Shaping the future
The Galway Statement’s 10th anniversary event was a celebration of unity, knowledge, and a mutual vision for the future of the Atlantic Ocean – a shared global resource.
The coordinated approach among Atlantic partners has empowered the development of joint research roadmaps and fostered a comprehensive understanding of the Atlantic Ocean’s dynamics and ecosystems. The ongoing development of digital twins of the ocean, will improve the monitoring and forecasting capabilities, allow us to explore desirable futures, assess and test ocean management scenarios, and assemble twin applications to find the effective solutions to protect our oceans and seas and use their resources in a sustainable and responsible way. Moreover, the commitments made through the Galway Statement, and those subsequent, have contributed to tangible outcomes, such as the establishment of new Marine Protected Areas, the implementation of sustainable fisheries practices, and the reduction of plastic pollution along the Atlantic coastline.
The celebration of the 10th Anniversary served as a platform to recognise the achievements and progress made since the signing of the Galway Statement. However, it also served as a platform to reinforce collaborative partnerships among Atlantic countries, research institutions, and stakeholders. Groups that are working together to promote sustainable ocean stewardship and to leverage the power of ocean observation in tackling global challenges. The array of participating members presented an inspiring setting for many participating early career scientists.
“I loved how this was an organization of various countries coming together for the same objective, talking about common topics, goals and challenges,” stated Isabela, an ECOP based at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The event’s inclusion of intergenerational dialogues also emphasized the importance of involving young professionals in shaping the future of ocean research and conservation, ensuring a more sustainable and resilient future for the Atlantic Ocean and its ecosystems. Many ECOPs expressed their hope to see greater levels of inclusion going forward.
“I would love to see even more inclusion and representation of ECOPs and other cultures and ethnicities within this space” emphasised Mariana, an ECOP from Mexico, currently based at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands.
As the event concluded, participants discussed prospects and priorities for the next decade of marine research cooperation in the Atlantic. These included the need for increased investments in ocean research, shared infrastructure, and cutting-edge technology to build upon past achievements, resolve data gaps, and confront emerging environmental threats. Overall, underscoring the significance of continued collaboration and knowledge sharing in confronting the challenges faced by the Atlantic Ocean.
The next decade of marine research cooperation and ocean observation in the Atlantic Ocean holds great promise for advancing sustainable development and supporting global initiatives such as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Through strengthened partnerships, shared research infrastructures, technological innovation, and increased public engagement, further outcomes of the Galway Statement will play a pivotal role in safeguarding the Atlantic Ocean’s rich biodiversity, contributing to a resilient and thriving Atlantic Ocean and protecting coastal communities.
Article by Mafalda de Freitas, Peniche Watch, Portugal