Ocean Cities Network at the UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona

Three cities from the network showcased their work at the satellite event of the Cities With The Ocean platform.

Barcelona, April 8-12, 2024

From April 8 to 12, the city of Barcelona served as the host for the UN Ocean Decade Conference 2024. Under the theme «The Science We Need for the Ocean We Want,» this conference emerged as one of the largest gatherings of the global oceanic community.

With nearly 1,500 participants including heads of state and government, experts, NGOs, and private sector partners, the conference aimed to assess the progress of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), led by UNESCO, and to unveil new initiatives.

Ocean Cities Network made its mark at the conference during the unveiling of UNESCO’s Cities With The Ocean program. The event showcased projects from the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CiCese) in Mexico, the Centro de Investigaciones del Mar y la Atmosfera (CIMA) in Argentina, and the City Council of Barcelona.

Marco Talone, Project Manager of Ocean Cities Network, remarked, «This gathering has allowed us to strengthen the alliances we have as a network of coastal cities. It’s a global effort aimed at forging new connections across diverse perspectives to collectively devise solutions for the well-being of societies and the ocean.»

The statements made at the satellite event emphasized the significant socio-economic impact of the ocean and its vital role in fulfilling the fundamental needs of coastal communities such as health, food, well-being, sustainable livelihoods, and culture. The ocean, often overlooked, has deeply influenced the history and identity of coastal regions, impacting climate, human settlements, economy, and culture. It remains a pivotal asset for attracting residents, businesses, and tourists, ensuring the future prosperity of these areas.

Acknowledging that coastal cities are on the frontline of climate change and biodiversity loss, there is a recognition that they may lose essential benefits provided by the ocean in the face of growing threats. However, there is a collective willingness to take action. Coastal cities and ports are viewed as critical centers for developing and implementing sustainable solutions that benefit local communities and stakeholders while also addressing global climate and biodiversity challenges.

The conference concluded with a commitment from 13 cities to establish the «Cities With The Ocean» platform, with the Ocean Cities network playing an active role in its formation.

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