The WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (Global Ocean Institute) was officially inaugurated on 8 May. The new Institute will act as an independent focal point for ocean related dialogue and capacity-building. The celebrations were marked by a gathering of over 200 distinguished speakers and invitees from over 50 countries around the globe.
The Global Ocean Institute is founded on the vision to bring to life a convergence platform where policy makers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics, and representatives of civil society can meet to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources for the sustainable development of present and future generations. Established in partnership with The Nippon Foundation and with generous support from the Governments of Canada, Norway, Sweden and the City of Malmö, the Institute will compliment the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) current and future engagement in the broader sphere of ocean governance.
In her welcoming remarks, WMU President, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, thanked The Nippon Foundation and respective donors for their generosity to make the Institute a reality, and the City of Malmö for their ongoing support of the University since it was founded in 1983 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). “In this, the 35th anniversary year of the World Maritime University, it is fitting that we come together to celebrate this extraordinary commitment, and concrete response, to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular, Goal 4 focused on Education and Goal 14 that is focused on conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, “ she stated. “ As the IMO’s preeminent postgraduate academic institution focused on maritime and ocean education, the new Global Ocean Institute will thrive as a centre of excellence to advance ocean research, capacity-building on global ocean policies that are cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary and trans-regional in scope.”
Mr. Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General and Chancellor of WMU, highlighted the Institute’s unique convergence concept that will contribute to the achievement of Goal 14. “To combat the adverse effects of human actions and to promote ocean sustainability, innovative solutions that prevent and mitigate detrimental impacts to marine environments are essential,” he said, adding “The Global Ocean Institute will further WMU’s distinguished legacy of educating maritime and oceans leaders who have the knowledge and responsibility to affect change in their home countries and who will contribute to the global conservation and sustainable use of the ocean.”
The Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Dr. Yohei Sasakawa, acknowledged the global impact of WMU in maritime and oceans capacity building, particularly in developing countries. “The Nippon Foundation has been a long-standing supporter of the maritime industry working to achieve a sustainable ocean that we can pass on to the next generation. To date, the Nippon Foundation has granted fellowships to over 600 students from more than 60 countries and the holders of The Nippon Foundation Professional Chairs have educated thousands of WMU alumni,” he said. “We are pleased to see that WMU is continuing to advance its mission, establishing itself as an educational and research institution that can address ocean issues not only from the perspective of the maritime industry but also most importantly today, in support of the long-term sustainability of our Oceans.”
Representing the host country Sweden, Ms. Isabella Lövin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, remarked on Sweden’s support for UN SDG 14 and that Sweden is proud to host the University. ”With the new Global Ocean Institute, the World Maritime University will not only continue to be a center of excellence in maritime and ocean education, training and research but also a hub and meeting place bringing people and knowledge from policy, industry, academia, law and civil society together to contribute to the implementation of SDG 14 and the broader 2030 Agenda. I’m proud that Sweden hosts these institutions,” she stated.
H.E. Heather Grant, Canadian Ambassador to Sweden, announced that Canada would contribute 500,000 CAD over the next four years to support the Institute. “Canada is pleased to make this contribution that will help protect our ocean and be directed towards the recruitment and involvement of women scientists to support gender equity in oceans research, a key priority for Canada,” she stated.
Further remarks in support of the newly inauguration Global Ocean Institute were made by H.E. Jun Yamazaki, Japanese Ambassador to Sweden, Mr. Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Special Representative for the Oceans, Mr. Reinhard Klingen, Director-General Waterways and Shipping, Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Germany and Ms. Katrin Stjernfeldt-Jammeh, Mayor of Malmö.
The official ribbon cutting for the Institute, which is located next to the WMU headquarters, was done by Mr. Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General and WMU Chancellor, Ms. Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and President Doumbia-Henry.
At the UN Ocean Conference in June last year, WMU registered a commitment that aims to contribute to the implementation of Goal 14 by training a new generation of maritime leaders through the delivery of specialist post-graduate educational programmes in Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management, as well as through cutting-edge oceans research, among others. The Global Ocean Institute is a concrete response to that commitment. Its impact-oriented research will work across the sectoral divides in ocean affairs, engage in forward-looking dialogue among representatives of governments, ocean industries, research communities, civil society and other academic institutions, and produce policy and regulatory advice on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and beyond.