Paris, 11 February 2022 (TDI): Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), stated that to protect the oceans better, they must be developed better.

UNESCO’s 193 member states were urged to integrate ocean education into school curricula by 2025. The agency has developed a toolkit for public decision-makers that contains a comprehensive framework of educational material in order to achieve the ultimate objective.

As a result, all countries will be capable of placing the ocean at the centre of education and increasing students’ knowledge in this area, leading to more responsible and engaged citizens, said Stefanie Giannini, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education.

Tools and Best Practices

As UNESCO believes that society’s relationship with the ocean must change in order to become more sustainable, it provides modern educational tools to help achieve this goal.

UNESCO’s reference tool details the successful practices being implemented by member states such as Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Kenya, Portugal, and Sweden in the field of ocean education.

The agency presented the results achieved by these countries, along with the opportunities and challenges encountered when attempting to integrate ocean knowledge into the curriculum.

Knowledge and skills derived from traditional sources

In a press release, UNESCO noted that ocean education should not only focus on scientific knowledge and an awareness of contemporary issues. Preferably, it should also promote traditional skills and knowledge, such as those protected by the Convention on the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which highlights ancestral fishing techniques.

Member states and regions are presently able to adapt the “theory of change” to their own practices, circumstances, and needs by utilizing the newly developed toolkit.

As part of COP27, which will be held in November 2022 in Egypt, the agency will present a progress report on the implementation of this objective among its 193 members.

Oceans and UNESCO

UNESCO is leading the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, which includes several international summits for the promotion of ocean health.

Simultaneously, UNESCO has launched a campaign to encourage citizens to join the Generation Ocean Global Movement.

By using transformational storytelling, the objective is to engage citizens with more information and inspire them to take action to restore, protect, and live more sustainably with the ocean.

Later this year, the UN Ocean Conference will take place in Portugal as part of efforts to launch a new era through science-based innovative solutions and start a new chapter of global ocean action.