Skip to content


PML in Barcelona for the UN Ocean Decade Conference 

7 April 2024

Our colleagues will be taking part in the 2024 UN Ocean Decade Conference (10-12 April) and the Ocean Decade Week (8-12 April). Find out more about the team attending and those involved, and our activities across the week. 
Barcelona, Spain

This year marks the fourth year of implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). Under the leadership of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Ocean Decade has already galvanized thousands of partners around the world to start delivering the science we need for the ocean we want. 
Our Director of Science, Prof. Steve Widdicombe, sits on the Ocean Decade Conference Programme Committee and PML staff are leading and taking part in several satellite events on-site and off-site.   
You can access information about all PML activities at the conference here >> 

Ahead of the week, our team shared hopeful thoughts regarding the opportunities this special conference will bring. 

“This Ocean Decade Conference brings together all the different sectors of the global ocean community around our shared commitment to build a better future for our ocean. It will be a chance to exchange new ideas and build exciting partnerships with experts from science, industry, government and civil society. As a co-leader for the UN Ocean Decade programme on ocean acidification OARS, I will be looking to increase the visibility of this programme and foster new collaborations across key areas of science, public understanding and ocean governance. As Director of Science at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the conference is a chance to showcase the amazing research and impact work we are doing to protect and restore biodiversity, minimize the impacts of climate change, fight the causes and effects of marine pollution and support the development of transformative, less harmful, ocean practices. At PML, we are committed to using our science to build a more equitable, sustainable and responsible relationship between human society and our ocean, mutually benefiting both people and nature.” 

- Professor Steve Widdicombe, PML’s Director of Science and Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) Executive Council, in addition to Co-lead of the UN Ocean Decade endorsed programme ‘Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability’ (OARS). 

“The Ocean Decade Conference is an opportunity to exchange knowledge with other experts and develop new partnerships to help the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) Programme achieve its seven Outcomes. We have a strong and growing community of ocean acidification scientists but I am particularly looking forward to connecting with communication and policy experts who can help us effectively communicate the science to a diverse audience, including the public and decision-makers, enabling us to move from science to action.” 

- Amy Kenworthy, Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) Project Manager 

“The UN Ocean Decade is truly collaborative on a global scale. In my role as Chair of the UK’s National Decade Committee (NDC), I will be running events in collaboration with the NDCs of India and Brazil that bring together NDC representatives from across the globe to catalyse action and engage stakeholders including the science and policy community. As Head of International for Plymouth Marine Laboratory, addressing the urgent ocean issues of our time by facilitating global networking is something close to my heart as I believe it is the only way forward – global scale challenges require a global level response”. 

- Professor Matt Frost, PML’s Head of the International Office and Chair of the UK National Decade Committee 

“The Decade has been an exceptional opportunity to mobilise the ocean community to deliver of the largest challenges faced by our ocean our planet. I was delighted to hear that my talk on the MSPACE Early Warning System has been accepted for Session 3. This work is a key example of research we have been co-producing with the UK’s marine policy and industry communities to better enable their access to the most relevant natural and social sciences evidence on climate change to empower them to make decisions that promote a more climate adaptive management and use of our ocean.” 

- Professor Ana Queirós, Marine and climate change ecologist at PML   

"I am looking forward to attending the UN Ocean Decade meeting in Barcelona. I have helped to organise a side event on "Global Awareness, Research activities and Network to Address Ocean Microplastic Pollution", which is being convened by the Internation Atomoic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE). I will be on a panel for the event, and I look forward to discussing the problem of plastic pollution and potential solutions." 

Dr James Clark, Marine Ecosystem Modeller at PML   

“PML will have a fantastic presence at the Ocean Decade Conference. I’m pleased to be part of the team to present ground-breaking science that addresses the Ocean Decade Challenge 7: Sustainably expand the Global Ocean Observing System. PML scientists are rapidly developing ocean biodiversity assessment and monitoring through novel earth observation techniques; we are implementing world-first automated camera systems combined with AI to assess community changes in phytoplankton blooms that increase our ability to assess ecologically significant changes by orders of magnitude; and we are raising awareness of the impact of artificial light at night (ALAN) on marine organisms in coastal regions through our open-access spatial data portal. All of this helps us build on our mission to generate and apply the knowledge, evidence and capability to restore, protect and enhance marine biodiversity on a global scale.” 

- Dr Claire Szostek, Ecosystem Services Scientist at PML 

"I am super excited to be involved in the upcoming UN Decade Conference in Barcelona (April 20124), albeit only virtually. My participation is on two cross-cutting fronts: 1). The UN Decade ECOP Africa / Africa Decade Task Force Satellite Event themed Story telling: Uniting the past and present of the African Ocean for effective ocean stewardship via story telling and indigenous knowledge (Africa – ECOP Programme (, and 2) the UN Decade Challenge 2 White Paper Project: Protect and Restore Ecosystems and Biodiversity (OceanExpert | Document). Both Themes highlight the importance of biodiversity and the need for an inclusive approach to biodiversity and ecosystem protection, conservation and restoration, putting people and their communities at the centre of these commitments. The Sea the Value Project (StV: Sea The Value | Plymouth Marine Laboratory ( at PML of which I am a member has a lot to offer to both of these themes. StV applies an innovative cross disciplinary approach to researching and interacting with ecosystems, considering not only their ecological functions, but equally  the monetary/economic value of ecosystem services,  as a vital way to communicate the conservation imperative to policy makers, coupled with extensive stakeholder interactions via the participatory digitization of habitats and their associated ecosystem services.  This stands as a glaring example of the sort of collaborative, transdisciplinary and transformative science that is required to achieve the ocean we want.” 

- Dr. Anthony Ndah, Ecosystem Scientist at PML. Anthony is on Expert Working Group 2 for the final draft versions of the Ocean Decade Vision 2030 white papers will be presented and discussed during the thematic ‘Science Solution Forums’ at the Conference 

“This is such an important global conference bringing together the Ocean Decade community and partners to celebrate achievements and set joint priorities for the future of the Decade and I am delighted to be a co-organiser of the source-to-sea satellite event and coordinator of the PML delegation.” 

- Thecla Keizer MSc, Deputy Head International Office & International Marketing and Business Development Executive 

 “A major international focal point for knowledge exchange, collaboration and priority-setting, the UN Ocean Decade Conference and Ocean Week is also a welcome opportunity to highlight and reflect on the use of effective science communication to help leverage and accelerate efforts towards a healthier Ocean future. I’m very much looking forward to engaging with scientists, policymakers, science communicators and other stakeholders from around the world, sharing ideas, building new and existing relationships, while also helping to champion the incredible work being undertaken by PML in support of the Ocean Decade outcomes.”  

- Dan Jones, Head of Marketing & Communications 

PML trustees Dan CrockettDr Jyotika Virmani and Dr Véronique Garçon are also in attendance, in addition to Honorary Fellow Torsten Thiele.

You can access information about all PML activities at the conference here >> 


Share this story: