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Evolving and sustaining ocean best practices to enable interoperability in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

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posted on 2023-05-21, 04:58 authored by Pearlman, J, Buttigieg, PL, Bushnell, M, Delgado, C, Hermes, J, Heslop, E, Hortsmann, C, Isensee, K, Karstensen, J, Lambert, A, Ana Lara-LopezAna Lara-Lopez, Muller-Karger, F, Maz, CM, Pearlman, F, Pissierssens, P, Przewlawski, R, Simpson, P, van Stavel, J, Venkatesan, R
The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade) challenges marine science to better inform and stimulate social and economic development while conserving marine ecosystems. To achieve these objectives, we must make our diverse methodologies more comparable and interoperable, expanding global participation and foster capacity development in ocean science through a new and coherent approach to best practice development. We present perspectives on this issue gleaned from the ongoing development of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS). The OBPS is collaborating with individuals and programs around the world to transform the way ocean methodologies are managed, in strong alignment with the outcomes envisioned for the Ocean Decade. However, significant challenges remain, including: (1) the haphazard management of methodologies across their lifecycle, (2) the ambiguous endorsement of what is “best” and when and where one method may be applicable vs. another, and (3) the inconsistent access to methodological knowledge across disciplines and cultures. To help address these challenges, we recommend that sponsors and leaders in ocean science and education promote consistent documentation and convergence of methodologies to: create and improve context-dependent best practices; incorporate contextualized best practices into Ocean Decade Actions; clarify who endorses which method and why; create a global network of complementary ocean practices systems; and ensure broader consistency and flexibility in international capacity development.


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Frontiers in Marine Science



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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Frontiers Research Foundation

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Copyright © 2021 Pearlman, Buttigieg, Bushnell, Delgado, Hermes, Heslop, Hörstmann, Isensee, Karstensen, Lambert, Lara-Lopez, Muller-Karger, Munoz Mas, Pearlman, Pissierssens, Przeslawski, Simpson, van Stavel and Venkatesan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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