The UN "Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development" Goes off to a Strong Start, with the Joint Efforts of Government Departments from Various Ministries, Provinces, and Cities to Build China's First International Cooperation Center for the "UN Ocean Decade"
On February 15, 2023, the signing and unveiling ceremony of the tripartite agreement on the establishment of the International Cooperation Center for the "UN Ocean Decade" (hereinafter referred to as the "Cooperation Center") was held in Qingdao West Coast New Area. The Ministry of Natural Resources, Shandong Provincial People's Government, and Qingdao Municipal People's Government will work together to build China's first International Cooperation Center for the "Decade of Ocean Science".
As a comprehensive, innovative, and leading international cooperation platform established under the UN "Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development" initiative, the Cooperation Center will innovate its institutional mechanisms in accordance with the concepts of international operations, standardized management, and open development. It will take the major strategic task of building a maritime power as its guide, actively establish blue partnerships, participate deeply in the UN "Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development" and global ocean governance, deepen practical international cooperation in the field of maritime affairs, and promote the realization of the United Nations' sustainable development goals and the construction of a maritime community with a shared future.
Main Venue of the Agreement Signing and Unveiling Ceremony (Photo by An Diantang and Lu Bingjun)
●To gather advantageous strengths and participate deeply in the "Decade of Ocean Science"
"The Decade of Ocean Science" was approved by the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and is known as a global top-level marine science and technology initiative, called the "once in a lifetime" opportunity at the beginning of the third millennium. It is a technological revolution in the global maritime field aimed at promoting the forming of innovative scientific solutions, and sustainable development of oceans, climate, and human society. In January 2021, after the official launch of the "Decade of Ocean Science" implementation plan, China actively participated in and supported all the activities of the "Decade of Ocean Science". In August 2022, led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and joined by 13 other ministries including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Finance, the China Committee for the "UN Decade of Ocean Science" was established to organize and coordinate the implementation and promotion of key work related to China's "Decade of Ocean Science." According to the framework set by the "Decade of Ocean Science", specific actions are divided into four categories by importance: mega-science programs, projects, activities, and donations. In particular, to enhance management and coordination efficiency, the UN "Decade of Ocean Science" has set up a Decade Coordination Unit (DCU) under the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), which has established decentralized coordination mechanisms including collaborative centers and coordination offices. In June 2022, the First Institute of Oceanography of the Ministry of Natural Resources (hereinafter referred to as "FIO") successfully applied for and was approved as one of the six UN Decade Collaborative Centres on Ocean-Climate Nexus and Coordination (UN DCC-OCC) around the world.
Researcher Qiao Fangli from FIO Introducing "Decade of Ocean Science" (Photo by An Diantang and Lu Bingjun)
The UN DCC-OCC is one of the first five approved UN DCC-OCCs established globally under the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science Science for Sustainable Development (the sixth one was established later) and is the only approved collaborative center in China. Under the guidance of the Ministry of Natural Resources, it carries out relevant work authorized by the Decade of Ocean Science, including coordinating the implementation of the "Decade of Ocean Science" Mega-science Program led by research institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China, as well as China's Decade of Ocean Science implementation partnership. The successful application and operation of the DCC-OCC is a significant achievement by the Ministry of Natural Resources in the coordination of international scientific frontiers with national major demands, global ocean governance with autonomous scientific & technological innovation, and forward-looking planning with sustainable promotion. It also represents the long-time accumulation of experience and expertise by Chinese scientific institutions, such as FIO, at the international forefront of ocean science. This achievement demonstrates the international recognition of China's high level of independent core innovation capabilities in the critical area of ocean and climate and marks the transition of China from "long-term deep participation" to "international leadership" in this field.
Launching Ceremony of the UN DCC-OCC (Photo by An Diantang and Lu Bingjun)
●To support the operation of the collaborative center and serve the China Committee for "Decade of Ocean Science"
As a maritime international cooperation and innovation platform jointly built by ministries, the provincial government and municipal government, the Cooperation Center will assist the UN DCC-OCC in its global and regional actions related to climate change in the ocean, playing a coordinating, monitoring and evaluating role. It will enhance China's capacity to participate in global and regional marine governance, promote practical cooperation in the maritime field, jointly address global maritime challenges, and work together to build a beautiful planet where mankind is in harmony with the ocean.
The Cooperation Center will implement the work arrangements by the China Committee for the "Decade of Ocean Science," coordinate the implementation of relevant projects and activities of the "Decade of Ocean Science" China Action Framework , focus on promoting the UN "Decade of Ocean Science" project, building a high-quality East Asian maritime cooperation platform, deepening effective cooperation in key bilateral areas, building a platform for international ocean-related organizations, promoting the construction of Qingdao as a leading modern maritime city, and enhancing China's capacity to participate in global and regional ocean governance to a deeper and wider level.
●To build a high-quality East Asian Maritime Cooperation Platform and build a regional highland for international maritime cooperation
The East Asian Maritime Cooperation Platform is a priority project for the construction of the "Belt and Road" initiative and it has achieved fruitful results since its launch in 2016. The Qingdao Forum and East Asia Marine Expo have been successfully held for six sessions, releasing reports such as the East Asia Maritime Cooperation Research Report and High-quality Development Report of East Asian Ports, establishing four international cooperation alliances including the East Asian Port Alliance and the Marine Industry Technology Cooperation Alliance, as well as three think tanks such as the East Asian Maritime Cooperation Expert Think Tank. They have become internationally influential ocean forums and renowned ocean exhibition brands. The Cooperation Center will continue to promote the high-quality construction of the East Asian Maritime Cooperation Platform, strengthen the professional, distinctive, and international operation of the platform, and institutionalize a series of supporting activities such as the East Asia Maritime Cooperation Platform Qingdao Forum and the East Asia Marine Expo. It will also organize research and publish high-quality policy reports and public service products, continuously enhancing the regional and international influence of the East Asian Maritime Cooperation Platform.
●To bring together international organizations and create new heights of international cooperation
The Cooperation Center will gather international organizations and platforms, such as the Regional Office of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), the China-PEMSEA Center, and the UNESCO/IOC Regional Training and Research Center on Ocean Dynamics and Climate (UNESCO/IOC-ODC), to promote bilateral and multilateral maritime cooperation and organize capacity building and international training in the field of maritime affairs. The Cooperation Center will deepen and promote international cooperation in marine science and technology innovation, blue economy development, ecological protection and restoration, and marine industry development, promote the transformation of scientific and technological achievements into solutions, governance tools, and high-quality public service products, and contribute Chinese wisdom and solutions to the progress and sustainable development of world marine science and technology.
●To create new dimensions of development and break new ground for maritime cities
The Cooperation Center will lead and promote the implementation of strategies, policies, paths, and measures for the building of modern maritime cities. It will conduct policy research on the integration of the demonstration area of the maritime community with a shared future and the ocean economy into regional cooperation mechanisms such as the SCO demonstration area, and RCEP, providing scientific advice for the high-quality development of the local marine economy. It will also promote the co-construction of a marine industrial park and form a marine industrial cluster area dominated by high-end intelligent marine equipment, seawater desalination and comprehensive utilization, marine renewable energy, marine drugs and bio-products, and the integration of tertiary industries. The Cooperation Center will fully utilize the advantages of marine-related research institutes, universities, and marine-related enterprises, and strengthen the integration of production, education, and research. It will drive high-quality development in the field of marine technology with innovation, accelerate the commercialization of scientific and technological achievements, empower the high-quality development of the local marine economy, and promote Shandong as a strong marine province and Qingdao as a leading modern marine city.
Responsible for leading the operation of this Cooperation Center, FIO has established sound communication and cooperation with more than 50 scientific research units from over 30 important marine countries in the past 20 years. Several inter-institute cooperation agreements have been signed and effectively implemented. Practical cooperation has been carried out in areas such as marine observation, marine disaster prevention and reduction, air-sea interaction, marine ecosystem and biodiversity conservation, marine geology, polar research, coastal zone integrated management, and marine engineering, achieving fruitful results. FIO has undertaken 12 international cooperation institutions, including 5 bilateral cooperation institutions and 7 international institutions under multilateral frameworks. It has made a number of breakthroughs in the "Decade of Ocean Science" field, taking the lead domestically. This includes the approval of one DCC-OCC, one mega-science program (OSF, one of the only four mega-science programs in China), one project, and three activities. In the future, relying on the Cooperation Center, FIO will closely work with the Qingdao Municipal Marine Development Bureau, the Management Committee of Qingdao West Coast New Area, the Beihai Bureau of the Ministry of Natural Resources, and the National Deep-Sea Base Management Center to fully support China's "Decade of Ocean Science" work.
The converging forces of accelerating the construction of a strong maritime country, implementing the Shandong Province's ocean development strategy, and building Qingdao as a leading modern marine city have come together with the UN "Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development" initiative. Jointly built by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Shandong Province, and Qingdao City, the International Cooperation Center for the "Decade of Ocean Science" is officially sited in Qingdao West Coast New Area. The Cooperation Center bears the responsibility and mission of implementing the important concept of building a maritime community with a shared future proposed by President Xi Jinping. A ship that opens a magnificent chapter of China's ocean dream will set sail from here and head towards oceans around the world.