OARS, the UN-Endorsed Ocean Decade Programme From GOA-ON

The United Nations endorsed "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)" as an Ocean Decade Programme, as proposed by GOA-ON.

The OARS programme will build on the work of GOA-ON to foster the development of ocean acidification science, including the impacts on marine life and sustainability of marine ecosystems in estuarine, coastal, and open ocean environments. The programme will address the Sustainable Development Goal indicator 14.3.1 "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.

Please see our video for a quick introduction.

OARS Decade Action Outcomes

OARS presents seven outcomes for the decade to achieve the success we need to better address ocean acidification. 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 improving understanding of interactions of OA with multiple ocean stressors and increasing engagement with specific regions, industry, and policy makers.

GOA-ON and its partners aim 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, 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.
  3. Co-design and implement observation strategies in collaboration with data/information producers and end-users by 2025. Identify factors limiting collection of data and implementation of solutions and collaborate with OARS outcome 1 activities to ameliorate and amend the identified issues. Proactively design and implement 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. Implement biological observation within ocean acidification monitoring, 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 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 policy and legislation.

How Will OARS Achieve the Outcomes?

The OARS programme has convened "co-champions", chosen as experts and leaders in their fields, to lead the initial development of each outcome. Teams of 2-3 co-champions work together with a working group to define the strategies and priorities for the outcome. Following a theory of change approach, the working group is working to identify outputs, activities, inputs, and enablers.

Who Are the OARS Co-Champions and How Can I Get Involved?

Co-champions are supported by members of the GOA-ON Secretariat. To meet the people involved and to find a point of contact for the outcome, click here.

Why Is OARS Important? A Perspective From GOA-ON

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 world 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 Partners


Contact Point for OARS: Kirsten Isensee, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO,