The UN Ocean Decade Preparations

The EuroGOOS office attended the regional preparatory workshops for three sea basins most linked to the EuroGOOS activities: the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Arctic, within the preparations for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (UN Ocean Decade). All meetings took place in January 2020. There has been so far eight regional workshops for the Decade all around the globe.

The Ocean Decade Executive Planning Group is compiling the first version of the Decade’s Implementation Plan comprising: a Science Action Plan, a Capacity Development Plan, a Governance Plan, and a Communications Plan. EuroGOOS has been contributing to the Science Action Plan through the regional workshops. It has been widely agreed that strong stakeholder engagement and targeted communications are essential for the success of the Decade. Therefore, the EuroGOOS office is also contributing to the Decade’s Communications Plan, which will underpin the stakeholder engagement activities, as well as to the Ocean Literacy Strategy, supporting the Decade’s ambitions to strengthen the understanding of the societal impacts of all ocean science disciplines.

The regional workshops for the North Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Arctic were structured to address the six Decade’s societal relevance areas through dedicated brainstorming sessions:

  • A clean ocean where sources of pollution are identified and removed;
  • A healthy and resilient ocean where marine ecosystems are mapped and protected;
  • A predictable ocean where society has the capacity to understand current and future ocean conditions;
  • A safe ocean where people are protected from ocean hazards;
  • A sustainably harvested ocean ensuring the provision of food supply; and
  • A transparent ocean with open access to data, information and technologies.

At the North Atlantic workshop (7-10 January, Halifax, Canada), one of the emerging ideas put forward was the concept of Ocean 5D which would feature any available ocean data in a portal displaying x,y,z, and time as the users selected parameter/essential ocean variable of interest. The Ocean Infohub developed by the IOC’s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) was discussed. EuroGOOS will attend the forthcoming planning meeting in Ostend on 18-20 May 2020. A strong theme from the meeting, building on outputs from OceanObs’19, was that the views and inherent knowledge of the traditional knowledge holders need to be factored into the planning for the Decade. EuroGOOS Secretary General Glenn Nolan contributed to the meeting’s programme as panelist. Find the North Atlantic workshop presentations and other documents here.

At the Mediterranean workshop (21-23 January, Venice, Italy), the diversity and richness of activities in the basin was well covered in the programme, spanning plenary and flash talks in breakouts from pan-European, regional and intergovernmental networks and organizations active in the area. It was stressed that the Med is a melting pot of many processes and impacts, and the changes are happening at a faster rate than in other basins. An idea for an Ocean Decade programme for the Global Coastal Ocean was put forward at the event. Italy’s commitment to the Ocean Decade was shared by several high level representatives including the Italian Ambassador to UNESCO. EuroGOOS Senior Policy and Communications Officer Dina Eparkhina contributed to the meeting’s programme as panelist, while many EuroGOOS members represented ocean observing and forecasting efforts in the basin. The EuroGOOS Mediterranean region (MONGOOS) was also represented by Chair Vanessa Cardin. Find the Mediterranean workshop presentations and other documents here.

At the Arctic workshop (29 January, Tromsø, Norway), data access and data gaps in the region were stressed as well as the importance of sustained and integrated ocean monitoring system in the Arctic. Gaps in the long time series measurements were also mentioned along with the need to link research and monitoring programmes. Second Decade preparatory workshop for the Arctic will be held in Copenhagen on 29 April – 1 May 2020. EuroGOOS Science Officer Vicente Fernandez attended the first Arctic workshop, while the second one will be attended by Erik Buch, EuroGOOS Senior Consultant. Find further information about the Arctic workshop in January here.

In his introductory speeches at these regional workshops, Vladimir Ryabinin, IOC Executive Secretary, mentioned the EuroGOOS sustainability study results. The study was led by EuroGOOS within the contract with the European Environmental Agency for the coordination of the Copernicus In Situ Component. It shows remarkable differences in the funding of observations and indicates a direct link between the source of funding and the funding sustainability. For most meteorological observations, the funds are provided sustainably by national institutions, while for most of atmospheric composition and ocean observations, the main bulk of funding comes from short-term or research projects and is claimed unsustained in the long term. 

Find out more about the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development here.

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