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Defining The Future Of The Southern Ocean

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which began in 2021 and extends to 2030, is intended to provide a common framework to ensure that marine science can fully inform and support national actions to sustainably and equitably manage the oceans. To facilitate science that is responsive to the needs of society, the UN Decade identified seven desired societal outcomes:  1) clean ocean, 2) healthy and resilient ocean, 3) productive and sustainable ocean, 4) predicted ocean, 5) safe ocean, 6) accessible and transparent ocean, and 7) inspiring and engaging ocean. 

Following the first UN Decade Southern Ocean Workshop (February 2020) and recommendations in the global Ocean Decade implementation plan, a Southern Ocean Task Force was set up to engage the community in development of a Southern Ocean Action Plan. In September 2021, Working Groups developed around each of the seven UN Decade societal outcomes considered research gaps and priorities, new partnerships to be developed, functioning of existing bodies, capacity-building, actions and concrete deliverables for the Southern Ocean. From the Working Group results and inputs, a community consensus was developed, which provides the basis for a Southern Ocean Action Plan to guide how the Southern Ocean community will engage within the UN Ocean Decade framework.

The objective of this Town Hall is to build on the progress made thus far and to engage scientists and stakeholders in a dialogue about the Southern Ocean Action Plan and to outline the next steps. A focus for the Town Hall will be to begin the process of developing a plan for implementing coordinated multi-national research programs to address the science gaps and questions identified in the Southern Ocean Action Plan. This is critical to designing a Southern Ocean contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science that will deliver “the ocean we need for the future we want”.

Draft Agenda

Hosts: The Southern Ocean Task Force


  • Elisabeth Sikes (Rutgers University New Brunswick)
  • Eileen Hoffman (Old Dominion University)


  • TBA

Key audience: Multidisciplinary audiences with different backgrounds encompassing tourist cruise operators, fishery and environmental agencies, academics, educators, engineers, NGOs, stakeholders.

Timing: 24 February 2022, 5:00pm – 6:00pm UTC