Sustainability Dialogue - are the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Principles effective in raising awareness about ocean-related issues?


The sustainability dialogues are set up to give a boost to interdisciplinary work between scholars at the UU. We like to do that based on current themes and social issues. For this, we facilitate a platform, our Sustainability Dialogue, which will take place every other month. During the session, a theme is highlighted from different disciplines, followed by a discussion. 

The UNESCO principles of Ocean Literacy describe the 7 essential principles about the ocean that all people should be aware of. They were carefully developed with the purpose that these principles form the minimal level of understanding that is necessary to comprehend and protect the (water) planet we live on. We would like to invite a diverse group - ranging from natural to political scientist, communicators and practitioners - to have an open discussion on the implementation and effectiveness of these principles in the Netherlands.


15h30 - Introduction to the Ocean Literacy Principles

Together with Erik van Sebille, professor in oceanography and public engagement, we will discuss the concept of “ocean literacy” and shortly address the seven UNESCO principles of Ocean Literacy.

15h45 - Keynote – how do you film the ocean?

In late 2019, Janouk Kelderman (host) and Mike Warmels (director) started developing a five part series on oceans for “Klokhuis”, the most prominent children’s educational television series for well over 38 years. A quick search through Klokhuis’ database led to a startling conclusion: oceans had never been a topic! The North Sea? Yes. Space? Yes. The odd marine animal? Yes. Far away planets? Yes. But the oceans as a whole? Never! Time to set the record straight... Janouk and Mike will show clips from the series that aired in 2021, filmed in the Netherlands, the Caribbean and the Azores, and explain how they tackled their main concern: how do you film the ocean? And what are you going to say about such a huge topic in less than 50 minutes in total?

16h00 - Plenary discussion

During the plenary discussion we aim to collectively explore the application of the ocean literacy principles within the Dutch context, evaluating their efficacy in raising awareness about pressing ocean-related issues. Moreover, we will examine the comprehensiveness and consensus on the content of these principles, comparing top-down approaches with bottom-up initiatives such as the KlimaatHelpdesk. The conversation will be initiated by pitches from our guests:

  • Sytske van der Laan and Lois Douma from Wavemakers United will stress the importance of involving local communities for effective action. Wavemakers United has the vision to address critical issues surrounding water and sustainability through education, awareness, youth involvement, innovation, job access, advocacy, and enhancing local frameworks.
  • Remco Schaap en Tosca Tamis from Scholen aan Zee share how they implement knowledge on the ocean in class.
  • Maxence Menthon (PhD candidate in paleoclimatology and glaciology) is the national coordinator of FRESK. He will share how they create a network of people that is growing exponentially who can pass on high quality climate education in order to reach a social tipping point that will help guide us to a low carbon world.
  • Daan Reijnders (PhD candidate in physical oceanography) shares his perspective on the KlimaatHelpdesk, a platform that provides peer-reviewed answers to climate-related questions posed by society.

16h30 Breakout session

In smaller groups we will dive deeper in questions like;

  • How do you think these 7 principles will contribute to ocean literacy?
  • Who do you think should be reached by these 7 ocean literacy principles?
  • How could/should ocean literacy be developed beyond the creation of this principles?
  • What activities could be done by our institutions to foster ocean literacy?

17h00 Wrap up and drinks


We hope to welcome you on May 23rd for an insightful and enriching afternoon!

Start date and time
End date and time
Johanna Westerdijkkamer, Academiegebouw

Please register via this form