We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Mundus maris Awards 2019. The theme chosen by the United Nations for World Ocean Day was particularly timely, but also challenging: Gender and Ocean. It underscored how important it is to enrol the whole of humanity, men and women and people of all ages and orientations in the efforts to restore and protect the Ocean. What better motto to illustrate to which extent the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are interconnected. These messages are not yet universally understood. We all have still many stereotypes in our heads that are often obstacles for openness, engagement and critical understanding of one another and the great challenges of our times, which need more cooperation than ever before and scaling up. The international jury laboured extensively to distill the best entries submitted by more than 100, mostly young people, from six countries (three continents).

So what was the invitation to the contest about? What to make of "the female faces of the ocean"? The connection to SDG 5 "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" and SDG14 "Conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable development" is clear. These objectives also speak to SDGs 1 (eradicate poverty), 2 (no hunger), 4 (quality education), 10 (reduce inequalities within and between countries) and, of course, 12 (sustainable production and consumption), 13 (climate action) and foremost 17 (cooperation and global partnerships). We can all think of changing something in our own lives, our family, neighbourhood, jobs and countries for the better so as to experience the effects of this global consensus in our daily lives: waste less, nurture more, reach out to others to achieve better living conditions for all.

Picture courtesy Nalini Nayak about World Ocean Day 2019 celebrations in Trivandrum, India (thanks for sharing!)

We still have to discover more of these connections and enact them to make faster progress on the implementation. The first five years are up next year, then we have another 10 to achieve what the representatives of all countries agreed would be done by 2030 when they unanimously agreed the agenda. Here is a first take by this year's winners:

Turtle prizes (points 24-26 - 100 EUR): Akinwonmi A. Shalom, Alogba Oluwajomiloju Francisca, Efetobar Jude, Effiong Martha, Koloko Toukam Karel Sandra, Philips-Oladugba Omadubi, Popoola K. Elizabeth, the Calabar University Team, the Yaba College Team

Shark prizes (22-23 points - 50 EUR): Awino Lavender, Ayano Favour, Stofunlayo Khadijah Abiodun, Abiodun Victor, Adeleye Tolulope, Kelechi Samuel Rose, Moshood Bashiroh, Kumbu Tracy Kwendun, Nyambura Fiona, Ojokoh Joy

The project prize of 500 EUR was garnered by four students of Lagos University with their proposal on "Women and Ocean. Digital genered fisheries value chain analysis in Makoko, Lagos.

The jury also recommended an encouragement prize for the schools / eco-clubs in Mombasa, Kenya, and Hann Montagne B, Senegal - outside of the contest - as a token for participation under difficult circumstances. We happily follow this advice.

The submissions are currently prepared for publication. We therefore shall shortly present the contributions of the proud winners in the digital museum on this website.