Ocean Practices for the Decade


    “Developing global consensus on how methods should interoperate and evolve into best practices is a major challenge on the path to realizing the Ocean Decade’s ambitions.”  


The Ocean Practices for the Decade Programme (“OceanPractices”) supports all ocean stakeholders in securing, equitably sharing, and collectively advancing your methodological heritage. By engaging diverse communities of practice, OceanPractices can transform how science and other stakeholders align their interests/capacities, creating and using practices to promote sustainable human and ocean well-being. 

Why Best Practices?

Best practices (e.g., common and accepted practices) improve interoperability and facilitate training so broader global participation naturally evolves. They also provide “known conditions” when looking at data and information from others and thus build Trust. Additional benefits are provided here.


Access to information and knowledge about the ocean for the Ocean Decade requires coordinated and interoperable observations and analyses from local to global scales and across disciplines.


Coordinating ocean methodology that underpins cooperation and interoperability is essential” 

The challenges are described here and have been discussed in more detail in a recent publication: (Pearlman, et al, Frontiers in Marine Science, 05 May 2021 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.619685).



Methods and best practices are created and then used by experts and non experts also – e.g. citizen scientists. Methods may be local, regional or global. OceanPractices uses the OBPS repository,  a sustained repository of practices and facilitates access to methods at all appropriate scales. The approach is to engage with an ocean-wide community of practice including experts and new participants.  OBPS suggests templates that enable consistent metadata and methods descriptions. The activities planned for OceanPractices include: 

  • consolidating discussions on ocean practices; 
  • expanding the digital infrastructure for methodologies management;
  • coordination to promote links between scientific methodology and sustainable development; 
  • enable equitable access and world wide capacity development; 
  • collaboratively develop and implement pilot activities. 
  • support and collaborate with other Ocean Decade Programmes and Projects in implementation of best practices 

Details for each of these activities is available here.

OceanPractices Outcomes

The outcomes are framed by five high level objectives. This is an initial list of outcomes. Over the Ocean Decade, these will evolve as various activities are co-designed with partners and other stakeholders. The outcomes currently envisioned are:

  1. A participatory ocean where all ocean stakeholders can discover, understand, and co-develop the next generation of ocean practices with increased equity, accelerating inclusive capacity exchange and development
  2. An oceanwide community of practice where local, regional, and global stores of evolving ocean knowhow and methodology are collectively safeguarded as a shared resource and trust for current and future generations to draw from in the creation of new practices for opportunities and threats we have yet to imagine.
  3. A new commons of practitioner wisdom through which diverse experience across ocean stakeholders are readily available to guide the selection and endorsement of practices for use across regions, operational realities, and value systems of ocean communities in their support of science and sustainable development converge innovative methodologies into endorsement of methods
  4. An ocean of holistic methods where technologies and new, open paradigms of methodology development and communication bring disciplines together in support of holistic methods, realizing transparency and advanced interoperability across disciplines and stakeholders
  5. A future-facing federation of digitized knowhow for technology transfer and capacity development which equips all partners with interoperating digital archives of ocean practice, creating a global network to support the integration of methodologies into the digital ocean ecosystem.


A dedicated OceanPractices Programme action has been established within the OBPS governance structure as a dedicated work package (WP8). This includes sustained activities such as communications, training and strategic technology coordination. Also, hosted under the OceanPractices Programme, there are shorter term (probably multi-year) focused Decade Projects for key developments including the pilot actions. The OBPS Steering Group serves as an Advisory Board. 

SDG Relevancies

OceanPractices will support progress towards multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will primarily focus on those identified by the Ocean Decade Coordinator where we expect major impact including SDG 13, 14 and 17.

Read the programme document

We welcome discussion with you about how we can work together to achieve Decade goals

Contact: decade@oceanbestpractices.org

Ocean Practice Factsheet