The joint announcement was namely made by Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, and Dr. Genvieve Béchard, Hydrographer General of Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada, through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

A WMU team will undertake the research with a focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women in the conduct and delivery of ocean scientific research, in particular in relation to fisheries, oceanography, hydrography and climate change.

In support of the project, the Government of Canada is also sponsoring a WMU Ph.D. Scholarship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programme on Gender Empowerment in support of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development through research, education and capacity building.

The programme aims to promote gender equality and empowerment of women in the conduct of ocean science, as well as gender equality in the regulatory and ocean science governance systems that coordinate, manage and mediate ocean science.

This research is motivated by the fact that ocean science related fields as well as regulatory and ocean governance systems play a crucial role in advancing specific targets under the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Against this background, WMU is launching a Ph.D. scholarship and Post-Doctoral fellowship programme with a focus on research proposals that canvass novel policy and scientific approaches on gender empowerment across the following thematic areas:

  • Role of Gender Equality & Empowerment of Women in the Conduct and Delivery of Ocean Scientific Research;
  • Ocean Science Governance Systems; and
  • Ocean Science Diplomacy.

Closing date for submission of applications is 30 June 2019.

This comes as the United Nations proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) with a view to reversing the cycle of decline in ocean health.

The Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO will coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process.

It is recognised that the aims of the Decade, including improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean, can only be achieved with equal participation from both women and men.

Canada is a leader in ocean affairs and is committed to international ocean science efforts, including the implementation of the Oceans Protection Plan 2016.

In 2018, WMU inaugurated the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (GOI), which aims to contribute to the implementation of Goal 14 (Life Below Water) of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular with equal participation of both women and men in support of Goal 5 focused on gender equality.

The government of Canada is actively committed to supporting the multidisciplinary work of the GOI in the domain of gender empowerment for sustainable development.