The North Atlantic Ocean we need for the future we want: Moving into the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Dr. Gerald Singh, OFI Module I Assistant Professor joined the 'North Atlantic Regional Workshop' organized by OFI for the UN Ocean Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 and shares his insights.

by Dr. Gerald Singh, OFI Module I Assistant Professor, and Mirella Leis, OFI Module I Project Coordinator

On January 6-10, the Ocean Frontier Institute held the 'North Atlantic Regional Workshop' at the Halifax Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, bringing together more than 150 participants from 14 countries, including Indigenous elders, youth and men and women from diverse backgrounds to discuss an action plan for the North Atlantic Ocean in the context of the upcoming United Nations Ocean Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

 

The workshop was organized around six working groups following UN's societal outcomes: 1) a clean ocean; 2) a healthy and resilient ocean; 3) a predicted ocean; 4) a safe ocean; 5) a sustainably harvested and productive ocean; and 6) a  transparent and accessible ocean. Working groups identified knowledge gaps and proposed priorities for research and action moving forward into the Ocean Decade. Five cross-cutting themes that relate to all six societal outcomes 1) Capacity building and technology transfer; 2) Partnerships and financing; 3) Access to information, data, and knowledge; 4) Awareness raising and inclusivity; and 5) Transdisciplinarity were brought together in a panel discussion. 

 

The group discussions around these cross-cutting themes identified the importance of advancing gender equality, engaging with early career ocean professionals, establishing meaningful partnerships and collaboration across multiple sectors and stakeholders, ensuring the balanced consideration and integration of different knowledge systems and disciplines, with a special focus to the role of social sciences, recognizing ocean literacy’s critical role and enhancing existing governance approaches. For more details, read the highlights from the discussion and the summary report prepared by the Ocean Frontier Institute. 

Graphic record from the cross-cutting theme plenary. ©Corrie Melanson, Ocean Frontier Institute

(...) the Ocean Decade needs to be driven by a clear consideration of how science contributes to policy and sustainable development, and cannot operate under the implicit assumption that generating new science would somehow lead to better, more sustainable decisions. 

OFI Module I Assistant Professor Dr. Gerald Singh participated in the Decade for Ocean Science 'North Atlantic Regional Workshop' as a "cross cutting theme champion for transdisciplinarity". He was responsible for bringing the perspective of social sciences and natural sciences together to ensure the decade is useful for ocean policy.

 

When asked about his contribution to the event, Dr. Singh commented that he "joined in every workshop theme, and took part in high level synthetic panel discussions towards the end of the meeting, providing my summary and recommendations".

 

While at the workshop, he recommended that "in general, the Ocean Decade needs to be driven by a clear consideration of how science contributes to policy and sustainable development, and cannot operate under the implicit assumption that generating new science would somehow lead to better, more sustainable decisions."

Dr. Gerald Singh joins panel discussions at the Decade for Ocean Science, where he provided recommendations for the Ocean Decade moving forward. ©Ocean Frontier Institute

Written by Dr. Gerald Singh, OFI Module I Assistant Professor

Dr. Gerald Singh is an OFI Module I Assistant Professor at the Geography Department, Memorial University. He focuses mainly on sub-module I-5, on the 'Viability & Sustainability' of fishing communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.

© 2019 by OFI Governance