Sunset Sunset
Mō Te Ngahuru Tau o te Pūtaiao Aumoana

About the Decade

The Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) aims to reverse the cycle of decline in the health of our oceans and create improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean, seas and coasts.


Why a UN Decade of Ocean Science?

The Decade provides a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to strengthen the management of our oceans and coasts for the benefit of humanity.

The Decade is designed to facilitate global communication and mutual learning across research and stakeholder communities and will support new, collaborative partnerships that can deliver more effective science-based management for our ocean space and resources.

What is the Decade hoping to achieve?

Through stronger international cooperation, the Decade will bolster scientific research and innovative technologies to ensure science responds to the needs of society:

  • A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and removed
  • A healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are mapped and protected
  • A predictable ocean where society has the capacity to understand current and future ocean conditions
  • A safe ocean where people are protected from ocean hazards
  • A sustainably harvested ocean ensuring the provision of food supply
  • A transparent ocean with open access to data, information and technologies
  • An inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean

Why is the Decade important to New Zealand?

The ocean is integral to the lives and wellbeing of all people in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific.

The Decade enables New Zealanders to learn more about why our ocean's health is declining and how they can be a part of the solution.

The Decade provides an opportunity for our science community, the public, and policy makers to think beyond business as usual and aspire for real change. It recognises the important role that our young people play in reversing the cycle of decline in our ocean’s health.

What is New Zealand's approach to the Decade?

Our approach to the Decade is unique as it draws from the knowledges, practices, values and world views of the indigenous peoples of New Zealand and the Pacific.

Weaving knowledge systems together is common in New Zealand and has generated a distinctive approach to how we undertake science and research and how we collaborate with one another.

What is the Aotearoa New Zealand Decade Committee?

The NZ National Commission for UNESCO’s Reference Group on the Decade of Ocean Science was established in October 2020 to advise the National Commission on the New Zealand’s contribution to the Decade and to connect the National Commission to relevant networks. On 7 May 2021 present members agreed that the Reference Group would be reconstituted as New Zealand's National Decade Committee for the UN Decade for Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021 - 2030.

The Aotearoa New Zealand Decade Committee commits to placing mātauranga Māori at the centre of the approach it takes to the work and activities under the Decade, following tikanga – traditional Māori ways of doing things – to ensure inclusive collaboration.

How can we help our oceans in Aotearoa New Zealand?

As New Zealanders we can all do our bit to stop the declining health of our oceans. We can do this by:

  • Taking action to nurture and value the ocean
  • Sharing and understanding all ocean knowledge
  • Sharing our Pacific legacy of cultural and indigenous knowledge about the ocean.
IMG 4356
Photo credits: Silke Bieda

UN Ocean Decade

Learn more about the international UN Decade of Ocean Science and its efforts to generate the science we need for the ocean we want