Highly dependent on marine resources, a large number of African countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are at various stages on the path to sustainable ocean management, facing both major challenges and great opportunities. To unlock this potential, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (‘Ocean Decade’) continues to innovate, adapting to a changing environment and recognizing the specific needs of under-represented geographical regions.

20231017 - Call_for_Decade_Actions_No.062023
15 October 2023

In this context, Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023, launched on 15 October 2023, aims to fill gaps in knowledge and capacity development for Africa and Caribbean SIDS through a tailored and inclusive participatory process to co-design Decade Actions that meet local and regional needs.


In its third year of implementation, the Ocean Decade has reached a turning point with over 400 endorsed Decade Actions and an ever-growing global coordination network. However, despite the global momentum generated since its launch in January 2021, notable gaps exist in Decade Actions led by or being implemented in certain regions of the world, including Africa and Caribbean SIDS.


Recognizing the low levels of engagement and leadership, lack of support in co-design processes and a clear pipeline to funding opportunities for endorsed Decade Actions, the current Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023 responds to the high demand for transformative ocean science for sustainable development in these regions, in line with the Ocean Decade Africa Roadmap and recently launched Statement of Collaboration with the SIDS Coalition for Nature.


Structure of Call for Decade Action No. 06/2023


Part I – Co-design of Decade Actions


The first part of the Call is dedicated to the co-design of Decade Actions. Proponents from African[1] and Caribbean SIDS[2] nations are invited to submit their applications to access support to co-design robust Decade Programmes or Decade Projects. The proposed ideas should align with regional or national priorities and meet the potential Ocean Decade endorsement criteria, and contribute to the Ocean Decade Challenges.


Thanks to the support of the governments of Sweden, Ireland, and Norway, successful applicants will be mentored through the development of Decade Actions and supported to eventually access funding opportunities and mechanisms, ultimately filling critical ocean science gaps in Africa and Caribbean SIDS.


This co-design part of Call for Decade Action No. 06/2023 was inspired by the success of the pilot edition of the Ocean Decade Co-design training course for African stakeholders, held earlier this year in partnership with the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT). Over 40 participants from 15 different African countries, divided into six learning groups, prepared submissions for endorsement by the Ocean Decade related to priority themes of the Ocean Decade Africa Roadmap.


Learn more about co-design in the Ocean Decade in this publication.


Part II – Expression of Interest for Decade Programmes


Additionally, as part of the Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023, the Ocean Decade is soliciting Expressions of Interest for potential Decade Programme proposals aimed at addressing any of the 10 Decade Challenges, in line with the initial priorities identified in the Vision 2030 process.


Part III – Ocean Decade Projects


At the Project level of the Call, 32 endorsed Decade Programmes – over two-thirds of the total amount of endorsed Programmes – are also inviting Decade Project submissions. Please see below and Annex I of the Guidance Note for Applicants for the full list.


Part IV – Ocean Decade Contributions


Decade Contributions of in-kind or financial resources are also encouraged to support: (i) the implementation of co-design Decade Actions developed under Part 1 of the Call; and/or (ii) funding of co-design of new Decade Actions in other priority regions such as Pacific SIDS and Latin America for future upcoming Calls.


How to take part in Call for Decade Action No. 06/2023


Interested parties should complete and submit the relevant online “Request for Endorsement” available on the Ocean Decade Network. Please note that there are several different online forms and different deadlines depending on the type of Action you are submitting.


During the preparation of submissions, we strongly encourage interested parties to consult and, where possible, collaborate with other institutions and partners working on common issues. The Ocean Decade Network provides a platform to identify potential partners and collaboration opportunities. Further information on mechanisms to create partnerships is provided in the FAQ document accompanying this Call.


Three virtual Q&A sessions are planned to provide interested parties with additional information on the Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023:


  • The first session will be held on 30 October 2023 from 07:30 – 08:30 UTC jointly with the African Ocean Decade Taskforce and focusing on groups working or wishing to work in Africa: register here.


  • The second session will also be held on 30 October 2023 from 13:30 –14:30 UTC focusing on groups working or wishing to work in Caribbean SIDS: register here.


  • The third and final session will be a general session about the Call, which will be held on 31 October 2023 from 11:30 – 12:30 UTC: register here.


For additional information or queries, please contact oceandecade@unesco.org and include “Call for Decade Actions No. 06/2023” in the subject line.


[1] The full list of African States as recognized by the United Nations can be found here.


[2] The full list of Caribbean Small Island Developing States as recognized by the United Nations can be found here. 




About the Ocean Decade:


Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Read more


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