The Monaco Federation of Ocean Science
Meeting in Monaco, leaders of Europe’s leading marine science research organisations agreed to strengthen their strategic cooperation and collectively increase the reach of marine science in society. At the invitation of the Oceanographic Institute, they decided to form a Monaco Federation of Ocean Sciences.
A NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR MARINE SCIENCES
Giving a new impetus to ocean sciences on a European scale was the ambition of the meeting that took place at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco on 26 March 2019 in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II and representatives of the European Commission, the International Oceanographic Commission and other networks. The leaders of these major organisations thus gathered drew up the main lines of the Monaco Federation of Ocean Sciences, which aims to develop initiatives to strengthen ocean culture throughout Europe and to promote the values of respect for nature and sustainable development. Mobilizing marine sciences, it also includes other fields of research such as economics, sociology and law applied to the sea, in order to cover all aspects of man’s relationship with the sea. To ensure the dissemination of knowledge, it also relies on the new players in ocean knowledge (private initiatives of major patrons, new explorers, etc.). Transdisciplinarity, mediation and innovation are sought, to overcome the current silos, to enlighten more effectively the action of the decision-makers and to meet the expectations of society.
A NEW TALE OF THE OCEAN
The increasing threats to the ocean make it more necessary than ever to understand the complexity of ecosystems. This requires modelling and increased interdisciplinarity, but also a new form of narration that can popularise knowledge. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Federation is therefore planning to collectively build a positive communication on the role of the ocean in improving human well-being. Strengthening the communication approaches of scientists will make often complex topics related to ocean ecology accessible. A wide audience is targeted, with the aim of generating a fundamental mobilization in society.
ACTING RESOLUTELY AND WITHOUT DELAY
The Federation is committed to long-term action and is working to identify the major priority areas of research to inform sustainable decisions. The sequence highlighted the extent to which the impact of climate change (the subject of the IPCC special report “Climate Change, Ocean and Cryosphere”) and plastic or industrial pollution on the ocean, which has already been extensively studied, can have an impact on the negotiations underway. It was also felt that emphasis should be placed on a better understanding of the deep sea before any mining is considered.
A PLEA FOR THE OCEAN
The Federation agreed to develop a scientific advocacy on key ocean ecological issues as early as September 2019, based on a scientific consensus shared by the major European member centres. This holistic message to inform decision-makers can be carried by each member in their country, within their networks and to the media. It will also fuel the commitment of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. The Federation will be the bearer of ambitious proposals for the Horizon Europe programme, as well as for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). It will examine opportunities for more formal cooperation structures, up to and including the creation of a European Ocean Agency.