Equity of our future oceans

Sea ice off Iqaluit, Nunavut.

Sea ice off Iqaluit, Nunavut.

A team of Indigenous, local community representative and science authors have teamed to review how the equity of the future oceans might look like. The results are out today, in a new article.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aspire to a society where ways to improve inclusivity and diversity of equity are actively explored. Here, we examine how equity is considered in a suite of papers that explored possible sustainable futures for the oceans, and mapped out pathways to achieve these futures. Our analysis revealed that a large range of equity issues were recognised and considered, in outcome-based (i.e. distributive), process-based (i.e. procedural) and concept (i.e. contextual) dimensions. However, often, the equity problem was not explicitly stated.

Rather it was implied through the action pathway identified to move towards a more sustainable future, highlighting that reducing inequity is interlinked with improving sustainability. Based on these findings, we reflect on the way equity is conceptualised and considered within this work as well as futures science for the oceans more broadly. A key lesson learnt is that science and knowledge production are immediate areas where we can work to improve equity.

We can build capacity to understand and include equity issues. We can develop mechanisms to be more inclusive and diverse. We can also critically reflect on our own practices to fundamentally challenge how we work and think in the space of marine science research.

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