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The Ocean Decade: An opportunity to increase ocean data sharing worldwide

The Ocean Decade: An opportunity to increase ocean data sharing worldwide

Ocean data sharing and knowledge transfer are at the core of the Galway and Belém Statements, and they correspond to two of the most evident links between the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Cooperation and the UN Ocean Decade.

As reported here, on  12 October 2020, the UNESCO IOC held a second international workshop on data sharing in the context of the UN Ocean Decade. The aim of this session was to provide global and regional organisations, programmes and projects, NGOs and the private sector with the opportunity to join the global discussion on how to leverage the potential of the Ocean Decade to improve ocean data sharing worldwide. 

Data and information play an essential role in connecting knowledge generators and end-users, but many challenges and disparities still exist in the access, sharing and use of ocean data across regions. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030, the “Ocean Decade” for short) is a once in a lifetime opportunity to overcome many of these challenges and to develop a global digital ocean ecosystem, founded on universal data, metadata and data sharing principles.

The IOC promotes ocean data and information sharing through its International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme, which is currently leading the construction of a foundation for a so-called “global digital ocean ecosystem”: The Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS). By encouraging the alignment of existing systems with a common interoperability architecture that is co-designed, co-implemented and co-governed by its partners, ODIS will be a digital ecosystem where all components will operate using the same rules, thus improving access, sharing and use of data.

As the first step, an ODIS catalogue (ODISCat) of resources was developed, which provides an index and guide to navigate and discover the diversity of the existing ocean-related data systems and sources. All IOC-associated online resources will be consolidated in ODISCat as part of the Ocean InfoHub (OIH) project.

The information collected through this workshop will feed back into the work of the IODE Intersessional Working Group to develop the Strategy for Ocean Data and Information Stewardship (IWG-SODIS) of the Decade, which the organizations who participated in the workshop were invited to join.

The workshop was attended by 84 participants from 43 different organizations, who add on the 44 participants from UN agencies that participated in the first online Workshop last 20 April.

Useful links:

Workshop report

Workshop website

Original news article by the UNESCO IOC