This Decade is not the first Decade to take on the challenge of ocean science. In 1971-1980, earlier generations embarked on the International Decade of Ocean Exploration. As part of that Decade, ground breaking, large-scale collaborative research projects occurred and many of its initiatives, such as the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, permanently changed the face of ocean exploration. However, one crucial difference remains between the two Decades: in the 1970s, the aim was to generate the “science we wanted”. In today’s world, we no longer have that luxury, and the current Decade is resolutely focused on the “science we need”.
The Implementation Plan for such a major undertaking as the Decade cannot be, and is not prescriptive. Rather it provides a framework for transformational action that will build on existing achievements and deliver action across geographies, sectors, disciplines, and generations. I hope you, the reader and a Decade stakeholder, will share the overall strategic vision and approach of the Decade as described in the Implementation Plan. With your engagement and your support, the impact of the Decade will be much bigger than the sum of the individual components and together we will be able to create the science we need for the ocean we want.