September 2023 OES Beacon

Ocean Decade Initiative at Sections Congress 2023 in Ottawa, Canada, 11-13 August, 2023

Laura Meyer, Giulia De Masi, Brandy Armstrong, Christopher Whitt

We just finished our intense and exciting weekend as an exhibitor at the Section Congress 2023. Organized by Member and Geographic Activities (MGA), this event is an opportunity to meet volunteers coming from different Regions worldwide, across Societies and Technical Activities (TA). After the cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic, all attendees were more than excited to meet again after 6 years.  One could feel the excitement amongst the participants, enabling large proactivity and desire of collaboration. Enabling Leaders to Build a Sustainable Future was the theme, with a central booth from the TA Climate Change Program at the exhibition hall. We had the opportunity to present IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (OES) and especially our focus on ocean sustainability with the global IEEE community at IEEE Sections Congress. Strictly related to it, the Ocean Decade initiative supported by the OES played a significant role and attracted large interest from many participants.

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) is a global initiative aimed at enhancing our understanding of the ocean and its role in sustaining life on Earth. As humanity faces growing challenges posed by climate change, pollution, overfishing, and habitat degradation, the oceanic engineering community has a pivotal role to play in supporting the goals of this decade. The Ocean Decade Initiative connects the engineering and technical community with the global UN Ocean Decade community.

Many opportunities of collaboration in dedicated initiatives also related to the Ocean Decade are foreseen. New connections this weekend included the Computer Society, the IEEE Foundation, the Technology and Engineering Management Society (TEMS), the Power and Energy Society, as well as the Humanitarian Activity Board (formerly the Humanitarian Activities Committee).

Also, student chapters and young professionals have shown interest to be directly involved – like the Tunisia student chapter. Many Regions representatives came to our booth to start a collaboration with OES. For instance, R9 Costa Rica invited OES to give a talk about the Ocean Decade at the 5th IEEE International Conference on BioInspired Processing, BIP 2023 Conference Costa Rica. Moreover, Hong Kong Section Chair wants OES to influence and suggest projects for a new R10 initiative for coastal resilience. Similarly, Italy (R8) is hosting the next International Humanitarian Conference (IHTC) in Nov 2024 and the organizers also invited OES for Technical Co-Sponsorship.

Specific synergies are identified with Planet Positive 2030 (PP2030) program, where already a common Focus group has been set up. The OES Ocean Decade Initiative Committee members led the Ocean and Coasts chapter for PP2030, which has been widely-recognized as a great example of how cross-cutting technologies are needed to address sustainability.

In terms of public visibility, OES will provide its expertise for a highlight article on the IEEE Climate Change website.

Moreover, we are much looking forward to our next panel focusing on the topic of marine Carbon Dioxide Removal taking place at the Science Summit side event during the UN General Assembly on September 19th in New York City. The panel will be supported financially by IEEE, hosted at IEEE Corporate Headquarters, and IEEE may provide video recording and highlights for later OES use. Stay tuned for more information on how to follow this event.

From 25-28 September, the Ocean Decade Initiative will be present at OCEANS 2023 Gulf Coast.

The positive feedback we got from all our conversations from Sections Chairs across the world and even with the IEEE President himself gives the Ocean Decade Initiative a lot of motivation to continue its efforts.

CALL FOR ACTION on how to get involved in the Ocean Decade Initiative: