Case Studies

Ocean Decade Heritage Network

Integrating ocean science, heritage, and public engagement through the Cultural Heritage Framework Programme

Grant awarded: £373,680

Timeframe: 2022–2026



The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) was declared in 2017 by the UN General Assembly with the vision 'the science we need for the ocean we want’. ‘The ocean we want’ comprises seven outcomes, including ‘a safe ocean where life and livelihoods are protected from ocean-related hazards’. The critical role of maritime heritage in achieving this outcome was recognised early, with the Cultural Heritage Framework Programme (CHFP), led by the Ocean Decade Heritage Network (ODHN), being among the first of the ‘Actions’ to receive formal endorsement.

CHFP is the first, UN-level, global platform bringing maritime heritage (300 members to date) together with ocean science and policy stakeholders. This translates into activities such as showcasing integration of heritage and ocean science; facilitating co-design; managing data and knowledge; developing capacity; enabling greater diversity and representation; encouraging ocean literacy, public engagement, and outreach; and evaluating impact.


Heritage enables learning from the past and a powerful means of engaging people with the ocean’s future, which aligns closely with Lloyd's Register Foundation’s prioritising of ‘ocean citizenship’ in its Foresight Review of Ocean Safety, and with the vision of its Heritage and Education Centre to mobilise maritime heritage in support of a safe and sustainable ocean economy. Heritage allows us to understand long-term human behaviour, the relationship between people and the marine environment over time, evolving social views, to redress sea blindness, and increase ocean literacy. It is a resource that can help us appreciate our current situation; it is also a medium through which we address the future, develop resilience, and motivate sustainable adaptation.

CHFP is working towards the integration of heritage and ocean science, encouraging effective and efficient communication between cultural heritage stakeholders and marine science professionals, policy and decision makers, paying particular attention to the needs of traditional communities and the general public. As a result, other Decade Actions relating to cultural heritage will have greater overall coherence over the duration of the Ocean Decade.

Lloyd's Register Foundation (LRF) support of the CHFP will enable it to facilitate the Ocean Decade to deliver its seven outcomes, which includes a 'safe ocean'. As a result, a step-change in the safety and sustainability of the oceans is expected by 2030. For LRF, supporting CHFP also provides a means of embedding cultural heritage into ocean policy, which is essential for LRF’s ambitions to co-ordinate safety challenges across ocean sectors, infrastructures, and communities.


Since the beginning of the programme, the Secretariat have been recruited and the provision of dedicated digital platforms is in progress. A series of activities have commenced, including the provision and sourcing of technical advice for stakeholders (e.g., specialist knowledge on archaeological periods, regions, themes, methodologies, etc.

CHFP is also organising a series of webinars on specific research topics (e.g. potentially polluting wrecks, indigenous and traditional knowledge) and themes such as capacity building, data management, and citizen science.

The programme will host co-design workshops to encourage the development of interdisciplinary concepts into viable, effective Decade Actions. The training workshops will also address imbalances in gender, generational and geographic diversity.

Find out more Cultural Heritage Framework Programme – Ocean Decade

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