The IMarEST has set four high-level priorities mapping out its strategy for supporting the aims of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, or Ocean Decade, which runs from next year through to 2030. Following through on these priorities will enable the IMarEST to make a sustained and meaningful contribution to the Ocean Decade’s overarching aspiration, namely, to ‘deliver the science we need for the ocean we want’.
Announced by the UN in 2017, the Ocean Decade will provide a common framework for exploiting ocean science in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It promises a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to create a new foundation, across the science-policy interface, to strengthen the management of our oceans and coasts for the benefit of humanity. It will foster international cooperation in scientific research and the development of innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.
1. Uniting our members in the common goal of ensuring safe and sustainable use of the ocean and mobilising our community to promote the Ocean Decade.
The oceans are at risk from climate change, rising sea levels, overfishing and plastic and other pollution. They are also threatened by emerging activities such as deep-sea mining – the impacts of which we don’t still fully understand. Yet they form the cornerstone of a sustainable blue economy comprising traditional activities such as shipping and maritime transportation, tourism and fisheries through to newer industries such as offshore renewables, biopharmaceuticals and aquaculture.
The IMarEST brings together a community of world-leading scientists, engineers and technologists who can work collectively to address these threats and ensure the benefits of the blue economy are exploited responsibly and shared equitably. This united approach will additionally serve to inspire and attract the next generation of marine professionals.
Our aim is to embed ocean literacy in its widest sense. Encouraging our members to expand their knowledge across disciplines and sectors will empower them to take a more active role in the implementation of sustainable actions, both individually and collectively.
2. Engaging with those who work in the marine sector as stewards of the ocean through high standards of professional practice, codes of ethics and by recognition of skills and competence
The provision of professional certification and registration for individuals is core to the IMarEST mission. We will strive to ensure that those working in the sector do so to a set standard and are competent to undertake their role and that this professionalism is given formal recognition. This is underlined by our efforts to ensure that appropriate codes of conduct are adopted across the marine world and that ethical practices are applied consistently and resolutely. We recognise too that the health and well-being of those working alongside, with or in the ocean is intrinsically linked to successful long-term stewardship of ocean health.
3. Ensuring equity and inclusivity and encouraging transparency across the marine sector
Different people in different parts of the world are at risk from ocean degradation whilst others benefit more significant from its resource than others. We endeavour to help those most endangered by unsustainable activities and to support initiatives for equitable distribution of benefits by leveraging our knowledge and experience in capacity development and technology transfer initiatives. Recognising that different regions have different priorities, the IMarEST will make the most of its global network of branches to address issues related the Ocean Decade at a local level.
We will promote efforts to ensure a transparent and accessible ocean whereby all nations, stakeholders and citizens have access to ocean data and information, technologies and have the capacities to inform their decisions
We will strive to reduce social inequalities across the marine sector. Because people engaged in the marine sector who are of different races, gender, and sexual orientation face additional challenges, we will take steps to foster an inclusive and supportive environment, and help our members learn to help others. This also includes ensuring we provide an environment that cultivates and encourages ideas and views of young and early career marine professionals.
4. Undertake advocacy at the highest levels and grow partnerships
Working in partnership is the best way to mobilize and share knowledge, experience and expertise and to maximise resources to achieve the goals of the decade. We will encourage collaboration between industry partners and other professional bodies and learned societies at every possible opportunity.
We will continue in our work with international bodies such as the United Nations and its associated bodies including the International Maritime Organization, the International Hydrographic Organization and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO as well as governments around the world to ensure that the goals of the Ocean Decade and its impact on society are recognised.
We will continue to offer impartial advice based on the latest scientific evidence and th experience of marine professionals working in the field and aim to provide a constant and consistent message based on core principals and technical leadership that encourage development, equality and high standards.