EOOS Resource Forum 2022 confers on sustaining ocean observing in Europe

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1st Feb 2023


On 7 December 2022 JPI Oceans hosted the second meeting of the EOOS Resource Forum. At its first meeting in 2021, the Resource Forum had begun to identify shared priorities and to discuss strategies for long-term sustainable ocean observation in Europe. One year later, the EOOS Resource Forum reassembled national and European funders to update on the latest developments in key ocean observing initiatives and exchange information about national funding activities related to ocean observing. Finally, participants shared their ideas and perspectives on how EOOS can support national funding efforts and how national efforts can contribute to European ocean observation.

Thorsten Kiefer, Executive Director of JPI Oceans and chair of the Resource Forum, welcomed all participants and introduced the meeting context. Key responsibilities of the EOOS Resource Forum include to advise on strategies for long-term funding of ocean observations, to communicate relevant strategic funding opportunities for EOOS, to advise about changes in the funding landscape and to identify shared priorities and advise on the EOOS added value. EuroGOOS and European Marine Board complemented the picture by providing an overview of recent developments in EOOS. The next milestone will be the launch of the revised EOOS Strategy and Implementation Plan 2023-2027 early next year.

Further interventions were given by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative (G7 FSOI), European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and Copernicus. These are considered key ocean observation initiatives with relevance for EOOS. This also applies to the European Commission’s initiative ‘Ocean observation – sharing responsibility’ which, however, is pending internal approval.

Claire Jolly presented on the OECD’s valuation of public marine data with a first case study in the UK, an assessment of that study’s impact and glimpses into the processes of case studies in Flanders and Portugal. Maria Grigoratou reported on the outcome of the recent G7 FSOI working group meeting in Berlin and to what extent the agreed activities can be aligned with EOOS. Finally, Kate Larkin and Pierre-Yves Le Traon shared how well their respective key ocean observing platforms, EMODnet and Copernicus respectively, manage to meet the various user demands.

The following discussion among Resource Forum members was rich in content and ideas. Participants agreed that continuous efforts of all member countries are needed to further ocean observing but also that transfer of knowledge back from the European to the national level will ultimately help to enhance and sustain ocean observation in Europe. Countries also shared areas that are in the focus of their respective national discussions around ocean observation and monitoring, such as biodiversity, carbon cycle, deep sea, climate-ocean nexus.

Discussions also touched on several major developments to include in the Resource Forum’s forward planning. The widespread ambitions in Europe to develop digital twins of the ocean might offer a fresh narrative, the upcoming revision of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive’s monitoring strategy a new target, the ARGO programme a suitable role model and the development of the Blue Economy a new motivation for ocean observing.

The meeting precipitated several  ideas for actions for the EOOS Resource Forum. One action idea is to promote that further countries collaborate with the OECD on value chain studies. Another idea is to compile and share national overviews of the organisational, governance and financing structures underlying ocean observation to consolidate the ground for coordinated resourcing considerations. In addition, EOOS support for timely up-scaling of innovative techniques was considered as conducive to EOOS’ objectives. A follow up and possible complementation of these actions will be addressed during a workshop in March 2023, jointly held by the EOOS Operations Committee and Resource Forum. Further information will be posted at JPI Oceans website and EOOS website soon.