UN Decade of Ocean Science

On 11 February 2021, Formas was tasked by the government to establish and host a national committee for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for sustainable development. The assignment applies through 31 December 2030.

The committee is expected to assist the government in Sweden’s implementation of the Decade in these ways:

  • Coordinate and disseminate information about the Decade to promote awareness, interest and participation among Swedish stakeholders and facilitate contacts between different stakeholders and countries.
  • Offer advice on national priorities, make proposals for activities that can be implemented at the national level, and facilitate their implementation within the framework of the Decade.
  • Review Swedish organisations’ applications for official approval of activities for the Decade, if necessary within the framework of the IOC-UNESCO approval process.
  • Publish the outcome from the activities carried out.

Sweden’s contribution to the UN Decade

It is highly challenging that everything that happens in our seas and oceans takes place under the surface. This makes it difficult for us to create a common picture of what we need to improve the state of the seas and oceans. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 presents a unique opportunity for strengthening global collaboration in the long term, agreeing on common priorities and mobilising partnerships. We have borrowed the seas from our children. Important prerequisites for achieving sustainable ocean management are research-based knowledge, innovative solutions, the sharing of information around the world, and collective action across all levels of society.

Achieving the necessary progress within ten years – meaning to establish sustainable use and protection of the seas from today’s use and exploitation – requires courage, prioritisation, coordination, commitment and perseverance. We currently have enough data in order to accelerate the transition.

National priority areas

In 2020, a government remit was carried out with the aim of developing a plan for how Sweden could contribute to the UN Decade of Ocean Science. The working group included Formas, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Marine Environment Institute, and the Kristineberg Center for Marine Research and Innovation. The report presents four focus areas that form a framework and initial steps in the work that needs to be carried out over the decade.

  • Ecosystem-based management
  • Innovation and digitalisation
  • Data and modelling
  • Ocean Literacy

Solutions and measures for fighting climate change and safeguarding biodiversity are integrated in all areas, and the efforts should be marked by a holistic approach – from source to sea. These broad areas will be able to shed light on different issues over the decade and embrace new challenges in order to create continuous engagement.

News and Events



National calls



UNESCO's Decade of Ocean Science adresses the vision of "The science we need for the ocean we want". The aim is for marine research to contribute to transformative solutions for sustainable development that connect both people and the oceans.

Within the framework of the Decade, all large and small initiatives that contribute to marine research can be officially registered.



MEMFIS environmental monotoring conference

Stockholm 9 - 10 november 2023. Conference for Östersjön and Nordsjön.

Memfis - Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (havochvatten.se) External link.


The Ocean Literacy Action Conference of 2022

Malmö 9 - 10 may.  Organized by Malmö city, World Maritime University and Marint Kunskapscenter, in collaboration with HaV, Unesco-IOC, HMI, Sida, UD, SMHI och EMSEA.


One Ocean – One Planet: Ocean Literacy Action 2022 External link.


The Committee

Members of the committee:

  • Johan Kuylenstierna, Formas, Director General
  • Johan Tumpane, Formas, Vice Director General
  • Alan AtKisson, SIDA
  • Anna-Karin Johansson, The Swedish National Commission for UNESCO
  • Anna-Maria Perttu, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
  • Helén Andersson, SMHI
  • Kajsa Tönnesson, Swedish Institute for the Marine Environment
  • Karin Lexén, The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
  • Mikael Krysell, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management

Contact persons at Formas:

Updated:28 November 2023
Page manager: John Tumpane