EU4OceanObs Kicks-off – Strengthening the EU’s Involvement in International Ocean Governance

The EU4OceanObs project has officially been launched with a virtual kick-off meeting held on the 24th of November 2020. Entrusted by the European Commission (EC) to Mercator Ocean International (MOi), the project will implement the EC’s Foreign Policy Instrument Action on International Governance: EU component to global ocean observations as part of the EC’s long-term strategy on global in situ ocean observation.

EU4OceanObs’ main objective is to increase the EU’s visibility as a leading global actor, and increase its influence in international decision-making bodies related to the collection and use of global ocean observations.  To this end, the project will jointly strengthen EU contributions and achievements in two overarching international programmes:  Global Earth Observation (GEO) through its ocean component GEO Blue Planet, and the G7 through the G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative (FSOI).  The project will also play a catalytic role towards the development of sustainable practices for marine and maritime applications, adding value to the Copernicus Marine Service and contributing to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and international ocean governance.

A new team has been set up, fully integrated at MOi, to pilot the EU4OceanObs project and over the next two years work side by side with the European Commission, the Coordination Centre of the G7 FSOI and the GEO Blue Planet Secretary. The project taskforce, headed by the MOi Scientific Director, Pierre Yves Le Traon, includes action coordinators of GEO Blue Planet European and G7 FSOI components. The GEO Blue Planet component will contribute to international initiatives for sustained oceans and on behalf of the European Commission, further integrate and promote European activities in this domain. The G7 FSOI component will work to promote the EU’s international ocean governance objectives and priorities related to the collection and use of ocean.

« Ocean Observation is vital to understanding and predicting the evolution of our climate, and to sustainably manage the Ocean and its resources.  This a major international challenge.  Mercator Ocean International is thrilled and proud to work with the European Commission to strengthen EU contribution and influence in two major international activities related to ocean observation », says Pierre Yves le Le Traon.

Mercator Ocean International is a non-profit company created in 2010, providing ocean science-based services of general interest focused on the conservation and the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources (UN SDG14). The organisation has developed complex ocean simulation systems (numerical models) based on ocean observation data (satellite and in situ) that are able to describe, analyse and forecast the physical and biogeochemical state of the ocean at any given time, at the surface or at depth, on a global scale or for a specific zone, in real-time or delayed mode.

Since November 2014, the organisation has been conceiving, implementing and operating the Copernicus Marine Service on behalf of the European Commission, in order to meet the needs of national, European and international stakeholders dealing with environmental policies, maritime safety, and defence, the stewardship of marine resources, biodiversity conservation and climate studies. MOi was also selected along with ECMWF, EUMETSAT, and the EEA to implement the WEkEO DIAS cloud computing platform. MOi will now enter and bring its expertise in a new frontier of international ocean governance by coordinating the EU4OceanObs project.

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