Events March 2023 Beacon

Report upon attending the World Ocean Assessment workshop at Belitung, Indonesia in December 2022

Prof. M. A. Atmanand, Senior Member IEEE, AdCom member and Coordinator of Technology Committees

Atmanand was recommended to the UN- Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the sea (DOALOS) as a Technical and Scientific Expert from the region of Indian Ocean based on his track records and professional experiences by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)-UNESCO Secretariat. They requested his participation and contribution to the Workshop for the region of the Indian Ocean (including the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal), the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the ROPME/RECOFI area, and the North and South Pacific in support of the third cycle of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects at Belitung, Indonesia from the 13th to 15th of December, 2022.

Atmanand presenting at the Plenary

The Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects (Regular Process), is a global mechanism established by States after the 2002 United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa. It aims to regularly review the environmental, economic and social aspects of the state of the world’s oceans, both current and foreseeable. Its purpose is to contribute to the strengthening of the regular scientific assessment of the state of the marine environment in order to enhance the scientific basis for policymaking.

The third cycle of the Regular Process was launched by the General Assembly in December 2019, to cover five years from 2021 to 2025. In accordance with the programme of work for the third cycle, one of the outputs of the third cycle will be the production of one or more assessments of the marine environment, including socioeconomic aspects. In addition, the Regular Process will provide support for other ocean-related intergovernmental processes, which may include a series of policy briefs for policymakers tailored to each process. The third cycle will also include a coherent capacity-building programme with the aim of strengthening the ocean science-policy interface at national, regional and global levels.

The scope of this workshop is to inform the scoping exercise and the development of annotated outline(s) of the next assessment(s) to be produced during the third cycle of the UN Regular Process, collect regional-level data, raise awareness and provide information on the Regular Process, and generate interest from the scientific community in contributing to the drafting of the assessment(s). The Workshop is organized under the auspices of the United Nations, in coordination with the secretariat of the Regular Process, represented by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (the “Division”) and with the assistance of members of the Group of Experts, as appropriate.

Atmanand at the Group I meeting as rapporteur

The workshop has thrown light to the current state of the oceans, especially the effect of Covid and its aftermath on the system. The need to further take up activities like pollution control, especially due to plastics and due to overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, came up as an outcome. Utilisation of renewable energies to reduce carbon footprint also came up as an important point.

The assessment is in line with the UN decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable development (2021-2030) and SDG 14. Thus, the outputs from these two activities are to be gelled with the WOA III report so that the policy makers get a gist of the ocean state without going through multiple reports from various sources. Personnel from countries like Australia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste participated