Members of the Ocean Decades Committee (screen shot).

The German Ocean Decade Committee (ODK) aims to publicize the UN Decade of Marine Research 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


Member of the European Parliament (retd), Starfish 2030 mission: "We know more about the moon than we do about the deep sea, and many people are unaware of the uniqueness, biodiversity and importance of a healthy ocean for our lives and the future of our planet. I want to help change both of these things."


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."

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."


Head of the Biodiversity Information Department, Senckenberg Museum. "I use biodiversity information at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt am Main to provide baseline information on the global status of marine biodiversity that contributes to management plans to prevent biodiversity loss."


Former Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research Bremerhaven: "The Ocean Decade is a great opportunity to make the way we deal with this vital part of the Earth sustainable. I want to work to ensure that science, industry, politics and civil society develop common goals for the protection and sustainable use of the oceans."


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."


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."


Marine biologist and member of the ICYMARE board of directors: "As co-organizer of the ICYMARE Young Marine Scientists Conference, I represent the next generation of marine scientists in ODK and chair the events working group to work with the next generation of marine professionals to bring marine issues more into the public eye."


Scientist at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, MIO: "As a marine microbiologist, I study the interrelationships of marine ecosystems on which we depend for food, climate regulation and even the air we breathe. Therefore, I see it as my shared responsibility to clearly communicate the needs of marine ecosystems to society and especially to decision-makers."


Founder and CEO, everwave gGmbh: "I'm burning to rid rivers and oceans of plastic waste with everwave. As an impulse generator, I want to draw attention to the issue, inspire people and help shape the future."


Fisheries biologist and former director of the Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT): "If we want to do something for the oceans, we have to do it together! The tasks are too big for individual countries to solve. This is where the Ocean Decade offers a huge opportunity."

Former members

Cora Hörstmann

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Cora Hörstmann

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Cora Hörstmann

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Cora Hörstmann

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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 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: Gesine Meissner and Werner Ekau


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: 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: Karin Lochte

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.

Contact person: Cora Hörstmann

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

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