UN Ocean Conference: Mercator Ocean International in support of Decade Goals

From 10 to 12 April 2024, the government of Spain and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) will hold the UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona. It aims to gather the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade) community and partners around the 10 Decade Challenges. Mercator Ocean International (MOi) has a delegation of experts organizing and participating in events and satellite events throughout the week. 



The 2024 Ocean Decade Conference is an important milestone, designed to take stock of the achievements since the launch of the Ocean Decade four years ago and set joint priorities for the future to achieve the Ocean we want by 2030. Focused on “delivering the science we need for the ocean we want, the main achievements and areas for action for the next years will be presented. Key topics such as climate change, food security, sustainable management of biodiversity, sustainable ocean economy, pollution and natural hazards will be at the center of discussions and talks.   

As the world faces Ocean change in the context of climate change, the future of global Ocean prediction activities must be federated and designed to address directly and indirectly the eight UN Decade challenges to achieve the seven outcomes to have the ocean “we want.” Mercator Ocean International (MOi) will be present throughout the week-long conference with a delegation of experts participating in a range of on-site and satellite events, as well as having a booth in the main conference venue. MOi provides services across the Ocean prediction value chain that directly address challenge 8 of the Decade on the digital representation of the Ocean, namely through the Digital Twin of the Ocean, and outcome 4 “a predicted ocean,” through provision of world-class data and scientific knowledge, development of tools, and services. MOi also works to highlight the contributions of Ocean prediction activities to a wide assortment of UN Decade challenges and outcomes indirectly. This conference is a key opportunity for MOi to engage in community-building and collaboration between Decade Actions and other key actors related to Ocean forecasting and prediction.



The conference will start with high-level presentations, featuring heads of state, UN agency leaders, business executives, and philanthropic leaders. Following this, a plenary session will delve into the critical success factors of the Ocean Decade, emphasizing inclusivity, equity, and diversity across genders, generations, and geographical regions.   

A serie satellite events will take place on the 8 and 9 April in the leadup to the main conference. Between the 10th and the 12th, the Conference will be structured into four thematic sessions based around groupings of the Ocean Decade Challenges. To present the results of the Ocean Decade Vision 2030 process, showcase innovative science-solutions initiatives, and develop recommendations for the validation and finalization of a common strategic ambition for each Ocean Decade Challenge.   

Concluding the event, a plenary session on resources and partnerships within the framework of the Ocean Decade will take place. This will be succeeded by a high-level closing segment reporting the event’s key outcomes, including a Conference Outcomes Statement summarizing the vision for the Ocean Decade by 2030.   

Mercator Ocean’s involvement in the Main Programme:  

  • April 11 (3:00-4:00 pm CEST), One Ocean Room: Pierre Bahurel, Director General MOi, speaker on the Plenary Session 3 “Science and Solutions for a safe and predicted Ocean”   
  • April 11 (4:30 – 6:00 pm CEST), Pacific Ocean Room: Pierre-Yves Le Traon, Scientific Director MOi, will participate in the Session 3 “Parallel Session” following the Plenary session, to present an overview of the recent achievements and future plans of the EU Copernicus Marine Service.   
  • Mercator Ocean is involved in 2 satellite events on Apr 8 and Apr 9 and will also welcome you at its booth (see info below). 

Mercator Ocean International and Partner Booth: The Future of Ocean prediction to address the Decade challenges 

Join us at the MOi Booth n°9 from 10 to 12 April in the main venue of the conference, organised with the participation of EMODnet. It will highlight the Ocean prediction ecosystem and its future and aims to create a space to foster community discussions and networking. To facilitate discussions on the contributions of Ocean prediction activities to various UN Decade challenges and outcomes, we will organise short “Flash networking sessions” of 30 minutes each: 

#1 – April 10, morning break  – Community Coffee-Break :  “Engaging the Ocean prediction community”  

Led by EnriqueAlvarez (OceanPrediction Decade Collaborative Centre Technical Coordinator at MOi) and AudreyHasson, TBA (GEO Blue Planet European Coordinator, MOi)

The goal is to highlight synergies within the OceanPrediction DCC ecosystem, programmes related to ocean forecasting, including DITTO, ForeSea, GEMS-Ocean, CoastPredict, ObsCode, Marine Life 2030 and will foster discussion with other DDCs and DCOs.

#2 – April 10, morning break – Community Coffee-Break (continued):« Mercator Ocean for Ocean prediction in support of Decade Challenges”

Led by PierreBahurel, Mercator Ocean Director General, engaging a discussion and networking with community.

#3 – April 12, 10:00 am – Community networking: “Digital Twin of the Ocean, addressing challenge 8 of the Decade on the digital representation of the Ocean”  

Led by AlainArnaud (Head of Digital Ocean, MOi),Kate Larkin (Head EMODnet Secretariat/ Director Seascape Belgium): Engaging a discussion and networking with community.

#4 April 12, 10:30 am – Community networking: « Data, Science: Building a predicted Ocean”

Led by Pierre-YvesLeTraon (MOi Scientific Director), Kate Larkin (Head EMODnet Secretariat/ Director Seascape Belgium), KarinaVonSchuckmann TBA (Oceanographer, MOi), and StefanoCiavatta (Oceanographer, MOi) . Engaging a Community discussion and networking.

UN Ocean Decade satellite events organised by Mercator Ocean International

#1 – April 8 2024 – « Connecting the world around ocean prediction: A vision for the Decade and beyond

With the aim of catalysing action and fostering partnerships to address the evolving dynamics of our oceans, this event aligns with several challenges and outcomes of the Ocean decade including the « Predicted Ocean ». The OceanPrediction Decade Collaborative Center (OceanPrediction DCC), implemented by MOi, holds this satellite event to convene stakeholders surrounding Ocean forecasting and applications. Discussions will encompass the objectives and initiatives of the OceanPrediction DCC, and explore innovations in Ocean forecasting. Serving as a pivotal component of the Ocean Decade, the OceanPrediction DCC serves as a global platform, facilitating dialogue and fostering innovation in digital Ocean solutions.    

Co-organised by the OceanPrediction DCC and GEO Blue Planet, with funding from EU4OceanObs (also implemented by MOi), this satellite event is designed to be a dynamic dialogue, followed by a networking reception with posters on the applications of prediction and a social event 

Event website 

See Detailed Programme 

#2 – Apr 9 2024 Satellite event: « DTO4ECOPS Digital Twins of the Ocean & Early Career Ocean Professionals”

On April 9, the EDITO infra (European Digital Twin Ocean) initiative (implemented by MOi and VLIZ) and GEO Blue Planet are organizing a satellite event, “DTO4ECOPS”. It will focus on leveraging Ocean data networks with cloud technologies to deliver the Ocean we want, today and tomorrow.

The workshop will explore how Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) can harness these initiatives and technologies to accelerate the achievement of Ocean Decade goals. Emphasizing the perspective of ECOPs, the session will delve into identifying obstacles hindering their engagement with these emerging opportunities in ocean science. Additionally, it seeks to propose tailored solutions aligned with the needs and expectations of ECOPs. Examining current ocean data sharing endeavours spanning various regions, encompassing initiatives related to data & information management, as well as capacity building networks, the workshop aims to gain insights into ongoing ocean digital twinning efforts.

#3 – Our Ocean From Space Exhibition:


The itinerant exhibition Our Ocean From Space is co-produced by UNESCO and ESA, and has the support of MOi, ASI, CMCC, CNES, ICGC and Planetek Italia. The goal is to focus on ocean global threats and issues using the space perspective and highlight projects and people who work on creating solutions for the same issues). It is a traveling exhibition using mainly photography and video for an interactive experience that will displayed at many key ocean conferences leading up to the 2025 UN Ocean Conference in Nice, France. MOi has contributed images highlighting aspects of the Ocean prediction value chain. It features videos from MOi experts including the Director General Pierre Bahurel, discussing major challenges facing the Ocean including global warming, plastics, sea level rise, and the effects on the Green Ocean.  

Our Ocean From Space inaugural event Date: April 8th, 2024 Time: 17:00 Place: Portal de la Pau. Port Vell de Barcelona (the site of the exhibition. The exhibition itself lasts until 8 May at this location.