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Equity of our future oceans: outcomes and practice in marine science research
  • +9
  • Karen Alexander,
  • A Fleming,
  • N Bax,
  • C Garcia,
  • J Jansen,
  • K E Maxwell,
  • J Melbourne Thomas,
  • T Mustonen,
  • G T Pecl,
  • J Shaw,
  • G Syme,
  • E Ogier
Karen Alexander
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
Author Profile
A Fleming
Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
N Bax
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
C Garcia
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
J Jansen
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
K E Maxwell
Environmental Research Institute, CSIRO, Oceans and Atmosphere, University of Waikato
J Melbourne Thomas
T Mustonen
G T Pecl
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
J Shaw
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
G Syme
Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania
E Ogier
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania

Abstract

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) envisage a desirable society where equity is a normative goal that is given attention, and ways to improve inclusivity and diversity of equity beyond concept, process and outcome are being actively explored. Here, we examine how equity is considered in a suite of papers that explored possible sustainable futures for the oceans by 2030, and mapped out pathways to achieve these, collectively aiming to move as far towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as technically feasible. Our analysis revealed that a large range of equity issues were recognised and considered, in outcome-based (i.e. distributive), process-based (i.e. procedural) and concept (i.e. contextual) dimensions. However, often, the equity problem was not explicitly stated, but rather implied through the action pathway identified to move towards a more sustainable 2030, highlighting that reducing inequity is interlinked with improving sustainability. Based on these findings, we reflect on the way equity is conceptualised and considered within this work as well as futures science for the oceans more broadly. These reflections are distilled into lessons learnt, a key one of which is that science and knowledge production are immediate areas where we can work to improve equity in terms of building capacity to understand and include equity issues, develop mechanisms to be more inclusive and diverse and continually, and in particular, critically reflect on our own practices to fundamentally challenge how we work and think in the space of marine science research.