New and old members of the ODK. January 2024

The German Ocean Decade Committee (ODK) aims to publicize the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in Germany, to support its implementation in Germany and to act as a link between national and international activities.

The committee works on a voluntary basis: Up to 15 members are appointed for a period of three years. The members come from all important stakeholder groups, in particular science, business, non-governmental organizations, administration/politics and foundations. Committed individuals can nominate themselves and are selected by a panel. 

Current members

Antje Boetius

Polar and deep-sea researcher and Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology and MARUM University Bremen: "My aim is to actively act as a link between national and international activities and stakeholders. By proposing a regional program in the Southern Ocean / Antarctic, we will strengthen the international impact of the Decade. Communicating and networking the diversity of national activities is important to me."

Stefan Bülow
Research vessel owner, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the German Society for Marine Research: "The ocean is the most important, but at the same time the least explored part of the world. With my involvement in the UN Ocean Decade and my new Sea Experience project, I want to make a concrete contribution to changing this more quickly. Marine and climate sciences and the field of marine technology should receive better support."
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Head of Partnership and Sustainability, Team Malizia: "As a member of the committee, I look forward to further deepening the social discourse on the importance of the ocean, but also to taking concrete action: We need projects, promotion and networking across social groups and sectors such as education, business and civil society. Ocean protection is not an option, it is a necessity."

Alexis Katechakis

Marine biologist and sustainability consultant: "If the oceans aren't doing well, we can't do well. Healthy and productive oceans are the basis of life for us all and a prerequisite for functioning economic systems. I would like to use my experience to help activate companies in particular to take a responsible approach to our oceans. SDG#14 and the goals of the UN Ocean Decade provide the framework for this."

Karin Kammann-Klippstein

Former President of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH): "Reconciling the use and protection of the oceans requires international cooperation in implementing research results, developing new technologies and strengthening society's awareness of threats to the oceans, including from land-based pollutant inputs."

Steffen Knodt

Board member of the Gesellschaft für Maritime Technik: "I have been committed to the protection and sustainable use of the oceans for ten years in the maritime industry and to this end I am involved in applied research on the board of the Gesellschaft für Maritime Technik GMT and support startup programs on the Blue Economy internationally."

Anne-Marie Melster

Curator and managing director of the interdisciplinary collective ARTPORT_MAKING WAVES, which is carrying out the Ocean Decade project WE ARE OCEAN: "The UN Ocean Decade is a brilliant initiative to raise awareness of the need to protect the ocean. The Decade provides a platform and space for stakeholders to work together on global solutions." 

Kim Nierobisch

Marine activist, political scientist and geographer: "The ocean is a guarantee of life for all of us. More ocean justice also means more justice for future generations. I have a background in natural sciences and social sciences and constantly try to combine both perspectives in order to develop concrete recommendations for action."

Marja Ritterfeld

Chair of the German chapter of EndPlasticSoup, an initiative of Rotary International: "We are using Rotary's global network to fight plastic pollution of the world's oceans, land and air through action, awareness and alliances. by 2050. The Ocean Decade is an important partner in this."

Susanne Stampf-Sedlitzky

Author and documentary and film producer: "A healthy ocean gives us food, jobs, regulates the climate, creates economic progress and provides healing well-being. We need the water! That's why we want to join forces to save the ocean. As a journalist, I have the desire, but also the responsibility, to inform the public about protecting the ocean, to raise awareness and, if possible, to mobilize them." 

Nuri Maxi Steinmann

marine biologist and grant manager at the Blue Action Fund, a foundation for international marine conservation: "In both national and international marine conservation, I believe that exchange and networking are key to successful and effective action. As a representative of the younger generation in Germany, I would like to help build bridges and promote creative and constructive exchange."

Martin Visbeck

Head of the Department of Physical Oceanography at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel: "The Ocean Decade gives us a unique opportunity to bring together knowledge from research and society and to develop innovative options for action for a more sustainable human-sea relationship."

Holger Watter

Mechanical engineer, marine engineer and professor at the Department of Energy and Life Science at Flensburg University of Applied Sciences:  "The Ocean Decade is guided by a holistic approach to protecting the world's oceans. My goal as an applied scientist is to bring the perspectives and needs from practice and for practice into the network."

Ute Wilhelmsen

Marine biologist and Head of Transfer at the German Marine Research Alliance: "A diverse and healthy marine environment is essential for our well-being and for our future. Only together as a society can we promote the sustainable management of the coasts, seas and oceans that is so crucial for all our lives. This is what I am committed to with my work."

Mitarbeiterportraits; Nadja Ziebarth; BUND Landesverband Bremen e.V.; Fotoshooting im Studio von BIRGIT WINGRAT FOTOGRAFIE; all rights reserved by © BIRGIT WINGRAT FOTOGRAFIE, 2021INFO:Bei Veröffentlichung der Bilder, in Printmedien (z.B. Presse, Bücher, Programm- u. Veranstaltungsankündigung; Interview etc.) oder im Internet beruflicher und privater Natur (Webseite, Social Networks, wie z.B. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) ist die Urheberin namentlich als © BIRGIT WINGRAT FOTOGRAFIE oder © Birgit Wingrat Fotografie entweder direkt am Bild stehend oder wenn dort nicht möglich an anderer Stelle, deutlich zuordbar, zu nennen.

Marine biologist and head of the BUND marine conservation office: "Healthy oceans are indispensable. None of the huge global challenges, such as the climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and habitats, and overall sustainable development, can be met without intact oceans. The UN Decade of Oceans can strengthen Sustainable Development Goal 14, focus science, and lead to more sustainable ocean policies."

Former members 2020-2023

Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research

Everwave Ltd.

Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research and Marine Research

University of Bremen

Former Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research

Mission Starfish 2030: Restore our Ocean and Waters

Senckenberg - Leibniz Institution for Biodiversity and Earth System Research

Focus of work

The members of the committee decide on focal points with which they support the implementation of the goals of the UN Decade of Oceans in Germany. The development takes place in thematic working groups, each of which is chaired by a committee member. These working groups are open to all interested parties.

Participants during a workshop on the future of the oceans. Photo: Gabriella Goncalles

Education, culture and society

The future development of our society, questions of climate change and the sustainable use of the ocean are burning issues for many young people. Under the title "Young Ocean", the working group "Education and Society" of the German Ocean Decade Committee (ODK) would like to cooperate with partner schools from all federal states in order to impart knowledge and actively involve students in their commitment for the ocean. In addition to building and maintaining the network of partner schools throughout Germany, the working group collects and provides information on teaching materials and plans to arrange international contacts with schools in the Global South.

Contacts: Ute Wilhelmsen and Anne-Marie Melster


With the Business Working Group, ODK would like to offer companies and institutions a platform for exchange, networking and collaboration. The working group is aimed at all organizations in the business community that are already actively involved in the protection and sustainable use of the oceans, would like to do so in the future, or are interested in doing so. The working group aims to promote cooperation between science and industry within the framework of the Ocean Decade and to accelerate the transfer of findings into application. Through the exchange between the members, impulses for joint initiatives with a broad impact are to be set. Among other things, this should also contribute to making the use of the oceans, which is indispensable in many respects, more sustainable.

Contact person: Alexis Katechakis and Steffen Knodt

Glass tube system for the cultivation of microalgae. Photo: Sea&Sun Organic
Martin Visbeck giving a lecture at the Überseemuseum in Bremen. Photo: Simon Jungblut

Media and public relations

The working group "Media and Public Relations" informs interested parties about the UN Decade of Oceans and the work of the ODK. We organize different platforms and formats (website, social media) on which the contributions of our partners can be published. We cooperate with the Working Group on Public Relations of the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM) and the German Alliance for Marine Research (DAM) to give German marine research institutions a voice in the UN Ocean Decade.

Contact person: Cornelius Eich and Susanne Stampf-Sedlitzky

Early-Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs).

The ECOP Germany working group networks ocean experts who are at the beginning of their careers (ECOP = early-career ocean professional). The working group wants to create opportunities for ECOPs to actively participate in the Ocean Decade, to exchange ideas and to develop projects together. Through the cooperation of ECOPs from different stakeholder groups, the connection between science, industry and society will be strengthened. Furthermore, the working group aims at intergenerational exchange and direct contribution to events, projects and programs related to the UN Decade of Oceans. Through regular meetings, a network is established that leverages synergies with ongoing initiatives. ECOP Germany welcomes interested individuals residing in or related to Germany who are at the beginning of their career in a marine-related field (research, education, government, industry, NGO, etc.) to join its network.

Contacts: Kim Nierobisch and Nuri Steinmann

Graphic recording of a discussion, Virtual Early Career Ocean Professional Day, 2021. Image: Gabriele Schlipf.

Ambassadors of the German Ocean Decade Committee

Lars Abromeit


Lead singer, band "Santiano

Polar explorer and author

Futurologist and founder

Professional sailor, Team Malizia

Marine biologist and author

André Wiersig

Extreme swimmer

Contact point

The contact point supports the Committee in its work and in building the network of the Ocean Decade. The Contact Point is also a central point of contact for information on national and international activities and programs within the framework of the UN Decade of Oceans.


Dr. Ulrike Heine
Science Officer, German Committee of the UN Ocean Decade (ODK)
Contact point ODK

GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel
Wischhofstr. 1-3
24148 Kiel



Tel: 0431-600 2446