During the 71st Session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the World Maritime University (WMU) and The Nippon Foundation announced the establishment of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (Ocean Institute).
The Ocean Institute is a concrete response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and in particular Goal 14 - the Ocean Goal- that commits governments to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development”.
The Ocean Institute will be an independent focal point for ocean, science, policy, law and industry interaction to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources for the sustainable development, supported by evidence-based research, educational programs and capacity building.
Research output from the Institute will support these stakeholders, and a special emphasis will be placed on working closely with the IMO and other relevant UN organizations, including UNESCO.
The IMO Secretary-General welcomed this important development in the life of the University, and stated: “This fits perfectly with IMO’s own engagement in the broader sphere of ocean governance. IMO is designated as the competent body for implementing several provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and this gives us a clear obligation to participate in, and contribute to, ocean governance - the processes and mechanisms by which the use of the oceans and their resources are regulated and controlled.
“Establishing this institute for broader ocean research within the IMO’s World Maritime University will provide an opportunity for IMO to strengthen its role in this regard and, in particular, its support for the Sustainable Development Goals, which I was pleased to re-affirm at the recent United Nations Ocean Conference in New York.”
The President of WMU, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry stated: “This Announcement with The Nippon Foundation is both timely and historic. The UN Ocean Conference held in June gave significant impetus for urgent action. The outcome ‘Our Ocean, Our Future - Call for Action’ highlights, inter alia, the need for ‘strengthened multi-stakeholder partnerships, more ocean-related education and greater resources for marine scientific research.'
“WMU, established by the IMO, is the preeminent postgraduate academic institution in maritime and ocean-related fields. It is therefore well placed as a center of excellence to advance ocean research, education, capacity-building on global ocean policies that are cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary and trans-regional in scope. WMU is most grateful to the longstanding partnership with The Nippon Foundation. This new initiative will enable the two parties to make a significant contribution to the future of Our Ocean.”
Mitsuyuki Unno, Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation stated: “I sense that the greater global community is starting to accept the undeniable fact that our ocean is indeed in a crisis. To address this, we need to take a holistic approach to ocean governance; an approach that is both intergovernmental and trans-disciplinary.
“Against this backdrop, The Nippon Foundation welcomes WMU’s timely transformation from a maritime institution to one that covers a wider range of ocean-related fields, making it the most appropriate partnering institution to start this new endeavor. I thank the IMO, member States, and all other stakeholders for their support. As WMU and the Foundation move forward into a new phase of partnership, the Foundation reaffirms its continued commitment to building human capacities to address the growing sustainability challenges in the world’s oceans.”