WSIS TalkX: New Technologies and Innovations for Ocean Conservation

Permanent Missions of the Dominican Republic and Portugal together with ITU and UNESCO

Session 458

15:00–16:00 (UTC+02:00), Monday, 7 June 2021 WSIS TalkX

Virtual Event on the occasion of the World Oceans Day 2021

Leading up to World Oceans Day, this virtual event will highlight some examples of innovative initiatives making use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to protect oceans and to overcome challenges and strengthen efforts to mobilize, create and drive solutions towards the achievement of SDG14 – Life below water.

In 2020, the world’s oceans reached their hottest level in recorded history. The heat trapped by carbon emissions is absorbed by the oceans, disrupting marine ecosystems and societies who depend on them. Rising ocean temperatures are altering key habitat elements that are critical to the survival of all ocean species, including sharks. The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that, even if we collectively manage to stabilize global surface temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, 70 to 90% of coral reefs will be lost by the middle of this century. Nearly 90% of the world’s marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. To remind the public of the oceans’ critical role as the life source and highlight the urgent need to take action for oceans and marine biodiversity, the United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day every year on 8 June.

The theme of World Oceans Day 2021 is “Life and Livelihoods”. In order to protect marine life and sustainably manage the ocean, it is imperative to highlight the catalytic role of sciences and technologies. This year’s theme is especially relevant to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) which has a vision of the ‘science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade, proclaimed by the General Assembly Resolution A/RES/72/73, has Ocean Literacy as one of its priority areas of action. Ocean Literacy is reflected in increasing levels of individual and institutional understanding of our influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on us. Ocean Literacy facilitates actors around the world to develop and implement innovative activities to incite behavior change and facilitate a paradigm shift in humanity’s relationship with the ocean.

Among the new technologies for oceans, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are key awareness raising tools, they play additional significant roles in the conservation of the oceans – notably through improved monitoring and reporting which leads to increased accountability. Satellite-based monitoring delivers timely and accurate data on a global basis, while local sensors deliver on the spot updates in real-time. Big data can be used to analyze short- and long-term trends in terms of biodiversity, pollution, weather patterns and ecosystem evolution, and to plan mitigation activities.

H.E.  Ambassador José A. Blanco
H.E. Ambassador José A. Blanco Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic

Mr. José A. Blanco, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations,  began his diplomatic career in 2001, when he was appointed First Secretary of the Embassy of the Dominican Republic to the United States of America.
For almost three years, he worked in the areas of economic affairs and trade and served as liaison with the U.S. Congress and its representatives concerning matters of interest to the Dominican Republic. He also participated as in the negotiations of the DR-CAFTA free trade agreement, as part of the Dominican team that supported this important process.
After his initial experience at the bilateral level, he was transferred to the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations, where he has worked ever since and has managed to rise through all diplomatic ranks, from First Secretary, to his current position as Ambassador, Permanent Representative.
At the Permanent Mission to the United Nations, he has specialized in multilateral diplomacy, which has led him to handle issues of most of the main commissions of the United Nations General Assembly (2nd, 4th and 5th) as well as to represent the Dominican Republic in ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) during its membership, 2010-2012, both in its sessions in New York and Geneva, Switzerland.
During the regular session of 2011 and after the global financial crisis, Ambassador Blanco was appointed Chief Negotiator of resolution 66/188 of the UN General Assembly, which called for addressing excessive price volatility in food and related financial and commodity markets. This resolution was promoted by the Dominican Republic and submitted by the Group of 77 and China. It was adopted by consensus in December, 2011.
In recent years, Ambassador Blanco has worked closely in the areas of Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Affairs, being part of the team that advocated for projects such as the HOPEFOR Initiative and the conferences that took place during 2012 and 2013 as part of the commitment assumed by the Dominican Republic.
Ambassador Blanco was a member of the official delegation at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, held in 2011 and 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland and in 2017 in Cancun, Mexico, as well as the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, held in Istanbul, Turkey, in May, 2016. He also served as Head of the Delegation of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States held in Medellin, Colombia, in 2019.
He participated as part of the technical team that promoted the candidacy of the Dominican Republic as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and currently holds the position of Coordinator of the Technical Unit for matters of the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
During the period between 2017 and 2019, he served as Acting vice Minister for Bilateral Foreign Policy, where he was responsible for coordinating all matters pertaining to the role, among others on the Dominican agenda at the international level.
Ambassador Blanco is a career diplomat, bilingual in Spanish and English and holds a degree in business administration from Universidad Iberoamericana. He has completed masters and postgraduate studies at Strayer University and Georgetown University in the United States, respectively. He is married to Mrs. María G. Cáceres, with whom he has two children: María José (13) and José Alejandro (9).

H.E. Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes
H.E. Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN, New York Permanent Mission of Portugal

H.E. Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes was born in Castelo Branco, Portugal and is married and has two children:

·         Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN, New York, from August 2017.

·         Director-General for Foreign Policy (Political Director) (2014 - 2017).

·         Director-General for European Affairs (2012 - 2014).

·         Chief of Staff of the Secretary of State for European Affairs (2011- 2012).

·         Diplomatic advisor to the Prime Minister (2009 – 2011).

·         Antici (coordinator), at the Portuguese Permanent Representation to the EU, in Brussels (2005 – 2009).

·         Counsellor at the Portuguese Permanent Representation to the EU, in Brussels, in charge of Institutional affairs and of the Maghreb / Mashrek and Middle East / Gulf working parties, (2004-2005).

·         Director for Institutional Affairs, European Directorate, MFA, Lisbon (2003-2004).

·         Adviser to the Secretary of State for EU affairs and member of the team of the Portuguese Government’s Representative to the European Convention (2002 – 2003).

·         Head of division at the Human Resources Directorate, MFA, Lisbon, (2000 – 2002).

·         First Secretary at the Portuguese Embassy in Copenhagen (Denmark) (1995 – 2000); also accredited to Vilnius (Lithuania).

·         Second Secretary at the Portuguese Embassy in Islamabad (Pakistan), 1993 – 1995); also accredited to Kabul (Afghanistan) and Male (Maldives).

·         Chair of the Visa Working Party during the Portuguese presidency of the EU Council, 1992.

·         Attaché and then Third Secretary at the Consular Directorate, MFA, Lisbon (1989 -1993).

o   Post-graduation in European Affairs, Faculdade de Direito de Coimbra, 1989.

o   Law degree, Faculdade de Direito de Lisboa, 1986.

Stephanie Avalos
Stephanie Avalos Chief Project Officer, Ichthion Ichthion

Her professional focus has been the construction of public policies on climate change, democracy and social inclusion, nationally and internationally. Before joining the Ichthion team, she worked as a sustainable finance consultant with a focus on access to multilateral climate and environmental funds. Between 2017 and 2019, she was Undersecretary of Climate Change of the Ministry of the Environment of Ecuador, during the process of formulating the first Nationally Determined Contribution 2020-2025 of Ecuador, and led the creation of the sustainable finance committee that seeks to articulate actors public and private to develop the enabling conditions to increase the flows of financing available for investment in low-carbon and climate-friendly initiatives. Between 2013-2015, she promoted the development of a civic training project for Ecuador, called El ABC de la Democracia between 2013-2015.

Profession: BA in Political Science and International Studies with a focus on public policy, and MA in International Relations.

Alexia Barrier
Alexia Barrier Athlete Vendee Globe

Alexia Barrier is an extraordinary athlete has been travelling the seas for more than 15 years. She competed in the 2020–2021 Vendee Globe and completed the race in 111 days. She is a symbol of woman-empowerment in a very masculine maritime world. Alexia is also an accomplished entrepreneur and founded her own association, 4myplanet. 

Professor Peter Haugan, Ph.D.
Professor Peter Haugan, Ph.D. Programme Director at Institute of Marine Research, Norway, professor of oceanography at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen and past chair of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC of UNESCO) Institute of Marine Research, Norway

Peter Haugan is Programme Director at Institute of Marine Research, Norway, professor of oceanography at the Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen and past chair of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC of UNESCO).

He has more than 30 years of experience in marine scientific research and international ocean science coordination. The preparation and proclamation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and the launch of the first ever Global Ocean Science Report (2017) are recent highlights.

His research interests include various aspects of physical oceanography with primary focus on the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean as well as global ocean carbon cycling and climate.

He has expertise in polar oceanography and sea ice from working in the high Arctic and has also initiated and led research and education efforts in renewable energy including offshore wind. From 2019, he is in charge of international work with global development at the Institute of Marine Research.

Tatiana Lawrence
Tatiana Lawrence Vice President, International Regulatory Iridium Iridium

Tatiana Lawrence is Vice President, International Regulatory for Iridium, the only mobile satellite service (MSS) company offering coverage over the entire globe. In this capacity, Ms. Lawrence leads Iridium’s global regulatory and policy initiatives, related to regulatory policy, technical standards, technical and policy matters before International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and other international organizations, market access, licensing, spectrum advocacy, and disaster relief. In this regard, Ms. Lawrence has consistently developed enduring regulatory solutions to promote new technology applications and services throughout the world.  Ms. Lawrence takes a lead role in driving Iridium’s proactive approach to emerging markets and deployment of innovative communications solution including voice, data, and IOT/M2M solutions.  Ms. Lawrence, also leads Iridium’s efforts in providing emergency communications anywhere on Earth in times of disasters.

Prior to joining Iridium, Ms. Lawrence’s career spanned experience in systems and integration engineering, as well as international business and regulatory affairs.  Ms. Lawrence was involved in coordinating engineering and integration activities between satellite and launch vehicle manufacturers, implementing business growth and regulatory development in Eastern Europe, and coordinating international regulatory and market access matters, as well as representation at the International Telecommunication Union and other international forums.

Ms. Lawrence holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Moscow Power Engineering University.  Ms. Lawrence serves as the Chair of the board of directors of the United States International Telecommunication Union Association.


Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin
Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and Assistant Director-General of UNESCO UNESCO

Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin is the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and Assistant Director-General of UNESCO. He is an oceanographer, marine engineer, meteorologist, and climatologist.

Ms. Dhwani Trivedi
Dhwani Trivedi Youth representative BVM Engineering College, India Moderator

Dhwani Trivedi is currently studying and pursuing her bachelor's degree in  Electronics & Communication from BVM Engineering College, India. She has developed various, AI-based applications for education on Raspberry Pi based mobile platform and deep learning related innovations which have been featured at conferences such as UNESCO Chair ICT4D Non-Conference 2020, UNESCO MGIEP TECH- 2019 and has been the youngest presenter at UNESCO MLW 2018 where she talked about AI in Education and Ethics. She was a part of India's largest Open Source Collective "The M19 Collective" where she donated more than 350 M19 Face Shields for the frontline healthcare workers during the Pandemic. She has an avid interest to contribute to this changing world through her efforts on AI and ICT for a connected world.   

Joanne Wilson
Joanne Wilson Deputy to the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) and Chief of the Informatics, Administration and Publications (IAP) Department International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

Joanne Wilson is an electrical engineer with more than 30 years of professional experience in the telecommunications sector and more than 25 years of experience in the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R). 

Ms. Wilson was appointed Deputy to the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau (BR) and Chief of the Informatics, Administration and Publications (IAP) Department on May 1, 2019.  In that capacity, she assists and advises the BR Director in the direction and management of the Bureau. Her responsibilities include, amongst others, conference preparations; acting as secretary to Radiocommunication Conferences; monitoring the implementation of decisions emanating from the Council, the Plenipotentiary Conference, World Radiocommunication Conferences, the Radiocommunication Assembly, Radio Regulations Board, Radiocommunication Advisory Group and other official bodies.   As Chief of IAP Department, she is responsible for the organization and direction of the work performed by the department, which includes the development, maintenance and support of major software packages used by the BR for the processing of frequency assignment notifications.

At the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, Joanne Wilson was elected to be a member of the 2015-2018 Radio Regulations Board (RRB).  As a member of the RRB, Ms. Wilson chaired its working group that developed the Report by the Radio Regulations Board to WRC-15 on Resolution 80 (Rev.WRC-07) – Due diligence in applying the principles embodied in the Constitution and served as one of the Board’s advisors to the 2015 Radiocommunication Assembly.  Ms. Wilson was the 2018 Vice Chairman of the Radio Regulations Board.

From early 2010 to mid-2019, Ms. Wilson worked for ASRC Federal where she advised and represented the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on U.S. delegations to various world conferences and meetings across all sectors of the ITU.  From 2013 until joining the ITU in 2019, Ms. Wilson served as Deputy Program Manager of ASRC Federal’s Office of Spectrum Management Services where she led a team of engineers that provided a full suite of spectrum management support services to NASA’s Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN) Program.

Ms. Wilson participated actively in the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL) since attending its inaugural meeting in 1994 through 2018. From 1993 to 2007, she represented AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and ArrayComm LLC in the ITU-R, in U.S. domestic regulatory proceedings, and in bilateral and multi-lateral negotiations addressing spectrum management, wireless standards, and regulatory and market access issues.  Ms. Wilson has developed and executed successful standardization strategies for commercial mobile broadband wireless systems in the ITU-R, in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), in the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and in other ANSI-accredited standards bodies. 

Other career highlights include:

—  Ms. Wilson was a member of fourteen U.S. Delegations to ITU world conferences, assemblies and policy forums.

—  At the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference, Ms. Wilson served as the Special Assistant to Ambassador S. Decker Anstrom, Head of the United States Delegation to the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference and advised him on technical and procedural matters.

—  Ms. Wilson was a 1995 Brookings Institution Congressional Fellow, during which time she was a Legislative Aide to Senator Paul Simon (D-Ill) with a portfolio that covered African Affairs and Trade.  She was also a member of the Minority Staff of the Senate Whitewater Committee;

Ms. Wilson holds a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University (1982), and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree from Southern University (1981) with further graduate study at Princeton University (1986).  

Outside of work, Ms. Wilson is a member of the Board of Directors of Youth Service America, a non-profit whose mission is “to help young people find their voice, take action, and make an impact on vital community issues.”   Her hobbies have included Taekwondo (Black Belt, 3rd degree – Instructor and sparring coach), cycling, equestrian sports, tennis, weight-training, and exemplifying an all-around focus on health and fitness.