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GOA-ON Ocean Decade Programme OARS

GOA-ON is pleased that our proposal “Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability - Providing society with the observational and scientific evidence needed to sustainably identify, monitor, mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification; from local to global scales” was endorsed as a programme of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The OARS programme will build on the work of GOA-ON to further develop the science of ocean acidification by enhancing ocean acidification capacity, increasing observations of ocean chemistry changes, identifying the impacts on marine ecosystems on local and global scales, and providing society and decision makers with the information needed to mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification.

"A major goal of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is to build capacity to assure that the globe truly has ocean science capability on a global scale. This matches the efforts of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) to date. The work proposed work in our programme, "Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS)" leverages GOA-ON's work, to enhance ocean acidification capacity building and to better connect these efforts to decision makers and society."

Jan Newton (co-chair GOA-ON)

"We are delighted that our proposal, Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) has been formally recognized as a UN Ocean Decade programme. This new initiative will build on the great work of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) to help develop the science of ocean acidification still further, including observing changes in ocean chemistry, identifying the impacts on marine life and helping to support the sustainability of marine ecosystems. Through OARS, and with the continued support of GOA-ON, the scientific community will work effectively together to provide society and decision makers with the scientific evidence they need in order to sustainably monitor, mitigate and adapt to the threats of ocean acidification; from our local coasts and estuaries to the open oceans."

Steve Widdicombe (co-chair GOA-ON)

OARS – The GOA-ON Ocean Decade Action

GOA-ON's Ocean Decade Action is titled "Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability - Providing society with the observational and scientific evidence needed to sustainably identify, monitor, mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification; from local to global scales (OARS)".

The OARS programme will build on the work of GOA-ON to foster the development of the science of ocean acidification including the impacts on marine life and sustainability of marine ecosystems in estuarine-coastal-open ocean environments. The programme will address the SDG target 14.3 "Minimize and address the impacts of Ocean Acidification (OA), including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels".

The OARS programme aims to provide systematic evidence of the impacts of ocean acidification on the sustainability of marine ecosystems, enhance ocean acidification capacity, increase observations of ocean chemistry changes, enhance the communication to policy makers and communities by providing the information needed to mitigate and adapt to ocean acidification and to facilitate the development and evaluation of strategies to offset future impacts.

OARS's Contribution to the Vision of the Ocean Decade by 2030

The major objectives of OARS are to:

  1. Provide a platform for scientists, policymakers, industries, coastal managers, local communities and ocean resource users to identify data and knowledge needed to develop and implement applicable solutions, and to facilitate the collection of such data, including indigenous and traditional knowledge.
  2. Co-design the ocean acidification observing strategy to incorporate and expand observations that target end user requirements, as well as to contribute to integrated global ocean observing.
  3. Identify ways to address end-user needs to reduce local, regional, and global impacts of ocean acidification, and support decision makers in the establishment and implementation of efficient strategies that help to mitigate and adapt towards ocean acidification at global, regional, and local levels in both short and long-terms.
  4. Increase and augment the capacity of ocean scientists globally to conduct and synthesize research on ocean acidification at local and regional scales.
  5. Identify geographic and thematic areas of the greatest vulnerability to OA to improve the efficient flow of attention, human, technical, and financial resources to where it is needed most.
  6. Support initiatives on sustainable management of land-based activities to reduce coastal acidification.
  7. Provide data necessary to identify and verify new innovative ways of ocean acidification mitigation through marine interventions.
  8. Provide the knowledge and understanding needed to contribute to predictive models, employing new cyber technology such as digital twins.
  9. Support evidence-based public and political awareness and action towards ocean acidification, its sources, and impacts, achieved via ocean literacy and public outreach.

OARS Decade Action Outcomes

Building on the success and lessons learned from the work of GOA-ON in supporting the ocean acidification community, OARS will expand to address broader community needs, such as interactions of OA with multiple ocean stressors, as well as greater engagement with and knowledge delivered to specific regions, industry and policy makers.

GOA-ON and its partners propose to broaden the network’s scope and expect to achieve the following outcomes through OARS by 2030:

  1. Enable the scientific community to provide ocean acidification data and evidence of known quality, via capacity development, mentoring of early career researchers, facilitating data sharing, and growing regional collaborations, and increased communication through meetings and workshops, allowing for a holistic analysis considering all stakeholder perspectives.
  2. Identify data and evidence needs for mitigation and adaptation strategies, from local to global, by 2022. Communicate these needs to the scientific and science policy community to ensure that science is prioritized (to ensure efficient and quick implementation of actions).
  3. Co-design and implementation of observation strategies in collaboration with data/information producers and end-users by 2025. Identify factors limiting collection of data and implementation of solutions and use OARS activities under 1. as a tool to fix some of those, by for example, continuing to build capacity in developing countries (with a strong user participation). Augment OARS supported by GOA-ON by proactively designing and implementing observation strategies to ensure vulnerable areas are adequately monitored. Provide ocean acidification baseline information for newly developed carbon removal strategies.
  4. Increase understanding of ocean acidification impacts to protect marine life by 2030. Implementation of the newly established framework for biological observation within the ocean acidification monitoring framework (Dupont et al., in review) providing the possibility to improve predictions of vulnerability and resilience to ocean acidification at all temporal and spatial scales.
  5. Provide appropriate data and information necessary to the development of societally relevant predictions and projections, employing new technologies such as digital twins, for all ocean ‘users’ of the impacts of ocean acidification in order to implement adaptation and mitigation by 2030.
  6. Increase public awareness of ocean acidification, its sources and impacts, achieved via ocean literacy and public outreach.
  7. Develop strategies and solutions to enable countries and regions to include measures to reduce ocean acidification in their respective legislation. This outcome is based on achieving the outcomes 1-6.

What is the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development?

On 5 December 2017, the United Nations proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, to be held from 2021 to 2030.

The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

The vision of the Ocean Decade is "the science we need for the ocean we want". 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 our oceans and coasts for the benefit of humanity.

Under the Ocean Decade Framework, Ocean Decade Challenges, Decade Objectives and Decade Actions will contribute to addressing and achieving the Decade Outcomes.

Ocean Decade Implementation Plan

The Ocean Decade Implementation Plan (Summary) identifies seven Decade Outcomes for the Ocean we want at the end of the Ocean Decade. The Outcomes describe both the desired state of the ocean and the desired state of society’s use of, and interaction with, the ocean.

OARS Partners

Contact

Contact Point for OARS: Kirsten Isensee, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, k.isensee@unesco.org