President Speaks at Sustainable Ocean Summit
President Doumbia-Henry delivered an address at the 4th Sustainable Ocean Summit hosted by the World Ocean Council (WOC) in Rotterdam entitled: Ocean 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals and the Ocean Business Community.
President Doumbia-Henry, during the opening plenary of the Summit, focused on Education and Training of Professionals for Ocean Sustainable Development. Referring to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, she stated that “quality education is the basis for the achievement of all of the other UN SDGs, including from the ocean perspective.” To this end she invited the participants to engage with the academic community, including the World Maritime University, to ensure that future maritime and ocean leaders have the knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial spirit to be able to develop the ocean economy sustainably and support the needs of our growing society”. President Doumbia-Henry highlighted that in almost every assessment of ocean governance needs, education training and capacity development stand out among the greatest shortcomings and that they should be among our top priorities. She maintained that the lack of stewardship for the ocean environment is due in large part to a lack of knowledge and appropriate education about the ocean and how to interact with it.
Emphasizing the efforts of WMU in addressing SDG 14 – To conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, President Doumbia-Henry highlighted the expansion of the University’s mandate to include a focus on education for leadership in ocean governance for a sustainable future. She referred to the introduction in 2016 of two new Master of Science Specializations – one on Maritime Energy Management and the other on Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management. She also announced new professorial recruitments that have taken place or are in the pipeline to strengthen the University’s teaching and research capacity.
Addressing ocean education and training that supports the maritime and ocean industry, President Doumbia-Henry referred to both vocational or technical training that seeks to have individuals acquire specific practical and often directly relevant on-the-job skills, and to general education which is often associated with the award of degrees and allows for a holistic approach to developing critical thinking and inquiry skills.
The President, in highlighting the role of WMU stated: “With our focus on leadership, a WMU education equips our alumni to inspire leadership for optimal change and to explore new and sustainable opportunities. It seeks to foster a paradigm of life-long learning in support of the goals of the United Nations…Rapidly changing technology and globalization means that it is imperative that maritime and ocean education – as opposed to maritime and ocean training – is geared to imparting knowledge and changing attitudes that support the creation of jobs through an entrepreneurial and sustainable mindset as well as educating individuals for the future jobs that will be created.”
The annual summit of the WOC brings together international, high-level ocean industry participants in a unique cross-sectoral forum to shape the ocean sustainability agenda, address emerging ocean issues and regulation, and develop strategic alliances on ocean sustainability, science and stewardship. This year’s participants are working together to review ocean economic projections for the coming 15 years and develop industry-driven solutions to ocean sustainable development challenges. The results of the “Ocean 2030” session will feed into WOC and ocean business community efforts to address ocean sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, especially in contribution to SDG 14 on the Ocean.