UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)



 “The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science will help to build a shared information system, based on trustworthy, scientific data, from all parts of the world’s ocean.”  (Professor Peter M. Haugan, Chair of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO).


The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to mobilise ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The outcomes of this project are:


        A clean ocean                                                           

        A healthy and resilient ocean

        A productive ocean

        A predicted ocean

        A safe ocean

        An accessible ocean

        An inspiring and engaging ocean


Part of the "Science We Need for the Ocean We Want" (UNESCO, 2020) is The Nippon Foundation - GEBCO (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) Seabed 2030 Project.



What is Seabed 2030?


The Nippon Foundation - GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project is a collaborative project to inspire the complete mapping of the world’s ocean floor by 2030, and to compile all bathymetric (depth) data into the freely-available GEBCO Ocean Map. The South African Navy Hydrographic Office (SANHO), in collaboration with the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO), supports the GEBCO Seabed 2030 initiative and its vision to fully chart the world’s oceans by 2030.


Seabed 2030 aspires to empower the world to make policy decisions, use the ocean sustainably, and undertake scientific research that is informed by a detailed understanding of the global ocean floor.


Why is Seabed 2030 Important?


                Bathymetry data is an essential ocean observation

                Seabed mapping data has broad use and value

                Only ~20% of the ocean has been mapped with direct observation

                Mapping the entire ocean is a massive task that can only be achieved through cooperation and coordination


Status of mapping the water around Southern Africa (GEBCO, 2020)


How data will be collected.


In light of RSA’s commitment to develop and support the Blue Economy (Operation PHAKISA), the SANHO, in support of the Seabed 2030 initiative, has agreed to collaborate with the IHO in charting the seafloor around Southern Africa. One hundred (100) data loggers were made available to the SANHO for deployment on Vessels of Opportunity (VOO).



In order to achieve this goal, the Seabed 2030 project is taking various approaches. One of which is Crowdsourced Bathymetry

(CSB). Around the world, hundreds of thousands of cargo vessels, fishing boats, cruise liners, private yachts and surveying ships are daily already at sea. These VOO’s can effectively become an international fleet of research vessels, collecting and donating bathymetric data to Seabed 2030. The data is provided to a local hydrographic authority, such as the SANHO, for processing, storage and distribution of bathymetric datasets to the Seabed 2030 project. The SANHO, as the national custodian of bathymetric data and the official charting authority for the RSA, will be responsible for the managing and processing of CSB datasets.



For further information regarding the Seabed 2030 Project, please visit the GEBCO Seabed 2030 website at https://seabed2030.org/, or alternatively, contact the SANHO for more information.