IOC-UNESCO organises a Summer School in Portugal, in the city of Matosinhos, with the aim of fostering the Generation Ocean


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From the 10th to the 14th of July, IOC-UNESCO will organise the Summer School “Ocean Literacy & Collaboration” in Portugal specifically designed for young master’s and doctoral students from the Atlantic Region. There will be five days dedicated to studying and developing projects related to the ocean and promoting sustainability Blue Economy based in the city of Matosinhos, Portugal.

With the aim of promoting Ocean Literacy and the safeguard of the marine environment particularly among youth, the European Commission and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO have launched the EU4Ocean coalition and the Youth4Ocean Forum. The event will take place in the framework of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). As part of the collective effort, the Summer School “Ocean Literacy & Collaboration” will take place in Matosinhos, Portugal from 10th to the 14th of July. The event was specifically designed for international youth from international master’s and doctoral courses from the Atlantic Region. The event is organized by IOC-UNESCO in collaboration with the European Commission and with the support of CEIIA (Centro de Engenharia e Desenvolvimento), +Atlantic CoLAB, and Matosinhos City Council.

Francesca Santoro_Senior Programme Officer per IOC-UNESCO e responsabile a livello mondiale dell’Ocean Literacy per il Decennio del Mare
Francesca Santoro_Senior Programme Officer per IOC-UNESCO e responsabile a livello mondiale dell’Ocean Literacy per il Decennio del Mare

The Summer School is an event designed to foster collaboration and networking amongst youth and support participants to develop new skills, contributing to the creation of an Ocean Generation, aware of the challenges that the ocean faces. During the five days in Matosinhos, speakers and international experts will intervene including Francesca Santoro (Senior Program Officer IOC-UNESCO and global manager of the Ocean Literacy program), Teresa Coelho (Secretary of State for Fisheries, Government of Portugal), José Maria Costa (Secretary of the State of the Sea, Government of Portugal), Luisa Maria Neves Salgueiro (President of the Municipality of Matosinhos), Marta Pontes (Councilwoman of the Municipality of Matosinhos), Luís Pinheiro (President of the Portuguese Committee of the IOC-UNESCO), Raquel Costa and Patrícia Conceição (UNESCO Blue School), Massimiliano de Martin (Counselor of Urbanism and Environment of the Municipality of Venice) and Cristina Gabetti (Journalist and sustainability advisor).

During the Summer School students will have the opportunity to deeply engage in workshops, interactive visits, and participate in sessions with political representatives and local innovative businesses. These activities are specifically designed to enhance youth collaborative skills, co-design, transdisciplinarity, promote empathy as well to improve participants communication abilities. Furthermore, student’s will have the chance to expand their knowledge about various aspects of the ocean, ranging from biodiversity to the blue economy, food from the ocean and emerging technologies. Topics are an integral part of the Blue Schools initiative, which aims to support schools to introduce ocean concepts to school curricula, with the ultimate goal of building a sustainable future. The main goals of the Summer School, in general, is to mentor and stimulate youth to develop projects directy linked to the ocean with a specific emphasis on promoting a sustainable and resilient Blue Economy. The event will use concrete case studies of a Matosinhos as a framework for discussion.

Matosinhos, a coastal city located in the North of Portugal, maintains deep maritime ties that evolves cultural, economic and social aspects. Historically recognised as the Portuguese largest fishing port, Matosinhos has witnessed the emergence of numerous canning industries over the last few years. In the early 2000s, the Municipality embarked on an ambitious endeavor to revitalize the urban facilities and seafront areas, resulting in the creation of a pedestrian pathway and recreational activities around the coast. Such efforts have supported the aim to foster citizens connection to the sea.


Matosinhos is distinguished by the maritime port and cruise terminal, both structures that have significantly contributed to the regions growth. Matosinhos also serves as a hub for important technological and engineering research centers, including CeiiA, CiiMAR, and UP-TEC affiliated with the University of Porto.

Recently, in 2022, the Municipality committed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 85% aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Other sustainable plans of Matosinhos include the establishment of a Internatinoal Centre on the former Matosinhos refinary, the aim is to focus on the development of Blue Biotechnology, driving Portugal to the firefront of sustainable and transformative economic models.

“The Municipality of Matosinhos stands out for its role in the development of a sustainable blue economy: therefore it represents the perfect location and a case study for Summer School students, who will thus be able to discover and explore the challenges and opportunities that the ecological transition offers,” explains Francesca Santoro, IOC-UNESCO Senior Program Officer and Global Ocean Literacy Program Manager. “We continue to foster our outreach work at the heart of the Ocean Decade starting with young people, encouraging youth to take care of the ocean and create an Ocean Generation, giving them the opportunity to network and get in touch with experts from all over the world. the Europe. The education it is essential to achieve and implement the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations 2030 Agenda; considering that only about 25% of the ocean floor is actually mapped”.


The UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), created in 1960 as a UNESCO body with functional autonomy, is the only competent organization for marine sciences within the United Nations system. The main objective of the Commission is to promote international cooperation and coordinate research programs, the development of oceanographic services and capacity building, in order to better understand the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal zones, apply this knowledge to the management improvement, sustainable development, protection of the marine environment and decision-making processes of its Member States. In addition, IOC-UNESCO is recognized by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the competent international organization in the areas of marine scientific research (Part III) and marine technology transfer (Part XIV).

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