” The conference was originally meant to have taken place in 2020, but was delayed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As the first large-scale in-person meeting of the Ocean Science community since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020, this was an important opportunity for the Secretariat to network with colleagues, represent POGO by speaking at side events, gain updates on Ocean Decade activities beyond our own projects, and engage in wider Ocean Science and policy discussions.
The meeting was very well attended, with more than 6,000 participants in total, including 24 Heads of State and Government, and over 2,000 representatives of civil society.
The Secretariat participated both in-person and virtually. Two joint applications were accepted as virtual side events: (1) a capacity-development session led by SCOR: “Developing the capacity we need for the ocean we want”, which took place on 29 June, and (2) an OBON event: “Biomolecular observations in support of conservation and sustainable development”, which took place on 30 June. In addition, the POGO Scientific Coordinator, Dr Lilian Krug, was invited to speak at the ‘Marine Africa: The role in excellence in capacity building to increase globally ocean health and quality of life’ virtual side event (30 June), and POGO CEO, Dr Sophie Seeyave, was invited to join a virtual panel to discuss ‘Evaluating Science, Valuing the Ocean’ (30 June).
The UN Ocean Decade Communications Advisory Group (CAG), of which POGO Communications Officer, Fiona Beckman, is a member, helped coordinate and run an in-person science communication workshop aimed at the 18-30 year old age group. The CAG also held an informal in-person meet-up for members present in Lisbon, which was the first opportunity to meet face-to-face since the group was formed in 2020.
In addition to the sessions POGO was involved with, Ms Beckman and Dr Krug attended plenary sessions, interactive dialogues and high level panel events in the closed Blue Zone, plus numerous side events at local public venues. Most of these related to Capacity Development, Ocean Decade programmes/projects, and Ocean Literacy/Outreach.
The Secretariat also coordinated a written statement on behalf of the members and submitted this during the conference, which is available here: https://www.un.org/en/conferences/ocean2022/preparation/stakeholders