Virtual Ocean Literacy Summit on 8 June 2020

On behalf of the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, we would like to welcome you on this page which will host the first Virtual Ocean Literacy Summit on 8 June 2020


Ocean Literacy (OL) is defined as the understanding of our influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on us. Ocean literacy is a methodological approach to increase the awareness of the public about responsible and informed behavior towards the ocean and its resources. It is not just knowledge about the state of the ocean but a deeper understanding of our individual and collective responsibilities to take care of our planet’s largest ecosystem.

In the context of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021 – 2030 (“The Decade” for short), Ocean Literacy is expected to play a key role to transform ocean knowledge into action. As part of the Decade, OL will help to advance sustainable production practices, develop evidence-based public marine policy, influence the ocean science research agenda by identifying the science questions that are most relevant to society, promote a more responsible citizenry, and encourage young people to start a career in the ocean economy or in marine science.

Celebrate the World Oceans Day by joining the First Virtual Ocean Literacy Summit

The first Virtual Ocean Literacy Summit is being organized on the occasion of World Oceans Day 2020 (June 8). The Summit will celebrate the successes of the ocean literacy community worldwide and aims to achieve the following three objectives:

  • Present the need for shared responsibility, connectivity, and a global vision for the ocean.
  • Explore the role of OL as an essential tool for the transformation of scientific knowledge into action within the context of the Decade.
  • Inspire stakeholders, institutions, organizations, and individuals to join the global OL community and contribute to the achievement of its goals in the course of the Decade.

Discover the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021 – 2030

The Decade will provide a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to create a new foundation, across the science-policy interface, to strengthen the management of the ocean. The Decade is embracing a participative and transformative process so that scientists, policy makers, managers, and service users can work together to ensure that ocean science delivers greater benefits for both the ocean ecosystem and for society.

The Decade will address 6 societal outcomes:

-A Clean Ocean

-A Sustainable and Productive Ocean

-A Healthy and Resilient Ocean

-A Transparent and Accessible Ocean

-A Predicted Ocean 

-A Safe Ocean

Discover UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development.


All times are in UTC

(9:00-9:05) Special opening message: UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay 


Watch the Panel 1 recording HERE

(9:05-9:10) Vladimir Ryabinin (Executive Secretary of IOC-UNESCO): Ocean Decade, Ocean Literacy 

(9:10-9:15) Megan Rowling, moderator (Thomson Reuters journalist) 

(9:15-9:25)  Keynote by Peter Thomson (UN Special Envoy for the Ocean): Why we need ocean action, and the role of ocean literacy  

(9:25-9:28) VideoThe Earth has One big Ocean with many features

(9:28-9:30) Panel 1:  Our ocean connects us … 

  • Thomas Remengesau Jr., President of Palau (video message)
  • Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea of Portugal
  • Helen Ågren, Ambassador for the Ocean, Sweden 
  • Chip Cunliffe, Head of Sustainability, AXA 
  • Tyler-Rae Chung, Member of the Early Career Ocean Professionals Group for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 

continue the discussion

9:55-10:10 Debate with moderators 

Debate – 10:10-10:20

Watch the Panel 2 recording HERE

10:20-10:25  Justin Wordland, moderator (Time Magazine journalist)

Panel 2– Our Ocean engages us…

  • Margaret Leinen, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Kerstin Forsberg, Planeta Oceano
  • Nina Jensen, REVOcean
  • Jyotika Virmani, Schmidt Ocean Institute
  • Markus Reymann, Alligator Head Foundation and TBA21 Academy 
  • Sylvia Spalding, IPMEN and NMEA
  • Adrian Rogers, Ocean Wise

continue the discussion

10:50-11:00 – Questions with moderator 

Debate with questions from the audience 11:10-11:15

 Watch the Panel 3 recording HERE 

Lisa Friedman, moderator (New York Time journalist) – 11:15-11:20

Video by Anne de Carbuccia, One Planet, One Future 

Panel 3– Our Ocean inspires us 

  • Lorenzo Bertelli, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility of Prada S.p.A. 
  • Alexia Barrier, Alexia Barrier, skipper IMOCA , president of 4myplanet association
  • Can Büyükberber, Visual Artist and Director 
  • John Canning, Interactive and Mixed Reality Producer
  • Altin Gün, Musician 
  • Reem Abdou (Drėėėmy), Sound artist and ethnomusicologist
  • Görkem Hayta, Cultural Diplomacy Expert 

Original Production - Audio immersive video 

continue the discussion

11:50-12:00 debate with moderator 

Debate with audience – 12:00-12:10

From inspiration to action: the way forward   

Watch the Conclusion recording HERE  

12:10-12:15 Connecting people to the ocean: the EU4Ocean coalition – Virginijus Sinkevičius , EC Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries (recorded Video message & video on the launching of the EU4Ocean coalition)

12:15-12:20  A proposal for an Ocean Literacy Network in Africa -  Kenza Khallafi, Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection

12:20-12:25 The way forward – OL as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and looking forward to the 10 years we have to work together - Julian Barbière (IOC-UNESCO)

Closing remarks 

    Latest Announcement

    Videos of the Live Ocean Literacy Summit - June 8 2020

    Posted by Danika on June 30th, 2020

    The videos of the OL Summit are now available:

    Panel 1
    Panel 2

    Panel 3


    All videos can be found in the Gallery folder

    Thanks to everyone for making this event a successful one!

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