UNESCO honours global champions of ocean science
THE OTHER honorees recognized for their efforts to build greater capacity and international cooperation on ocean science included: Argentina; Morocco; Portugal; Nippon Foundation and the UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign. All these ocean science champions were honoured through a special event at the UN Ocean Conference designed to highlight IOC’s first Global Ocean Science Report, which will be launched on 8 June, World Oceans Day, in New York.
Norway was recognized as an “Ocean’s 8 Champion” for its efforts to build professional capacity in ocean science. With 364 ocean science researchers for every 1 million inhabitants Norway now has established itself as a global ocean science powerhouse.
Since the early 2000’s, Norway has gone from being the Scandinavian country with the fewest PhDs to being the worldwide leader in terms of ocean scientists per capita. From 2005 Norway invested millions in developing centres of research excellence, and improving research infrastructure and human resources support for marine science. The Norwegian Government, informed by an engaged scientific community, recognized ocean science early on as a fundamental priority for sustainable economic development.
Ocean science remains a remarkably expensive undertaking and probing the ocean requires research vessels, satellite imagery and the use of submarine robots or remotely controlled submersible vehicles. This also involves the collection and processing of data by thousands of scientists working at sea or in laboratories.
In 2010, the OECD estimated the value of the ocean’s resources at about $1.5 trillion. Traditionally more than 70% of the total budget for ocean science has come from public funding at the national level, but UNESCO’s Global Ocean Science Report says this is subject to considerable fluctuations from year to year. In order to support sustained investment in ocean science, the report says governments should consider supporting more innovative funding models that involve greater intergovernmental cooperation or increasing partnership opportunities with the private sector.