A compass for policymakers and practitioners from the 2019 Ocean Dialogues
“We all know that the Ocean is under threat and we are here to find solutions. Adopting a holistic approach to the human-ocean challenges is a pre-requisite for being successful. This requires sound knowledge is produced, shared and used, mobilizing research, business policymakers as well as all societal actors”.
Based on these premises, the draft Manifesto for building an effective Ocean Knowledge System was presented at the European Parliament (EP) in the workshop “Let’s strengthen Ocean governance!” hosted on 20 March by the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup of the European Parliament, in Brussels.
The Ocean Dialogues Manifesto, released in a draft version – now available online at www.oceandialogues.eu/manifesto – is one of the outcomes of the 2019 Ocean Dialogues organized in Brussels by the Horizon 2020 funded projects MARINA (www.marinaproject.eu) and ResponSEAble (www.responseable.eu) with support from DG RTD in cooperation with IOC-UNESCO and the SEARICA Intergroup of the European Parliament.
The Ocean Dialogues Manifesto stresses the importance of open access, data sharing, science communication, ocean literacy, responsible research and innovation and co-creation through effective stakeholders’ engagement as key principles for the development of our Ocean Knowledge System. A “forward-looking vision” in building our Ocean Knowledge System is also needed – bringing, in particular, the Youth and Young Professionals at the center of its development process as users of knowledge, providers of knowledge and drivers for change.
Building up a sound and collaborative Ocean Knowledge System is definitely a priority, according to high-level European policymakers and participants at the European Parliament workshop that concluded the 2019 Ocean Dialogues.
“I like very much the 2019 Ocean Dialogues Manifesto approach on building an Ocean Knowledge system” Mr. Felix Leinemman, Head of Unit, Blue Economy Sectors, Aquaculture and Maritime Spatial Planning, DG MARE – European Commission says, recognizing the multi-sided nature of knowledge building processes.
“Society actors are not just entitled to access data, they are producing data. We need to be able to manage those dynamics, having set a vision and an accountable and sound process for stakeholders’ engagement”.
“Knowledge is power, and this is very true in the maritime sector”, recognizes Mrs. Andrea Strachinescu Head of Unit Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment, DG MARE – European Commission. “It is about threats but also about opportunities, therefore open data and open access are key for both saving the Ocean as well as ensuring a sustainable and responsible Blue Growth”, she says.
Data sharing, ocean literacy and enabling platforms are also major assets for producing an inclusive Ocean science, with a view of leaving no one behind, according to the UN vision as presented by Mrs. Francesca Santoro, Programme Officer, IOC UNESCO Decade of Ocean Science.
“As policymakers, we should be more knowledge-driven than process-driven. This means to focus more on what we can get from research while providing criteria to guarantee the credibility of the co-creation processes”, Mr. Jacques Delsalle, Marine Environment and Water Industry, DG Environment – European Commission says.
An urgent need for Ocean education programs as well as for effective and inclusive engagement processes is highlighted by Mr Marco Weidert DG RTD, while stressing that co-creation is a crosscutting dimension of the EU-funded research programmes. Ivan Conesa-Alcolea, DG RTD, further stresses the importance of connecting to existing platforms and communities in the field of Ocean Literacy so products, tools and initiatives developed by projects are made accessible.
Mrs. Kathrine Angell-Hansen, Strategic Director at JPI Oceans, points up that elements of the Manifesto are already taken on board by JPI Ocean when developing its strategic plan and recognizes the challenges linked to citizen-science, the certification of co-creation processes and the mobilization of the Youth and Young Professionals in the development and use of ocean knowledge.
The scientists’ ability to effectively share results, not limited to the traditional “publication” process is one of the issues mentioned by Theophile Bongarts-Lebbe and Summer Snell who attended the Youth and Young Professionals workshop of the 2019 Ocean Dialogues.
“Ocean governance is going to be crucial in the next years with regards to development and security issues in the entire globe,” highlights Mrs. Gesine Meissner, MEP, President of the European Parliament Intergroup Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas.
“Even if – she states – in the provisional agreement on Horizon Europe, the future EU research and innovation programme, the Ocean is not present enough, let’s be optimistic. The good news from those days is that Ocean Dialogues are in place and young people are so passionately taking care of the ocean”. Support to the Ocean Dialogues that Mrs. Gesine Meissner had already stated at the very opening of the “High-Level Conference Oceans: the future of the blue planet”, hosted by the European Parliament on 19 March
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Disclaimer: the Manifesto for building an effective Ocean Knowledge System was drafted by Olga Mashkina, Saša Raicevich, Pierre Strosser and Francesca Ronchi based on results from the 2019 Ocean Dialogues, the co-creation joint event by MARINA and ResponSEAble Horizon 2020 funded projects. The Manifesto draft version is now available on the Ocean Dialogues official website (www.oceandialogues.eu/manifesto) and it will follow a review and input process before it is finalized and published.