Ocean science is critical for the sustainable management of UNESCO marine World Heritage sites. Yet despite their iconic status, many sites lack essential capacity, technology and financing for generating the ocean science they need to ensure that the world’s marine heritage can be transmitted to future generations. In response, UNESCO is organizing its first virtual conference to identify critical science gaps at marine World Heritage sites. The conference will lay the foundation for a roadmap for action in marine World Heritage sites throughout theUnited Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
Local management teams across the globes’ 50 marine World Heritage sites use ocean science to balance conservation with sustainable development. For example, satellites are used to track illegal fishing or learn where whales feed and reproduce. Drones equipped with thermal camera’s permit rangers to count polar bears despite the location’s harsh conditions. Floating temperature sensors which transmit data in real time allow to predict coral bleaching. Long-term monitoring enables managers and governments to evaluate the effectiveness of their management actions and investments.
While UNESCO marine World Heritage sites are already coveted incubators for innovative ocean science, they often lack the resources and capacity required to meet the expectations of protecting a marine area of global significance for future generations.
The UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) are addressing this challenge by organizing a first virtual conference on Monday 4 October 2021. The conference has the following three objectives:
- Identify key knowledge gaps that currently impede the sustainable conservation of marine World Heritage sites;
- Identify obstacles to attracting the science needed for sustainable conservation, as well as the solutions to overcome them;
- Provide the foundation for a roadmap for action in marine World Heritage sites throughout the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
The Conference is upon invitation only. Interested participants can register here.
The Conference is made possible with the support of the governments of Flanders (Kingdom of Belgium), the Principality of Monaco, and the French Biodiversity Agency.