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Ocean Literacy for all: a global strategy to raise the awareness for the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our ocean.
by UNESCO (United Nations entity)
Most of us live our lives unaware of how our day-to-day actions impact on the health of the ocean, or how the health of the ocean impacts on our own daily lives. Ocean literacy is defined as an understanding of the oceans influence on you and your influence on the ocean.

The focus of the Ocean Literacy for ALL initiative is to develop a global partnership to raise the awareness on the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of our ocean and its resources and to build an improved public knowledge base across the worlds population regarding our global ocean.

Building on existing national, regional, and international ocean education initiatives, such as those conducted by the Trans-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, the International Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement (COSEE), and the European and Asian Association of Marine Science Educators, this initiative aims at developing a plan to foster ocean awareness and ocean literacy education in all segments of society.

The goals of this initiative are to:

1.) Encourage cooperation and exchange on ocean education to improve ocean literacy;

2.) Raise awareness of the two-way interactions between the ocean and peoples daily lives, and empower citizens to adjust their everyday behavior; and

3.) Seek and apply innovative ways to make our current and future citizens ocean literate, so that they recognize environmental challenges and can make informed and responsible decisions related to ocean stewardship and the use of ocean resources.

The activities will be coordinated by UNESCOs Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. The Swedish Government provides financial support. Following this initiative, several strategic activities will continue the momentum toward achieving the three goals listed above. In joint deliberation with all partners involved, international working groups will be established to continue to steer the implementation of the activities.
Progress reports
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Ocean Literacy
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Data access and sharing
  • Training and professional development
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
  • Other (please specify): Ocean Literacy
June 2019
Development of an ocean school programme to foster ocean literacy among youth ages 10-18. Content will be based on agreed ocean literacy principles, and will reflect the ocean education foci of the international community. The programme will go through initial development and testing on a national scale, with the goal of establishing a model for international adaptation and deployment to youth and other audiences.
March 2018
Organization of a global workshop on ocean literacy, to be held online for a period of one month which will serve several hundred formal and informal science educators from around the world, providing information about ocean principles and concepts, as well as building awareness of key ocean issues.
March 2019
Implement and develop a highly visible online platform to share resources, projects and people on ocean literacy for sustainable development. Contributions of resources will be first provided by initiative partners, with provision for additional offerings from worldwide contributors.
March 2019
Development of comprehensive ocean literacy training programme for business, policy, and education sectors. The format will accommodate training both in person and online. The content of the training will be based on key ocean issues and ocean literacy principles as applied to all three sectors and will employ guided questions to stimulate discussion and mutual learning across the sectors.
Financing (in USD)
170,000 USD
In-kind contribution
In-kind contribution from project partners for implementation of deliverables
Basic information
Time-frame: 06/2017 - 07/2019
College of Exploration, Consortium for Ocean Science Exploration and Engagement, European Marine Science Educators Association, World Ocean Network, Ocean Frontier Institute, Ciencia Viva, Italian Network on Ocean Literacy, Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, Asia Marine Science Education Association, Canadian Network for Ocean Education, Planeta Oceano, Centre for Environment & Society of Washington College, Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, National Marine Educators Association, Nauru, Swedish Government
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Francesca Santoro, Programme Specialist, f.santoro@unesco.org, +390412601539
Paris, France
Other SDGs
United Nations