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SKLMP Members participated in the 2nd United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Conference

The 2nd United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade) Conference, jointly organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the Government of Spain, took place in Barcelona from April 10th to 12th, 2024. Distinguished members of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Pollution (SKLMP) from the City University of Hong Kong made notable contributions to the conference. Prof. Kenneth Mei Yee Leung, Chair Professor of the Department of Chemistry and Director of the SKLMP, Dr. Chong Chen, a postdoctoral researcher at SKLMP, and Ms. Evonne Tan, a PhD student at SKLMP, actively participated in the conference. Their presence highlighted the laboratory’s commitment to advancing ocean science and sustainable development.


During the Ocean Decade Week from April 8th to 12th, SKLMP took the lead in organizing a satellite event titled “International Workshop on Co-design of the Global Estuaries Monitoring (GEM) Programme”. This workshop, held on April 8th at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, attracted over 50 professionals, with 13 attending in person and 39 joining via Zoom. Esteemed members of the GEM steering committee, including Prof. Bryan W. Brooks, Prof. Martina Doblin, and Prof. Xinhong Wang, actively participated in the workshop. The workshop commenced with an overview of the GEM Programme presented by Prof. Kenneth Mei Yee Leung, the Principal Investigator of the GEM Programme. Subsequently, Ms. Demilade T. Adedipe, a GEM team member from Nigeria and SKLMP PhD student, delivered a comprehensive review on pharmaceutical residues in global estuarine waters over the past two decades. Dr. Chong Chen, the GEM Programme manager, presented the latest research progress and future prospects of the programme. The workshop focused on the co-design for the second phase of the GEM Programme and engaged stakeholders in fruitful discussions to provide preliminary solutions for global estuarine pollution. Finally, the GEM research team, with the Peace Land Foundation, initiated a global estuaries sampling campaign.


The latest research achievements of the GEM Programme, which is endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and led by Prof. Kenneth Mei Yee Leung, were also prominently showcased at the “Voyaging Through the Vast Seas: China’s Maritime Technology and Culture Exhibition”. The exhibition, held on April 9th at the Barcelona Maritime Museum, was co-organized by the National Maritime Museum of China and the United Nations Ocean Decade Collaborative Center on Ocean-Climate Nexus and Coordination Amongst Decade Implementing Partners. It aimed to highlight China’s maritime exploration journey and its significant contributions since joining the United Nations Ocean Decade, promoting marine culture with Chinese characteristics to the world. The GEM Programme, as one of the five endorsed Ocean Decade Action Programmes in China, was featured in the “Ocean Decade and China’s Progress” section, showcasing the ongoing development of a global estuaries monitoring network and related achievements by the research team.


As the attendees stated, “Participating in the 2nd United Nations Ocean Decade Conference has provided us with valuable opportunities to exchange knowledge and collaborate with international experts and scholars.” Through our involvement in the GEM Programme and our contributions to the conference, we have further solidified our laboratory’s significant role in advancing the objectives of the United Nations Ocean Decade.


The GEM Programme, which currently involves more than 120 scientists from 55 countries and nearly 180 registered estuaries, underscores its commitment to reducing global marine pollution and achieving cleaner and safer estuarine ecosystems. The active engagement of SKLMP members in the conference and associated events has showcased their dedication to driving impactful research and promoting sustainable development in the field of ocean science.

Figure 1 Prof. Kenneth Mei Yee Leung, Principal Investigator of the GEM Programme, provides an overview of the programme during the workshop.

Figure 2 Ms. Demilade T. Adedipe, GEM team member, presents a review on pharmaceutical residues in global estuarine waters.

Figure 3 Dr. Chong Chen, GEM Programme Manager, shares the latest research progress and future prospects of the programme.

Figure 4 Members of the GEM steering committee engage in discussions with professionals attending the workshop.

Figure 5 On-site view of the “International Workshop on Co-design of the Global Estuaries Monitoring (GEM) Programme”.

Figure 6 The GEM Programme showcased at the China Maritime Technology and Culture Exhibition.

Figure 7 Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, attends the 2nd United Nations Ocean Decade Conference.

Figure 8 Prof. Kenneth Mei Yee Leung (1st on the right) poses with professionals in attendance.

Figure 9 Dr. Chong Chen (1st on the right) poses with Mr. Peter Thomson (1st on the left), United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean.

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