The United Nations (UN) is launching the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) “to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health”. The ocean research community understands ocean threats arising from climate change and the unsustainable use of ocean resources. However, because of disciplinary and sectorial siloes, this scientific knowledge has often failed to be transformed into scalable ocean solutions that support an equitable and sustainable blue economy, and help mitigate climate change.
To overcome the persistent gap between research and solutions, in 2020 multi-sector organizations have come together to establish a Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS) as a flagship Programme of the UN Ocean Decade.
The mission of GEOS is to “establish a vibrant, global ocean solutions community of researchers, innovators, investors, decision-makers and other stakeholders to co-design and co-deploy equitable, durable, and scalable ocean-based solutions for climate change and ocean grand challenges”.
THE GEOS STRATEGY
The GEOS strategy for action is (1) to deploy new multi-sector processes that enable the generation and transition of scientific knowledge into co-developed ocean solutions (2) to address ocean grand challenges in climate change and the ocean that require system level (e.g. multi-sector and interdisciplinary) use-inspired research and action.
To this end, the GEOS ecosystem is organized around three synergistic functions and pillars:
● CONVENE: Catalyze new knowledge and innovation through a GEOS Network, consisting of research, private, and public sector actors.
● CO-DESIGN: Co-create ocean solutions through multi-sector GEOS Task Forces that integrate innovations from science, technology, governance, and finance.
● ACT: Prototype, accelerate, fund, and deploy equitable, durable, scalable solutions through an ocean-focused GEOS Innovation Engine for a healthy society, ocean, and an equitable and sustainable blue economy.
To lay the foundation for the GEOS platform, we are developing a set of focused partnerships, with a particular focus on including leadership and participation of the Global South, among research universities and institutions, professional ocean-focused societies, NGOs, IGOs, foundations, financial institutions, and ocean innovation & solutions platforms all whom have a committed interest in ocean solutions.
The key to GEOS success is to break down the silos that exist among these organizations, thereby linking research, development, and deployment processes. Members of GEOS are committed to all stages of the research, design and deployment of solutions and have a shared vision around achieving equitable, scalable outcomes. Since a non-siloed, research-centered community for developing global oceans solutions does not yet exist, we have first gathered a number of international research and education institutions with a strong focus in ocean science, policy, and engineering as part of the Ocean Visions and Future Seas initiatives to jump-start the GEOS community.
To implement GEOS, an international multi-sector group of coordinating partners have joined forces:
Ocean Visions - www.oceanvisions.org
Future Seas - futureseas2030.org
IOC-UNESCO - ioc-unesco.org
Future Earth Ocean Knowledge-Action Network - Link
Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOP) network
The Ocean Conservancy - www.oceanconservancy.org
American Geophysical Union - www.agu.org
North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) - www.pices.int
Ocean Exchange - www.oceanexchange.org
Investable Ocean - www.investableoceans.com
AiiM Partners - www.aiimpartners.com/
World Economic Forum Uplink - www.weforum.org/uplink
Ocean Impact Innovation (OII) progamme led by