Human activities are altering nature at a global scale. The first Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment provided comprehensive and interdisciplinary evidence that most indicators of the state of nature are declining. To tackle the biodiversity crisis, actions to mitigate the drivers of biodiversity decline and transformative change through innovative approaches at all levels (society, politics, technology, the economy, etc.), are required.
A first step towards transformative change was the agreement by 190+ countries attending the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15), on a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework for conserving and managing global biodiversity, and the commitment to protect at least 30% of terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems by 2030.
Specifically for marine biodiversity, supporting ocean sustainability is the main vision of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The Ocean Decade will bring together the expertise and views of all stakeholders to solve the many challenges including pollution, climate change, biodiversity protection and restoration, and feeding the global population, among others, ensuring that people understand the multiple values and services of the ocean for human wellbeing, culture, and sustainable development.
To overcome these challenges and empower the global community to sustainably manage our ocean, two main foundational pillars are needed: data and improving human capacity. Regarding data, the Global Ocean Observing System has designed a framework of Essential Ocean Variables to track how ocean life is responding to increased human use and climate change. Regarding capacity development, strengthening education and training for various stakeholders is critical to help create an appropriately trained workforce needed by coastal nations to manage their coastal and marine environments, and maintain their national blue economies following the 2030 Agenda.
We will expand on the effectivity of these tools to tackle the biodiversity crisis.
Dr. Patricia Miloslavich is the Program Lead of the East Antarctic Monitoring Program with the Australian Antarctic Division. Between 2020 and 2023, she was the Executive Director of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), an international body aimed to advance ocean science and address global issues requiring a multidisciplinary approach.
She is a marine biologist with a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Quebec at Rimouski, and a retired senior professor from Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela. She has more than 30 years of experience with international programs addressing scientific, technological, capacity development, and sustainability challenges related to marine biodiversity and biological oceanography.
She was the International Project Officer of the Biology and Ecosystems Panel from the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) coordinating activities to implement global sustained observations of marine biodiversity and ecosystems. Patricia played key roles with the Census of Marine Life program, the SCOR Executive Committee and with the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network of GEO-BON. She contributed to the IOC/UNESCO, the UN Ocean Conferences, the IPBES global assessment and the UN World Ocean Assessment. She was the President of the International Association for Biological Oceanography (IABO). Patricia was the recipient in 2015 of the Venezuelan National Science Award.