EMB and the Ocean Decade | European Marine Board

EMB and the Ocean Decade

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development runs from 2021-2030. As an Ocean Decade Implementing Partner for Europe, EMB strongly supports this initiative and ensures that its activities support the aims of the Decade.


In EMB's role as Decade Implementing Partner, we provide targeted support to the Decade Coordination Unit, based within UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. Using EMB's broad network to help coordinate Ocean Decade activities in Europe, we actively support the Ocean Decade in three key ways: foresight, coordination, and communication, as well as through our EMBracing the Ocean artist-in-residence programme.






EMB working groups highlight the science and governance needs on a wide range of Ocean-relevant topics through a series of policy-relevant publications. These topics map onto at least one of the seven Ocean Decade societal outcomes and provide clear scientifically-supported direction for their development. You can find out more about our current activities and how they support the Ocean Decade here.

In addition, in 2020 EMB published its Policy Brief No. 6 “Navigating the Future V: Recommendations for the Ocean Decade”. This Policy Brief maps the recommendations from EMB Position Paper No. 24 “Navigating the Future V”, onto the societal outcomes of the Ocean Decade, hence providing overarching scientific direction to the Decade. This Policy Brief is recognized as an official resource for the Ocean Decade and you can find out more here.




EMB members represent the major marine science actors in Europe. As such, EMB uses its positioning to gather information about national-level Ocean Decade activities from its members, and to present and discuss these at Board level during bi-annual plenary meetings.

Input from EMB members was also used to inform relevant consultations that shaped the objectives and planning of the Ocean Decade. Additionally, the 2019 edition of the EMB flagship marine science policy conference, EurOCEAN 2019, discussed the contribution of the European marine science community and is recognized as a contribution to the preparatory phase of the Ocean Decade.



Members of the EMB Secretariat engage in Ocean Decade webinars and events both as co-organizers and speakers including:


Members of the EMB Secretariat also co-author publications which discuss the Ocean Decade:

  • The Ocean Decade—Opportunities for Oceans and Human Health Programs to Contribute to Public Health (April 2021) in American Journal of Public Health
  • The ocean decade: a true ecosystem modeling challenge (September 2020) in Frontiers in Marine Science
  • A Roadmap for Using the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in Support of Science, Policy, and Action (January 2020) in One Earth


EMB also helps promote the Ocean Decade with dedicated presentations and representation in panels at events we organize, such as the conference CommOCEAN in 2018 and 2020, and the 6th EMB Forum: “Implementing the UN 2030 Agenda: What role for marine science? and the 8th EMB Forum: "Supporting the Ocean Decade in Europe". The August 2021 edition of the EMB Science Webinar series was on "Navigating the Future V as inspiration and direction for marine science in the Ocean Decade". We also include the Ocean Decade in presentations and interventions made at diverse events organized by others.

We share communications, relevant news and events linked to the Ocean Decade using our social media platforms and our weekly newsletter.


EMBracing the Ocean

EMB's artist-in-residence programme 'EMBracing the Ocean' will begin in 2022, and will provide grants to artists from any creative discipline to engage with Ocean scientists and create a new piece of work, or series of work, to inspire wide reaching societal change for Ocean sustainability. This programme contributes to the Ocean Decade societal challenge of an inspiring and engaging Ocean where society understands and values the Ocean in relation to human wellbeing and sustainable development.

More details can be found here, and applications will be open from 10 January 2022.