Symposium to recognize start of UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

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Craig McLean, acting chief scientist and assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will be one of two keynote speakers at a special United Nations Decade of Ocean Science symposium on April 6 within the University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability. (Photo courtesy of the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability)

A special symposium recognizing the beginning of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will open each morning of the virtual 2021 University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability this week. The symposium will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. (ChST) on Tuesday, April 6, and will continue from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. each day from April 7 – 9.

The Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which the United Nations proclaimed four years ago to be 2021 to 2030, will provide a common framework to support countries’ actions to manage the ocean and achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UOG symposium will emphasize the urgency of this critical period as the ocean suffers from climate change, overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction.

Delivering keynote speeches on the first day of the symposium will be:

Nicole Yamase, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawai’i who last month became the first Pacific Islander to dive the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, and
Craig McLean, acting chief scientist and assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The ocean is significant to me because it embodies everything I value: my family, passion, community, culture, and ancestry,” Yamase said. “The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is important because it’s an opportunity for Pacific Islanders to show how connected we are to the ocean through our culture and through science. Just like our ancestors, it is our duty to take care of the ocean to secure the future for generations to come.”

During the subsequent days of the morning symposium, the Sea Grant, National Science Foundation INCLUDES, and EPSCoR programs will feature islanders from Guam, Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands working in marine and environmental sciences.

The 12th annual University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability will take place as a virtual event from April 6 to April 9 with “Islands Are Rising” as its theme. General conference registration is available for $20 and $10 for students. Learn more about the UOG Virtual Conference Series on Island Sustainability at https://www.uog.edu/cis2021/.

(University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability release)

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