A Clean Ocean

A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and removed.

Ocean cleaning

Parilov / Adobe Stock

To sustain life and economic activity, the ocean must be clean. Stakeholders will collaborate to identify pollutants and their sources to the ocean by 2025, remove contaminants from the ocean by 2030 and support society’s transition to a pollutant-minimizing circular economy.

Societies worldwide generate plastic, noise, and harmful chemicals. Whatever the source, these actions on present or increased scales are unsustainable stressors for a clean ocean. The critical gaps in our knowledge of the causes and sources of ocean pollution and its effects must urgently be addressed with interdisciplinary science and transformation of the generated knowledge to society, policy and economy -  for the clean ocean we want.


17 NOVEMBER, 4.00 PM – 8.00 PM CET


Monika Jones, International TV and Conference Host, Germany

4:00 pm CET


Opening remarks

Vladimir Ryabinin, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
Angelika Brandt, chair expert group “clean ocean”, Senckenberg Society for
    Nature Research, Germany

4:10 pm CET


Panel discussion


Colin Devey, ocean expert, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany


— Sewage pollution: Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage
— Effects of pollution on shallow and deep seas: Judith Gobin, University of The West Indies
— Reducing plastic pollution of the seas: Ben Jack, Director, Programmes Common Seas

Q&A with audience

4:50 pm CET

THE QUEST FOR CHANGE – the need for knowledge sharing and capacity building

Interactive breakout session


Elva Escobar, deep-sea life expert, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Colin Devey, seafloor expert, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany
Kaveh Samimi, corals of the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean expert
Harriet Harden-Davies, biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction expert


— Cutting marine litter: Heidi Savelli, UN Environment Programme
— Improving governance of large marine ecosystems: David Vousden, Rhodes
    University, Republic of South Africa
— Understanding and decreasing trace metals and radioactive discharges:
    Peter John Kershaw, Independent consultant, UK
— Seabed governance: Luciana Genio, International Seabed Authority, Jamaica

Wrap-up breakout session

Monika Jones, International TV and Conference Host, Germany
— Colin Devey, seafloor expert, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany

6:20 pm CET



6:30 pm CET



— Waste as a cultural challenge: Jana Steingässer, Okeanos Foundation, Pacific Island voices
Peia Patai, Fleet Commander
— Smarter shipping: Sofia Fürstenberg Stott, Industry representative
— More and better education for sustainable development: Gina Bonne,
    Indian Ocean Commission (IOC)              

Q&A with audience

7:15 pm CET


Speakers (in speaking order)

— Cleaner estuaries: Kenneth Mei Yee Leung,
    State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution (City University of Hong Kong)
    “Global Estuaries Monitoring (GEM) Programme”

— Quieter oceans: Dr. Kyle Becker, Office of Naval Research, USA
    “Ocean Decade Research Programme on the Maritime Acoustic Environment”

— Comparing the ocean 150 years ago and today: Kerry Howell, University of Plymouth, UK
    “Challenger 150 – A Decade to Study Deep-Sea Life”

— Spreading know-how for cleaner oceans: Jörn Schmidt, International Council for
    Exploration of the Seas, Copenhagen, Denmark
    “Sustainability of Marine Ecosystems through global knowledge networks”

Q&A with audience

8:00 pm CET


Wrap-up and next steps

Cleaner oceans from near shore to mid-ocean, sea floor to sea surface, and Antarctica to the North Pole: Angelika Brandt, deep-sea biodiversity expert, Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, Germany

17 November, 8:00 – 10:00 pm CET, 18 November, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm CET and 19 November, 9:00 – 11:00 am CET

One Integrated Marine Debris Observing System for a Clean Ocean (English/French)

This event explores how the Integrated Marine Debris Observing System (IMDOS) can strengthen the scientific knowledge on marine litter pollution to support research, innovating solutions, and mitigating actions.

17 November, 9:00 – 10:30 pm CET

How to Achieve a Clean Ocean in the Southern Ocean Region

This Activity is an opportunity to discuss how to maintain a Clean Southern Ocean by strengthening links between science, industry & policy in order to develop techniques suitable for polar conditions & activities for solving gaps in knowledge/data.

18 November, 6:00 – 7:40 am CET

Remould: Improving Plastics Management in Asia Pacific

A practical workshop that will draw on the Plastic Management Index - the first attempt to quantify plastic management practices at a country level - to provide policymakers and stakeholders with tools to improve national plastic management efforts.

18 November, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm CET

Inspiring Science and Society to tackle Marine Litter

The Marine Litter challenge must prompt scientists, governments, industry, environmental groups and citizens to take urgent action and to work together. This webinar aims to strengthen those interactions, contributing to a Joint Strategy.

18 November, 9:00 – 9:30 am CET

OPUS Whales. Do you copy?

Opus Whales explores the invisible threat of underwater anthropogenic noise from an artistic slant. A brief experience to empathize with creatures that rely on sound to survive.

18 November, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm CET

Stockholm Convention on POPs: 20 Years of Action

This webinar is a general guide to the current implementation of the Stockholm Convention regarding the problem of POPs pollution and prospects of further actions within the framework of the UN Ocean Program.

18 November, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm CET

Toward a Clean and Sustainable Mediterranean Sea

This Satellite Activity aims to give voice to several Mediterranean experiences of tackling marine litter, looking at best practices between marine litter, its prevention and remediation, and highlighting programs implemented in Mediterranean areas.

18 November, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm CET and 10:00 – 11:00 pm CET

Uniting Maritime with Ocean Science for a Clean Ocean

3 hypotheses for a clean ocean: 1. Maritime activities can provide enablers for clean ocean science and research, 2.The shipping sector can be stimulated to support a clean ocean, 3.The opposite of a clean ocean will greatly impact shipping.

All Satellite Activities


7 – 8 JULY 2021


An inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean.

15 – 17 SEPTEMBER 2021


A predicted ocean where society has the capacity to understand current and future ocean conditions.

17 – 19 NOVEMBER 2021


A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and removed.

22 – 24 FEBRUARY 2022


A sustainably harvested and productive ocean ensuring the provision of food supply.

9 – 11 MARCH 2022


A healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are mapped and protected.

5 – 7 APRIL 2022


A safe ocean where people are protected from ocean hazards.

10 – 12 MAY 2022


An accessible ocean with good governance, open access to data, information and technologies.