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IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)

Advancing knowledge and cooperation for a healthy ocean and prosperous society

National Decade Committees shares experience and challenges at the WESTPAC-XIV

“What is the current development status of the National Decade Committees (NDCs) in the region?” and “how could the NDCs better help promote and support the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)?” Those questions came into mainstream discussions at a side event during the 14th Intergovernmental Session of the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (4-7 April 2023, Jakarta).

The National Decade Committee (NDC) as an essential element of the UN Ocean Decade coordinating framework, is supposed to play an instrumental role in engaging national stakeholders and facilitating national contributions to the Ocean Decade  as well as promoting awareness and interest.

To facilitate the Member States in the region to share their experience and lessons learnt in the NDC development, the IOC Sub-Commission organized a side event during the 14th Intergovernmental Session of the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (4-7 April 2023, Jakarta, Indonesia), to share and facilitate dialogues among Member States about NDCs development and their activities, identify their challenges and opportunities,  and make further suggestions to the Decade Coordination Unit and the Decade Coordination Office in the region on how to enhance Decade Decade coordination at regional and national levels.

Updated with the global NDC development, participants in the side event were also briefed on the development of NDCs in six countries in the region, namely China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and the USA, including their respective structures, functions, operation, challenges, and opportunities.

It is evident that the NDCs’ nature, structure and operation varies greatly from one to another, due to different ocean governance settings in different countries. Grand challenges remain for all NDCs were also identified, including how the  endorsement value of the Decade Action could be recognized at national level and relevant NDC?; what  incentives could be given to Decade Actions?; how to attract and engage diverse stakeholders into the Ocean Decade, such as Industries, ECOPs, NGOs, as well as diverse disciplines of academia, policy-makers, and government agencies; Meanwhile, how to secure financial and human resources for NDCs; and the  limited awareness of the financial authorities as well as of the public and ocean-related stakeholders on ocean science and the Ocean Decade as a whole were also raised as a common concern by all participants in the event.

Despite a long way for NDCs to go, participants feel it useful to gather NDCs together on a regular basis in order to help their development and eventually accelerate the development of UN Ocean Actions in the region.

For further information about the NDC, please refer to the
National Decade Committees Operational Guideline (2021).

For more background on the NDCs Forum, please find its Concept Note here.