WMU Contributes to Second World Ocean Assessment

The World Maritime University is pleased to mark the launch of the Second World Ocean Assessment (WOA II) by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at UN Headquarters in New York on 21 April 2021. The WOA II is the second integrated assessment of the environmental status of the world’s ocean economic and social aspects. The comprehensive report provides scientific information on the state of the marine environment in an integrated manner to support decisions and actions for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 14 concerning Life Below Water, as well as the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The work underpinning WOA II was undertaken by over 300 scientists including Dr Aleke Stöfen-O´Brien, Associate Research Officer at the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute. Dr Stöfen-O´Brien played an important role in delivering the report by serving as co-convenor and author of Chapter 12 which deals with marine debris and dumping. Key findings reveal that plastics represent the major share of marine litter and are now found in all marine habitats. In addition, amounts of marine litter are increasing in remote and unpopulated areas and there is a pressing need for more time series data to assess and monitor the impacts of marine litter, including microplastics and nanoplastics in the marine environment.  

“I am very pleased with the outcome of the assessment process and the synthesis of the data, which represents many months of transnational engagement and international collaboration with some of the world’s leading experts in their specialist fields,” said Dr. Stöfen-O´Brien. She is confident that the outcome of the WOA II will contribute directly to the WMU-Nippon Foundation Closing the Circle Programme which addresses the pollution of the marine environment by marine debris and Sargassum along with Marine Spatial Planning in the Eastern Caribbean Region. The latter programme is expected to deliver important research findings and propose solutions to this persistent and widespread challenge for Small Island Developing States across the world.

To access Volume I (Chapters 1-7) and Volume II (Chapter 8 to 28) of the WOA II, click here. 

About the World Ocean Assessment

The Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects (Regular Process) is a global mechanism established after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development to regularly review the environmental, economic and social aspects of the world’s oceans, both current and foreseeable. It is accountable to the United Nations General Assembly, and its purpose is to contribute to the strengthening of the regular scientific assessment of the state of the marine environment in order to enhance the scientific basis for policy-making.

About the World Maritime University and WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

The World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden is established within the framework of the International Maritime Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. The mission of WMU is to be the world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and oceans education, professional training and research, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development. WMU’s vision is to inspire leadership and innovation for a sustainable maritime and oceans future. WMU is an organization by and for the international maritime community and is committed to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute was inaugurated in May 2018 and made possible through generous support from The Nippon Foundation of Japan, the Governments of Sweden, Canada, and Germany, as well as the City of Malmö. The vision of the Institute is to act as an independent focal point for the ocean science-policy-law-industry-society interface where policy makers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics, and representatives of civil society meet to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources in accordance with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

About the Closing the Circle PhD Programme

The World Maritime University’s WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute is pleased to implement, with the generous support of The Nippon Foundation, The "Closing the Circle" Programme: Exploring challenges and advancing potential solutions to marine debris, Sargassum threats and marine spatial planning in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with a particular focus on the Eastern Caribbean region. The objective of the programme is to increase knowledge and provide solutions for key environmental issues facing the region through state-of-the-art research and training with a view to support the implementation and advancement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Further information about the Closing the Circle project and team, click here.

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