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University of Portsmouth Professor named UNESCO Chair

Plastic policy @ Portsmouth

3 min read Partner content

Professor Pierre Failler, Director of the Centre for Blue Governance at the University of Portsmouth, has pledged to address critical gaps in the governance of the world’s oceans in the pursuit of a sustainable ocean economy, after being named UNESCO Chair in Ocean Governance.

The Chair will help meet the relevant challenges for the successful implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development through new and existing research projects.  Professor Failler will focus on the dissemination of new ideas, training in other countries and information and documentation on ocean sciences and governance. This includes the setting up of annual international ocean governance workshops, seminars and conferences.

Professor Failler, who is Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Business and Law, plans to focus on innovative interdisciplinary methods, approaches and expertise with a view to guiding a sustainable ocean economy.  He also plans to establish a strong network with countries in the Global South and other UNESCO Chairs, acting as a hub for information and connecting global stakeholders including non-governmental organisations, the private sector and government agencies harnessing higher education innovations and information and communication technologies

Professor Failler says, “I am delighted to be awarded the UNESCO Chair in Ocean Governance at the University of Portsmouth. The Chair means that we will be working in close partnership with UNESCO officials to improve the governance of the world’s oceans.  There are many challenges to overcome during the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development.  It is an opportunity to bring about the systemic change that is so necessary to safeguard the future of our oceans”. 

“At the moment intentions are good but too fragmented.  It’s time for countries and science to stop working in isolation and work together.”

This new position builds on the University of Portsmouth’s reputation and ability to be able to influence global policy on sustainability issues.  Through the Universities' Revolution Plastics initiative led by Professor Steve Fletcher the University is leading the way in finding a solution to the global plastic waste crisis.  

Professor Anne Anderson, Vice-Chair & Non-Executive Director for Higher Education, UK National Commission for UNESCO said, "My huge congratulations to Professor Pierre Failler and his colleagues on the award of the new UNESCO Chair in Ocean Governance at the University of Portsmouth.

I hope that the establishment of this new UK UNESCO Chair will enhance Professor Failler’s work with UNESCO and help to create long-lasting and fruitful international partnerships in ocean governance during this crucial UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development."


The UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN (UNESCO’s University Twinning and Networking scheme) Network Programme now comprises 24 UK experts in the fields of education, science, information, culture and communication. The programme works with partners in the UK and globally to deliver UNESCO’s role of building a more peaceful and equitable world.

As mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO will coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process, inviting the global ocean community to plan for the next ten years in ocean science and technology to deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want. 


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