“UN Ocean Decade Week” Marta Przepióra report

By Marta Przepióra 

Last week I seized the opportunity to, quite spontaneously, fly to Barcelona to be a part of the UN Ocean Decade Week🌊

Without a conference pass at first, I wanted to make the most out of the satellite events happening offsite the main venue:

🔹”Waves of Change“ – a Sustainable Blue Economy world café organized by SOI Foundation, EarthEcho International, and ECOP Canada, where I brainstormed with other young people passionate about oceans, and saw the results turned into art in real life by the talented Carlotta Cataldi 👏🏼 The painted version of the poster was displayed at the Conference!

🔹 “Ocean Decade Movie Day” at Filmoteca de Catalunya where I saw short films telling beautiful ocean-related stories, which I think is a great way to engage more people into caring about the marine environment 🎥

🔹”Sailing into the future for the Ocean Decade” was an event organized by The Ocean Race and UNESCO Ocean. It was so inspiring to see the sailing and marine science communities working together as a sailing enthusiast myself ⛵️ Amazing initiatives!

🔹”Diving from local to global Ocean Literacy” presented four interactive panel discussions from diverse sectors, including: Removing Barriers in Addressing OL Globally, OL in Ocean Science, Communicating OL in Local Communities, and my new favorite subject: OL and Water Sports🏄🏽‍♂️

🔹”ECOP STORIES: Finding and Using Your Voice” in Universitat of Barcelona where I listened to the amazing and motivational stories of Elizabeth (Liz) Sherr, Sheena Talma, Conor Savage and Simone Le Gendre and reflected on my own journey so far and where is it going⛴️ We also discussed together what challenges are there for youth in the marine science industry and what changes are needed to engage us better in the UN Ocean Decade Actions.

🔹 I also had a chance to see various exhibitions in different parts of the city like “Monitoring the ocean”, “Our Ocean from Space”, “A sea open to everyone”, “Time for action: The Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas”✨

🔹And to go to the networking events like “Stories For The Ocean We Want” by Early Career Ocean Professionals Spain and “Real People, Real Talks” by Innoceana that allowed me to meet wonderful people from all around the world, all working towards the same goal 🤝🏻

🔹On the last day of the conference I finally get to go inside the venue and take part in the plenary and parallel sessions focused on the Challenges 9 & 10, so Capacity Development, Ocean Literacy, Indigenous and Local Knowledge and Cultural Heritage, visit many booths and talk to some really interesting people about their work, check out all of the posters and sing a sea shanty for One Ocean with the whole conference 🎶

The key takeaway was that we all need to collaborate – scientists, policymakers, investors, youth, coastal communities, water sports enthusiasts, fishermen, people from all over the world 🌎

I am so grateful for this experience and for all the connections I made there!