A recommendation from the Ocean Decade Regional Planning Meeting is that Capacity Development in the Western Tropical Atlantic region should be at the forefront of the implementation actions. The IOC Capacity Development Strategy, 2015–2021 identified it as the spark that will make possible that nations profit from ocean scientific research to achieve sustainable development and prosperity in the region. It is also explicitly recognized in the Action Plan adopted by the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development adopted in December 2020 (ISBA/26/A/4, ISBA/26/A/17), which operationalizes the vision set out by the 168 Members of ISA in the ISA Strategic (ISBA/24/A/10) and High-Level Action Plan (ISBA/25/A/15) for 2019-2023.
The deep ocean in the Western Tropical Atlantic and Eastern Tropical Pacific regions deserves consolidated strengthening of international cooperation for exploration and scientific understanding, which can be effectively facilitated by the rapid advancement of technologies for ocean observations and monitoring. Emerging needs for ensuring sustainable development of deep-sea resources and the protection of vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems further call for cross-sectoral and multi-level partnerships among countries as well as competent intergovernmental organizations, such as International Seabed Authority.
The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development seeks to transform how ocean science achieves long-lasting impacts, offers opportunities for robust capacity development, and benefits people’s life through stimulating innovative ocean research. A key avenue for this is to ensure co- design for co-delivery and meaningful capacity building opportunities. To that end, critical attention needs to be placed on maximizing synergies, within existing strategic frameworks and strategies adopted by competent intergovernmental organizations with a view to effectively contribute to the achievement of respective mandates and ultimately meet the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.
One Planet, One Ocean
This virtual session of the UN Decade Ocean Western Tropical Atlantic series seeks to address the importance of deep ocean capacity development and ocean literacy needs in the region through a series of dialogues among relevant stakeholders. In particular, the workshop will build on the mandates of ISA tasked by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the strategic actions undertaken through the ISA Marine Scientific Research Action Plan in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development as well as the Decision of the ISA Assembly on a programmatic approach to capacity development (ISBA/26/A/18).
It will also draw on the wide range of experience and lessons learnt by ISA and its members in implementing unique and innovative capacity-building/development schemes over the last 27 years in the exploration of mineral resources, environmental baseline studies and deep-sea research. It is expected that as part of the outcomes of the discussion to be held during the workshop, participants will have an increased awareness of the existing opportunities and mechanisms through which individuals from the Western Tropical Atlantic and Eastern Tropical Pacific regions can build and develop their capacities in deep-sea research related disciplines. It will also provide for the opportunity to discuss how strengthened capacities could support informed decision-making, develop robust ecosystem-based management measures, and contribute to the existing efforts engaged at the international and regional levels to foster cooperation for enhanced participation in marine scientific research activities.
The workshop strives to identify priority issues and recommendations for the development of regional actions to build capacity in ocean data access, information, and knowledge; of specialized research and observation equipment; promote training; and collaboration to participate in ocean science activities to benefit from discoveries of new species and ocean resources.
The results of this regional session will be consolidated as a discussion paper by the co-conveners of the regional session, which can contribute to the Western Tropical Atlantic Action Plan including the Eastern Tropical Pacific.