On 4 April 2023, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge launched a dedicated activity book for children 3 to 6 years old entitled “Life Under Water Pre-School Companion” at ISA’s headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica in the presence of the Honorable Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica.
The event brought together the community of resident Permanent Representatives to ISA, representatives of UN organizations (the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) as well as senior representatives of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica.
Both the ISA Strategic Plan and High-Level Action Plan for 2019-2023 recognize the need for ISA to raise awareness among stakeholders of ISA’s mandate and responsibilities for the Area. This includes global ocean governance, the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources and marine biodiversity, contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advancing deep-sea literacy.
In this context, the ISA Secretariat has engaged with experts to develop tailored communication products and information materials for raising the awareness of the general public, including children, to the contribution of ISA to advancing global knowledge and understanding of the deep seabed and its ecosystems functions, in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the 2030 Agenda. Recently, the ISA Secretariat launched a digital coloring book activity in six official languages in partnership with Wakatoon to sensitize children between the ages of 4 and 12 to learn about the deep sea, its incredible creatures, its environment and the work of ISA to explore and protect it.
Building on this and the increasing interest of education experts for tailored tools to enhance sensitization and understanding of children for the need to protect and sustainably use the ocean and its resources, the ISA Secretariat partnered with an accredited Jamaican preschool providing learning in English, French and Spanish, the three main languages spoken in the Caribbean, to develop this new resource. Created by pre-school learning experts, this education tool has been conceptualized and tested to inspire this specific audience to act in favour of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, reduce pollution, protect and restore ecosystems, and increase knowledge about ocean health and preservation of coastal and marine areas.
The activity book has been developed by Mrs. Aline Luna Leclere-Less, Director of the Centre for Language and Culture in Kingston, Jamaica and Mr. Mathieu Linotte, Illustrator.
In opening the event, Secretary-General Lodge underscored the importance placed by ISA and its Members to sensitize all audiences to the importance of a holistic and integrated approach towards the ocean.
“I am pleased to launch this children’s activity book today, which is an important contribution to our efforts to expand deep-sea literacy. Partnering with such experts as those of the Center for Language and Culture who have invested many years building bridges in education and multilingual environment for young children here in Kingston, has led to the production of what I consider to be a remarkable tool to advance knowledge and understanding of the need to invest in education. I have no doubt that this book will help to inspire children of all ages to learn more about the ocean and the importance of reducing pollution and protecting the deep-sea environment,” he said.
Guest of honour, H.E. Ms. Kamina Johnson Smith, Minster of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, underscored the positive impact of the initiative to sensitize future generations of leaders and policymakers.
“Jamaica commends the Authority for the creative and innovative approach taken through this initiative. We view it as well aligned with ISA’s responsibility to advance a greater understanding of the ocean and to ensure the protection of the marine environment. This effort has the potential to create a positive impact on the minds of the future generations of leaders and policy-makers in shaping the way they protect, preserve and sustainably use the ocean and its resource,” she said.
Author and Director of the Center for Language & Culture in Kingston, Mrs. Aline Luna Leclere-Less, highlighted the importance of education in engaging all stakeholders for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and their resources as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“This activity book has been specifically tailored to bring awareness about the SDG 14 (Life under water) as well as SDG 4 (Education) to children aged to 3 to 6 years old, as this period is one of remarkable brain development for children and represents a crucial window of opportunity for education”, she said. “Developed in English, French and Spanish, this activity book provides the foundation for lifelong skills development with the aim of equipping the generation of today which will become the decision makers and leaders of tomorrow,” she added. “We believe that early childhood care and education is one of the best investments a country can make as it promotes holistic development and social cohesion.”
For media enquiries, please contact:
Ms. Stefanie Neno, Communications Specialist, ISA, firstname.lastname@example.org