Conference.09 Apr 2024, 9:30 CET

Catalyzing Source-to-Sea Synergies towards Healthy Rivers and a Healthy Ocean

As part of the Ocean Decade Conference, this satellite event aims to bring together freshwater and ocean communities to develop knowledge, build expertise and promote implementation of source-to-sea action. Join us for the interdisciplinary event connecting source-to-sea action and science.

Aerial view of the City of Barcelona with the Mediteranean sea in the background. The logo of the Ocean Decade Conference on a dark teal overlay

Learn from and engage with a diverse group of experts working to bridge the knowledge gaps between land, water and ocean, developing holistic solutions that accelerate action to counter climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

Experts will showcase how UN Ocean Science Decade programmes, such as Healthy Rivers Healthy Ocean (HRHO) and Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS), support source-to-sea initiatives. A discussion with the audience will conclude the event.

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Ocean Decade Conference - Satellite Event

  • Tuesday 9 April 2024
  • 09:30-11:00
  • Online and On-site
    Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM) Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37, Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Spain.


Event Description

The health of the ocean and its benefits to society are at risk, largely due to activities taking place far from its shores. Distant knowledge communities, fragmented governance and siloed approaches impede efforts to address the heavy burden upstream activities are putting on the ocean. This leads to devastating impacts on the ocean’s ecosystems and the vital services they provide.

Source-to-sea management is a holistic approach that recognizes the environmental, economic, and social linkages between land, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. It builds bridges across land, freshwater, coasts, and the ocean by bringing together upstream and downstream stakeholders across sectors to collaborate on managing healthy ecosystems and building resilient societies.

This event aims to bring together freshwater and ocean communities to develop knowledge, build expertise and promote implementation of source-to-sea action. The outcomes of this session will feed into endorsed programmes of the Ocean Decade, primarily the Healthy Rivers Healthy Ocean (HRHO) programme which aims to develop and implement systemic actions that take into account the interdependencies between the freshwater and ocean systems, to advance the achievement of SDG 6 and 14. It also aligns with the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability (OARS) programme, which seeks to foster the development of the science of ocean acidification including the impacts on marine life and sustainability of marine ecosystems in estuarine-coastal-open ocean environments.

To achieve this, the session will host experts from different contexts who will share their lessons learned from working across the silos that separate terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and ocean actors and taking coordinated action that benefit the entire source-to-sea system. Special attention is given to challenges of a science-based understanding of source-to-sea linkages that can overcome barriers to cross-sectoral policymaking and financing, as well as the achievement of the SDGs.

Register to attend the session online or on-site

Confirmed speakers of the event include:


  • Gustav Thungren, Project Manager at Water Cooperation & Diplomacy Department, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and Source-to-Sea Platform

Opening Remarks:

  • Alison Clausen, Programme Specialist IOC-UNESCO, Deputy Global Coordinator UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development


  • Amy Kenworthy, Project Manager, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML)
  • Dimitris Faloutsos, Deputy Regional Coordinator Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med)


  • Meike van Ginneken, Water Envoy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands


  • Prof. Steve Widdecombe, Director of Science and Deputy Chief Executive, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • Dr. Isa Olalekan Elegbede, Lecturer at Department of Marine Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria
  • Cynthia Barzuna, Director of Ocean Action 2030 Coalition, World Resources Institute
  • Rubens Filho, Executive Manager of Environmental Affairs, Global Compact Network Brazil

Closing Remarks:

  • Peter Thomson, UN Ambassador for the Ocean


  • Generate knowledge and transfer it to action for advancing source-to-sea management.
  • Enhance understanding of the significant role of upstream activities in declining ocean health.
  • Strengthen partnerships between ocean and freshwater communities.
  • Assess barriers to adopting source-to-sea perspectives in science, policy, and decision making and explore responses to address such obstacles.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Advancement in source-to-sea management across different contexts to restore and protect ocean health.
  • Increased awareness of the impact of upstream activities on ocean health.
  • Improved collaboration between ocean and freshwater communities.
  • Identification of solutions to overcome barriers in adopting source-to-sea perspectives.
  • Enhanced engagement for the wellbeing of the ocean.
  • Outcomes taken forward into endorsed Ocean Decade programs HRHO and OARS.
  • Dissemination of outcomes through the Action Platform for Source-to-Sea Management, a network of over 40 organizations dedicated to promoting, implementing, and building expertise on source-to-sea management

This satellite event is organized by

Source2Sea Platform
Action Platform for Source-to-Sea Management
Global Water Partnership logo
Global Water Partnership
Logo of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
SIWI logo 2021 - dark blue circle with light blue wave on top. SIWI written on the right
Stockholm International Water Institute

The Ocean Decade Conference

The Ocean Decade Conference will take place on 10-12 April 2024 in Barcelona, Spain, with the theme ‘Delivering the science we need for the ocean we want’.

Learn more