Virtual Oceans Action Day 2020

As part of the celebration of the life, work, and legacy of Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain, founder and President of the Global Ocean Forum, a virtual Oceans Action Day will be held in her honor on 20 November 2020. Biliana firmly believed in the importance of addressing the oceans and climate nexus in mitigating and adapting to climate change. She led the wide dissemination of information targeting decision-makers at the UNFCCC and beyond emphasizing the undeniable evidence of the importance of oceans, the central role the oceans play in regulating the climate system, and the dire consequences of inaction, especially through the organization of Oceans Action Days at the COPs and through the ROCA Initiative’s annual reports on Assessing Progress on Ocean and Climate Action.

So much has happened since we held the momentous Oceans Action Day at the UNFCCC COP25 in Madrid when we looked forward to 2020 with so much hope and expectations given the oceans outcomes of COP25 and the cascade of oceanrelated events slated for 2020. In one fell swoop, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to abandon, shelve, or revise our ambitious plans for 2020 and that is why we are holding a virtual Oceans Action Day 2020 as a non-COP preview of Oceans Action Day at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, fingers crossed.

In addition to taking stock of progress on oceans and climate issues towards UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow, the event will capture the outcomes of the discussions to take place at the Ocean and Coastal Zones Thematic Group Race-to-Zero November Dialogues under the Marrakech Partnership on 12 November 2020. It will also provide a platform for climate and ocean leaders to present their visions and ambitions towards the virtual UNFCCC SBSTA ocean and climate change dialogue to consider how to strengthen adaptation and mitigation action to be held from 2 to 3 December 2020.

Moreover, VOAD 2020 is intended to be an occasion where panelists share stories of discovering how stakeholders in the global oceans and climate community are responding boldly to Covid-19 and its disastrous impacts. VOAD 2020 aims to bring us together in communal learning for survival and inspire us to greater action in the ocean climate action pathway to zero emissions. It is an opportunity for us to: 1) refocus interest in our current efforts to combat climate change with a renewed motivation; and 2) stimulate ideas for partnership and other collaborative initiatives.

VOAD 2020 is being organized by the Global Ocean Forum; Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan; Oceano Azul Foundation, Portugal; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO; Ocean and Climate Platform; Conservation International; and International Union for Conservation of Nature, in association with the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action.

Video Recording of VOAD 2020


Dr. Miriam Balgos, Officer-in-Charge, Global Ocean Forum (
Dr. Miko Maekawa, Senior Research Fellow, Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan (