Ocean-climate communications: Priorities and tips for the sector

Top tips and resources for effective ocean-climate communications, following a UN Ocean Conference event hosted by Communications Inc and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch).
25 aug 2022

Many of the solutions for ocean health are at our fingertips, but current actions by governments, businesses and individuals aren’t meeting the scale or urgency of the problem.

At the UN Ocean Conference, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and Communications Inc jointly hosted an official side event: “Why are we not saving the ocean? Mainstreaming influence and engagement for ocean-climate solutions”.

Through panel discussions, case studies and breakouts, a group of around 60 funders, NGOs and communicators considered how ocean-climate action can be accelerated through smart, cross-sector influencing and engagement.

We explored how to change the public ‘mood music’ for broad awareness of ocean health and a social mandate for action – and why this is so important for achieving impact, but why it is often overlooked and underfunded.

This report summarises the shared calls for action and collaboration that emerged at the event thanks to the engaged and generous participation of attendees. It highlights:

Opportunities for the ocean sector – how the sector can shift the public ‘mood music’ together by:

  1. Creating a social mandate for change
  2. Investing in long-term strategy, with commensurate support
  3. Ensuring better representation and reach
  4. Developing the research
  5. Creating an architecture that incorporates evidence and action

Opportunities for action and collaboration – what the sector can do in everyday work to achieve more impactful ocean-climate communications, including:

  • Use the evidence
  • Democratise
  • Align
  • Think big
  • Think beyond

Resources and tools for effective ocean communication – a short library of evidence-based guides and toolkits that can help practitioners communicate about the ocean.

The Foundation recognises that protecting the ocean and restoring biodiversity is critical to human health and prosperity and effective climate action. The UN Ocean Conference was an important moment to encourage public engagement and greater action for the ocean.

At the UK Branch, since 2013 we have focused on communicating the ocean’s value to influence long-term change. We have invested in new communications research, messaging, and tools, and have strengthened sector networks across the UK and internationally. Our Valuing the Ocean programme is shaped by the belief that we need an ecosystem of organisations with different skills and interests working well together if we are to bring about the scale of change required for ocean protection and climate action.

Read Report


Image: Hurricane Sandy aftermath in a coastal community in Haiti. Credit: Logan Abassi / UN Photo. From Climate Visuals library, a project supported by the Foundation to improve evidence-based climate photojournalism.

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