Conserving the diversity of life on Earth and ocean health is critical to global human welfare, yet essential resources are at risk from the direct results of unsustainable practices. Sustainable development cannot be achieved by technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone. We need to change the way we think and act.

UNESCO is leading the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity 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, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. 

UNESCO at the UN Ocean Conference 2022

The 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference (Lisbon, 27 June - 1 July), co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Underwater Seascapes,
UN Ocean Conference 2022_DG_Maya
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

The IOC is the United Nations body responsible for supporting global ocean science and services.

UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

The UN Ocean Decade will unlock knowledge solutions to create the Ocean We Want.

Underwater Cultural Heritage

The world’s water bodies make up the planet`s largest museum, providing a unique testimony to our history.

World Heritage Marine Programme

50 flagship marine protected areas of Outstanding Universal Value: Beacons of Hope In a Changing Ocean


Ocean and UNESCO Action in numbers

Birth of UNESCO’s IOC

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

$3 Trillion
The projected value of ocean economy by 2030
of humankind’s carbon dioxide emissions

are absorbed by the ocean annually.

marine species recorded

in the UNESCO Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS).

divers together genocean ocean decade campaign
Underwater Cultural Heritage


Global Ocean Science Report 2020: Charting Capacity for Ocean Sustainability
Ocean science and international cooperation: historical and personal recollections
The United Nations World Water Development Report 2022: groundwater: making the invisible visible