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Three UW researchers to present & attend 2022 UN Ocean Conference on assessing global ocean equity

Next week, UW will be sending researchers to the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference, which will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, from June 27-July 1. This five-day conference will seek to advance momentum around science-based innovative solutions related to global ocean action within the UN Sustainable Development Goal #14: “to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

In partnership with the UW Office of Global Affairs, three researchers from The Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center and the Washington Ocean Acidification Center – two EarthLab member organizations within the UW College of the Environment – will be presenting their research in real time (both virtually and in-person) at the conference.


Virtual webinar on ocean equity from Ocean Nexus Center

On Monday, The Ocean Nexus Center’s Director Dr. Yoshitaka Ota and team will gather virtually and present at the UN Ocean Conference to introduce new frameworks for developing and conducting such ocean equity studies.

The free event begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Click here to register.

Ocean Nexus is a transdisciplinary international network of over 30 research institutes and 100 ocean researchers focused on bringing social equity to ocean governance. This network is built on a 10-year partnership between the Nippon Foundation and the University of Washington.

“We are committed to building relationships at the global scale to deepen our understanding of social equity in the context of ocean management and collectively address systemic injustices, such as racial and gender discrimination and post-colonial hegemony,” said Dr. Ota, who is also a Professor of Practice at the UW School of Marine & Environmental Affairs. “Traditionally, ocean issues are treated separately from social issues, but our team believes that sustainable ocean development must include evolving evidence measurements and innovative performance indicators for a procedural and just transformation of oceans.”

The Ocean Nexus-led side event will introduce a new framework to showcase the development and transmission of Procedural Key Performance Indicators (PKPI), that guide sustainable development efforts in oceans to contribute to reducing social inequity and inequality. Eight Nexus fellows and postdoc researchers within the Ocean Nexus network will present their work on feminist epistemology, ocean’s climate justice, social impacts of marine conservation, racial history of US fisheries and ocean plastic policy in Italy.

The event will open by explaining the co-development processes behind the PKPI creation, how researchers are adapting the framework to specific ocean equity contexts, and will conclude by inviting collaborating researchers, government officials and decision-makers into a moderated Q&A. This session is free and open to the public. UW post doc researchers Jessica Vandenberg, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and Rebeca de Buen Kalman,  Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, will be presenting their work as a part of this Ocean Nexus side event. Grant Blume, associate teaching professor at the Evans School, will also be attending the conference on behalf of the UW.


In-Person event on access to data moderated by Washington Ocean Acidification Center

On Thursday afternoon, Dr. Jan Newton (WOAC Co-Director, Senior Principal Oceanographer at UW Applied Physics Laboratory and UW affiliate Professor of oceanography) will moderate an in-person panel discussion in Lisbon entitled “Ocean Acidification: Co-designing data connections to underserved communities for equitable outcomes.”

The Washington Ocean Acidification Center was established in 2013 following the recommendation of the Washington state Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. Based within EarthLab at the University of Washington, WOAC serves the entire state as a regional research hub that monitors, studies and trains the next generation of scientists, managers and decision-makers to face the challenges posed by ocean acidification.

This in-person UN side event will highlight how global programs – such as the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network’s UN programme Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) and the Nippon Foundation’s Ocean Nexus Center at UW – can give visibility to local voices, especially those of Indigenous, Small Island Developing States and other underserved communities that depend on ocean-based economies for their survival.

“We need to consider the importance of local ocean acidification efforts conducted within effective global coordination, to take action at both of these scales,” said Dr. Newton. “It is critical to conduct local scale observations co-designed with communities, assuring that connections are made for their local data usage. At the same time, the value of doing so within a global context should be recognized– both for how these data can inform global assessments, like the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.3, and for how global programs can give visibility to local voices. That is where we can make a real difference.”

Through a moderated panel discussion, presenters from Indigenous and Small Island Developing States backgrounds will explore how local partnerships between researchers and Indigenous communities can be supported within global coordination programs to build more resilient communities in the face of climate change as it relates to ocean acidification.

By informing global scientific assessments through local-scale research that is co-designed by both ocean scientists and communities, these collaborative adaptation strategies can better provide future scientific tools and programming to build more resilient communities worldwide.

The event, scheduled for 1:30-3 p.m. local time, was recorded and can be viewed here. To learn more about Dr. Newton and the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability programme within the UN Ocean Decade, click here.