Joint UNOC 2022 Side Event - Empowering Women: An Ocean of Opportunities in Science, Policy and Blue Economy

From 27 June to 1 July, the second United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC) took place in Lisbon, Portugal with the overarching theme "Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions". Co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, the Conference included high-level government talks with representatives of 120 countries — including 24 Heads of State — as well as sanctioned side events, and 6,000 total participants from UN Agencies, international organizations, NGOs, and civil society to address many of the deep-rooted problems and concerns relating to the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.  Discussions included major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) as well as much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action.

Joint Side Event on Empowering Women - An Ocean of Opportunities

WMU partnered with leading agencies to host an official side event titledEmpowering Women: An Ocean of Opportunities in Science, Policy and Blue Economythat took place in the Conference Blue Zone on 28 June. The primary co-sponsors of the Side Event were the World Maritime University–Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute; International Maritime Organization; International Seabed Authority; Government of Antigua and Barbuda; Sailors for the Sea Japan; and Leading Women for the Ocean.

The aim of the side event was to contribute to the thematic interactive dialogues -  topic 8 of the UN Ocean Conference, namely leveraging interlinkages between Sustainable Development Goal 14 Life Below Water and Goal 5 Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls. 

By advocating for increasing women’s participation and leadership at all levels, the high level interventions highlighted how to maximize human potential and presented the added value of women’s representation in sustainability and ocean conservation, and human resources management, efficiency and sufficiency. The side event also emphasized the importance of establishing a wide range of dynamic partnerships to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean and its resources for the benefit of all humankind. 

High-Level Remarks were moderated by Professor Ronán Long, Director of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute, with interventions from:

  • Maria Damanaki, Founder of Leading Women for the Ocean, and Former EU Commissioner for Maritime and Fisheries
  • H.E. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization (IMO) 
  • H.E. Michael W. Lodge, Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority (ISA)
  • Minako Iue, Chair and CEO, Sailors for the Sea Japan
  • Honourable Athill Dean Jonas, Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy, Government of Antigua and Barbuda
  • Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President, World Maritime University (WMU).

The on-site side event included nearly 150 participants and featured senior representatives from national governments, international organizations, research institutions, private philanthropy in the field of women’s empowerment and leadership for ocean affairs, as well as non-governmental organizations, early career professionals and civil society representatives.

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