Venice Declaration for Ocean Literacy in Action


Jack Coulton

10 Jun 2024

At the first Ocean Literacy World Conference, held in Venice, Italy from 7-8 June, 2024, the participants endorsed the Venice Declaration for Ocean Literacy in Action.

The Declaration is a statement of intent for the Ocean Literacy community as it seeks to shape the agenda at the United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC) to be held in Nice, France, in June 2025, and more generally to engage society to regenerate the most valuable ecosystem on our Planet.

The document started life in a public survey on Ocean Literacy Priorities which saw hundreds of responses from ocean scientists, educators and communicators from across the world. A first draft was then written up by the UNESCO-IOC Ocean Literacy working group, and shared with participants at the first Ocean Literacy World Conference. Here, at Ca’ Giustinian in Venice, home of the Biennale, the delegates spent the first day of the Conference discussing and debating the Declaration in order to make it as inclusive as possible.

A definitive version was presented and endorsed by the delegates on the second day, though, as the Declaration itself states, it is conceived as a living document that will evolve through continuous dialogue among stakeholders everywhere. As such, the Declaration belongs to no single individual or institution, but to everyone. It is a common heritage which will be refined and expanded from the grassroots to advocate for Ocean Literacy worldwide, and, ultimately, to restore humanity’s relationship with the ocean.

As the Declaration also aims to place Ocean Literacy at the forefront of the agenda at UNOC, there was thereafter a symbolic handover of the finished document, which was presented by Massimiliano De Martin, Councilor for the Environment for the City of Venice, to Aurore Asso, Council advisor for Ocean Conservation & Marine Protected Areas for Nice and the Côte d’Azur.

Read the full Declaration here.

You may also rewatch the entire conference as it was livestreamed on YouTube on the channel of UNESCO Venice Office.

The Ocean Literacy World Conference was made possible through the Sea Beyond project, a joint initiative and educational program on ocean conservation by UNESCO-IOC and the Prada Group.