The High-Level Political Forum is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level. As part of the 2021 session of this forum, the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) jointly with the University of Bergen (Norway) -the UNAI SDG Hub for Goal 14: Life Below Water-, has organized a side event focused on the role of education in ocean science. Please see the details below:


Date: Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Time: 1:00pm to 2:30pm [EDT/New York time]

RSVP/Registration form:

Background: The ocean is still the least explored part of the planet and yet, it is clear from recent explorations that the ocean may hold more solutions to what we need, be it to supply sufficient food for growing populations or the medicine for future disease and pandemics. And still, ocean literacy is low both among policy-makers and the general population. We need more science and knowledge on the ocean, and to disseminate it broadly. So, how do we get there? It is not enough to strengthen funding of ocean sciences alone. A more comprehensive approach is needed to raise ocean literacy and awareness of the ocean’s ecosystem. One place to start would be to strengthen education on the ocean in schools. Another place is to educate the ocean science leaders of the future. Also, partnerships are vital to raise global awareness of what the ocean hides and may provide. 

Objective: Using the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development as a starting point, this side event will take a look at how to raise ocean literacy through research and higher education. We ask: How can more ocean research and educating the ocean science leaders of the future help to increase funding for SDG14? How can we use local knowledge for global impact? How can partnerships contribute to strengthen ocean literacy? We present an all-women panel, who will provide examples of how local knowledge is used in research and higher education – including examples of funding opportunities, experiences working with government bodies to strengthen ocean-related science, how academia can contribute to raising ocean literacy awareness, and more.

Opening remarks:


  • Prof. Edvard Hviding, Scientific Director of SDG Bergen Science Advice, University of Bergen (Norway)

Keynote speaker:


  • Prof. Lise Øvreås, Scientific Director of SDG Bergen Ocean, University of Bergen (Norway)
  • Prof. Isabelle Ansorge, Head of the Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town (South Africa)
  • Dr. Natalya Gallo, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Biological Sciences and UN Ocean Decade ECOP representative, University of Bergen (Norway) 
  • Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy, Director of the Office of Global Partnerships and Sustainable Futures, University of the West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago)