The EU4OceanObs successor project is well underway, covering the period October 2023 to October 2027. Financed under Horizon Europe through a contribution agreement between the European Research Executive Agency (REA) and Mercator Ocean International, the second phase of the project will build on its predecessor’s mission, achievements and lessons learnt.
Launched in 2021, EU4OceanObs “International Ocean Governance: EU component to global ocean observation”, served to make the European Union (EU) more visible as a global actor, defend its strategic interests and strengthen its influence in international decision-making bodies related to the collection, sharing and use of ocean observations for societal benefit. Over three years spanning October 2020 to September 2023, the project successfully strengthened essential partnerships between European and international infrastructures, programmes and initiatives across the ocean observing value chain towards a coordinated fit-for-purpose global ocean observing system. The project directly established and leads the EU action coordination in the G7 Future of the Seas and Ocean Initiative (G7 FSOI) and GEO’s Blue Planet Initiative, playing an indispensable role in shaping, strengthening and leading activities in these two overarching partnerships in the global ocean observing landscape. Within this context, the project succeeded in fostering global agreements based on EU priorities for ocean observations, data sharing, modelling and forecasting, and the development of Earth observation-based marine and coastal applications and services.
“The EU4Oceanobs project is designed to facilitate EU to international collaborations to improve the flow of delivery across the Ocean observing value chain beginning with drivers such as EU policy directives and research priorities and extending to Ocean observations, data sharing, modelling and forecasting, application development, and user uptake and feedback.” – Dr. Pierre-Yves Le Traon, EU4OceanObs project coordinator, Mercator Ocean International
Over the next four years, EU4OceanObs 2.0 will continue to strengthen the international strategy and coordination of, and commitment to global ocean observation, integrating EU priorities and goals. The project will continue its work through its coordination actions in G7 FSOI and GEO Blue Planet, and will be expanded to provide EU-to-international engagement support for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The project will also include a new focus on coordination across the ocean observing value chain to demonstrate economic and societal benefits of observing networks, Ocean prediction, applications, and use of ocean information for decision making needed to leverage and support sustained investments in ocean observing.
The need to observe the ocean has never been so high. Ocean observations are critical to understand and adapt to climate change, to better protect marine resources and biodiversity, to support a sustainable blue economy and coastal resilience. Ocean observation is a first, essential link in the value chain that runs from observations to models, information, knowledge, and action, and is essential to support and guide the European Union’s and international ocean, climate, and biodiversity related policies. – Dr Maria Hood, G7 FSOI EU action coordinator, Mercator Ocean International
EU4OceanObs will continue to be implemented by a team of experts at Mercator Ocean International, working closely with the European Commission to ensure that activities are driven by EU policy directives, research priorities, and investments in Ocean observing assets. Managed by the European Research Executive Agency (REA), the project’s advisory board consists of representatives across different Directorate Generals, including Research and Innovation (RTD), Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MARE), Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS) and International Partnerships (INTPA). Therefore, the project provides a unique cross-coordination mechanism to harmonise and align EU actions on the global ocean observations and ensure evolving EU priorities are considered at the international level.
EU4OceanObs Achievements 2020 – 2023