This month, the United Nations Ocean Conference occurred in Lisbon, Portugal. The conference's stated goal was to focus on innovative solutions to the many crises facing the world's oceans.
At Ocean Discovery League, we followed these presentations and activities with great interest but were still surprised to see how few locally-driven initiatives and individuals were represented. Asha DeVos, founder of Oceanswell in Sri Lanka, continuously drew attention to this throughout the conference. Her powerful statement at one event, "Let's face it, talent is evenly distributed; opportunity is not," resonated with many attendees. National Geographic and Schmidt Ocean Institute announced a partnership to advance diversity and access in ocean exploration, a positive sign.
We're looking forward to releasing our UN Decade of Ocean Science activity, the Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment, now the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted. It has been slow going. Processing data on 186 countries and territories, four times more than any previous study before it, has been far more extensive than we had ever imagined.
However, the very act of including and reaching out to people in locations often under-resourced and overlooked in many global studies has created a community and a sense of inclusion that makes the effort incredibly valuable and worthwhile. We have documented previously underreported details, from available human capacity to possible technology access.
We look forward to sharing our work with you, and hope the broader ocean community continues to strive for this type of equity and inclusion in all the activities it pursues.
Katy Croff Bell
Founder & President
Ocean Discovery League