June 2024


Report on the first day of the “Ocean Literacy World Conference”
organised by the Prada Group and UNESCO-IOC
as part of SEA BEYOND

131 delegates from UNESCO Member States and ocean literacy experts gathered together to finalise the “Venice Declaration for Ocean Literacy”

New partnership between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and UNESCO announced on the occasion of the 37th America's Cup 

Over 290 participants attended the premiere of the documentary dedicated to the “Kindergarten of the Lagoon”, including institutional guests, academia and Venetian public

Max Sirena, Magdalena Landry, Lorenzo Bertelli

Venice, 7th June 2024 - Today, on the eve of the World Oceans Day, the first United Nations conference dedicated to ocean literacy entitled “Ocean Literacy World Conference” took place in Venice. The event, organised by the Prada Group and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission on the theme of ocean preservation, represents an important milestone in the partnership between the Prada Group and UNESCO which, since 2019, have been working side by side to develop the SEA BEYOND educational program aimed at raising awareness among the younger generations on the health and protection of the ocean.

The main objective of the conference - held with the patronage of the Municipality of Venice, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the 3rd United Nations Ocean Conference to be held in Nice next June 2025 - was to bring together 131 delegates from UNESCO Member States and ocean literacy experts from around the world to contribute to the “Venice Declaration for Ocean Literacy”, a collective document that in 10 points contains concrete recommendations to rebalance the relationship between the ocean and human beings. Participants of the first day exchanged best practices and future perspectives to formulate policies and strategies to integrate ocean literacy within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14) and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021- 2030), including the definition of a common path to introduce ocean literacy in school curriculum.

The Declaration will be endorsed on the second day of the event, tomorrow 8 June, and shared with UN Member States on 2nd July in New York, helping to shape the agenda for the UN Ocean Conference to be held in Nice and which will be co-hosted by the governments of France and Costa Rica.

Vidar Helgesen, UNESCO Assistant Director General and Executive Secretary of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission said: “According to recent data published in the UNESCO's ‘State of the Ocean Report 2024’, the rate of ocean warming has doubled in the last 20 years and sea level rose 20 centimeters in the last century. The ocean is running out of breat and we are running out of time”.

Francesca Santoro, Senior Programme Officer of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, added: “The role of ocean literacy is essential in this context, as a fundamental tool to help understand the urgency of collective actions. It is a priority to define how and where to intervene, to make the relationship between humans and the ocean more armonious, just and sustainable”.

Lorenzo Bertelli, Executive Director of the Prada Group and Patron of the Ocean Decade Alliance, said: “The future of our planet depends above all on the health of the ocean. This is why it’s important for the youngest to be aware and capable of taking action. We also hope that the document resulting from the reflections of these days will raise the awareness of decision-makers so that they put the protection of the ocean at the centre of the international agenda”.

In the afternoon, following the speech by Peter Thompson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, where he stated that ocean literacy will play a pivotal role during the next international gatherings on ocean issue, the new partnership between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and UNESCO was announced. This collaboration is aimed at spreading the messages of ocean conservation to the large audience of the upcoming 37th America's Cup, scheduled to take place in Barcelona from the end of August. The mainsail of the Italian boat will bear the UNESCO and SEA BEYOND logos.

The first day of the conference ended with the presentation of the documentary dedicated to one of the projects within SEA BEYOND, the Kindergarten of the Lagoon, at the Cinema Rossini. The documentary recounts the experience of a Venetian school involved in the project, which offers preschool children the opportunity to closely understand and love the lagoon ecosystem through outdoor education.

Ocean Literacy World Conference

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