On 2 December 2021,EU4Ocean Platform members gathered online to take stock of the Platform achievements in 2021, exchange ideas of new connections and collaborations and look forward to the EU4Ocean Summit planned in the spring 2022.
EU4Ocean Platform status and highlights (eu4ocean_platform_status_and_highlights.pdf) were presented. With 125 members across 21 European Union Members States and 6 wider nations, the EU4Ocean Platform has grown in its second year into a diverse community working across sectors and regions for joint Ocean Literacy activities, with an open invitation for new members to apply.
Latest updates from the #MakeEUBlue Campaign were showcased. The campaign has inspired 129 pledges until now by people, organisations, networks and more! Platform members were invited to continue promoting the #MakeEUBlueCampaign so that many more people can submit their pledge for the ocean.
Highlights from activities across the five sea-basins were presented, including recent sea-basin events (Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea) organised in 2021 to mobilize local/regional actors, increase the visibility of EU4Ocean, increase networking between stakeholders, attract new members to the EU4Ocean Coalition, and organise ocean literacy activities. In the framework of these events, hybrid Ocean Literacy Festivals were organised for the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. EU4Ocean Coalition members active in the Arctic sea-basin have launched a podcast series “If Oceans could speak” and an Arctic event is planned to take place in the Spring 2022.
EU4Ocean Platform Chair James Nikitine underlined the importance of connecting with marine stakeholders and ocean literacy experts in Overseas Countries and Territories, highlighting that islands are at the frontline of climate change impacts.
EU4Ocean Platform members presented their joint activities, including the Coastal Code for the Bay of Santander developed by Platform member Navigatio with the contribution of members of the EU4Ocean Working Group ‘Healthy and Clean Ocean’ and the ‘I Live by the Sea’ project implemented by a consortium of partners that includes several Platform members (Today We Have, the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences, EurOcean, Mare Nostrum, Ciência Viva, Indigo Med, the Marine Diaries, BANOS CSA and the SUBMARINER Network for Blue Growth). In her presentation about the Coastal Code (coastal_code.pdf), Gabriela Mayans explained what motivated the initiative. She described the 7 pillars of the Coastal Code and the partnerships developed. She further pointed out that the Coastal Code could be applied in many other regions across Europe. Izabela Kotynska-Zielinski’s presentation focused on the activities organised in the ‘I Live by the Sea’ project (i_live_by_the_sea_project.pdf). Amongst these activities, the organisation of the spring school gathered five EU4Ocean members from both the Baltic and the Black Sea regions.
Explorer, broadcaster and EU4Ocean influencer Paul Rose gave his personal reflections noting that field work and adventure still remain a key way to engage citizens across generations, to raise awareness about the Ocean and inspire more commitment for active engagement in the EU4Ocean Ocean Literacy movement which will ultimately drive societal change for the green transition.
The meeting also called the attention of participants to links, common actions and ideas for cooperation between the EU4Ocean Platform and the other EU4Ocean Coalition communities, the Youth4Ocean Forum, and the European Network of Blue Schools. Participants in the meeting heard from Platform member the Blue Generation Project (blue_generation_project.pdf) and Youth4Ocean Forum facilitator the World Ocean Network how Platform members can support young people, what activities have been organised on coaching and mentoring and what new opportunities are coming in 2022. The EU4Ocean Platform Working Group Chair for ‘Healthy and Clean Ocean’ Francesca Alvisi (CNR-ISMAR) and the Network of European Blue Schools Facilitator EMSEA informed participants of the evolution of the Network of European Blue Schools (network_of_european_blue_schools.pdf) and ways that Platform members can promote the network and become a partner in activities such as teachers’ training.
Speaking at the event, Andy Kontoudakis, European Commission, DG MARE urged the EU4Ocean Platform members to continue stepping up to develop joint actions, noting the opportunity of the EU Mission : Restore our Oceans and Waters for furthering the trans-disciplinary activities of EU4Ocean and for further mobilizing and scaling up the societal engagement.
Next steps include brainstorming on the EU4Ocean Summit which will take place in Spring 2022, bringing together all EU4Ocean components for the first European Summit of its kind. Participants in the meeting were invited to contribute their ideas using collaborative tools.
The EU4Ocean Platform meeting was followed by the third round of meetings of the three thematic EU4Ocean Platform Working Groups on ‘Food from the Ocean’ (Thursday 2 December 2021), ‘Healthy and Clean Ocean’ and ‘Climate & Ocean’ (Friday 3 December 2021). The focus of these meetings was on what the members of the Working Groups have done in the framework of EU4Ocean over the past year and on how and how much the Working Groups have been useful to the members. In addition, input was sought for the next phase of the Working Groups from January 2022 onwards. Outcomes from these meetings revealed the interest on developing activities in the area of new sources of food from the Ocean and the relationship between inland regions and a healthy and clean Ocean, among others.
If you are not yet a member of the EU4Ocean Platform and are keen to contribute to the objectives of EU4Ocean and participate in upcoming events and activities, make sure to connect with this growing community by submitting your application online to join the Platform!