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Climate Change: Ignore the ocean at your peril

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

In the February edition of Adjacent Government, EMB Executive Secretary Niall McDonough makes the case for why the ocean should be part of climate change discussions. While commending the ambitious target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels set during the December COP21 talks, Niall McDonough highlights the almost complete absence of the relationship between the ocean and climate in the COP21 negotiations and in the final agreement, despite many years of advocacy from scientists and NGOs. The reason for omitting the ocean in discussions is seen as our (human society and political opinion) failure to understand the ocean’s importance as a planetary life-support system. The ocean provides an array of essential goods and services which support human health and wellbeing, yet at the same time is under increasing threat from issues such as pollution, ocean acidification and  hypoxia. Niall McDonough makes the case that to understand the role of the ocean in the earth and climate systems, and the implications of changing oceans for our environment and wellbeing we need to increase our efforts in a range of areas such as progressing ocean observing systems, increased support for more basic ocean science, more effective training for the next generation of marine scientists, and more efforts to achieve Ocean Literacy. The full article is available to read online.

EMB establishes its own legal organization (20 January, Brussels)

Thursday, 21 January 2016

On 20 January 2016, the European Marine Board formed its own legal entity as an international non-profit association under Belgian law (IVZW). An important day in the history of the Board, eight founding members signed the deed in the presence of a Notary Public at a dedicated founding meeting in Brussels (see picture). The EMB was originally formed as an expert board of the European Science Foundation and has operated as such for almost 20 years. During that time the EMB has flourished under the European Science Foundation, expanding its membership, activities and gaining a reputation for providing high-quality science policy advice to underpin the marine research agenda in Europe. Although EMB will remain for the time being associated to ESF, the foundation of a non-for-profit association in Belgium is the first step in a process to eventually become a fully independent legal entity and to secure the future of EMB as the primary marine science foresight and strategy think tank in Europe.
Picture features the EMB IVZW founding members, directors, secretariat, and notary public. Top row left to right: Yves-Marie Paulet (UBO), Colin Brown (NUIG), Karen Donaldson (EMB), Slawomir Sagan (IOPAN), Nan-Chin Chu (EMB), Jan de Leeuw (NIOZ), Veronica French (EMB), Lars Horn (RCN), Arturas Razinkova-Baziukas (KU), Notary Public. Bottom row left to right: Erlend Moksness (IMR), Jan-Stefan Fritz (KDM), Niall McDonough (EMB), Jan Mees (EMB Chair), Gilles Lericolais (Ifremer), Mark James (MASTS), Tarmo Soomere (EAS)

CoCoNet end user meeting & related funding information

Monday, 18 January 2016

The FP7 project, “Towards coast to coast network of marine protected areas (from the shore to the high and deep sea) coupled with sea-based wind energy potential in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea” (CoCoNet, 2012-2016), presented its achievements at their end-user meeting in Brussels (14 Jan. 2016).  The project proposed the concept of “Cells of Ecosystem Functioning” as a conservation and management unit to help in the development of a coherent network of MPAs and to identify suitable area for offshore wind farms. Further details can be found on the project webpage and documentary films. Their results are in line with previous EMB recommendations for an ‘ecosystem-based marine spatial management’ (EMB PP18) and a holistic approach to continue biodiversity research (EMB FSB1). The project also stressed the need for biological ocean observation and human capacity building. In 2016, the EMB will address both topics: to kick off an expert working group (website) and to publish a Future Science Brief on Marine Graduate Training based on the work of WG Training (website).

Related funding information:

DG MARE/EASME issued/will issues calls related to MPA, MSP and training:

  • Call for Tenders: Study on the economic benefits of Marine Protected Areas (deadline 14 March 2016) (EC website)
  • Call for Proposals: Projects on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) (deadline 31 March 2016) (EASME website)
  • DG MARE will launch a call for proposals (€3,4 million allocated) on ‘Blue Careers in Europe’ under the EMFF in 2016. (EMFF Work Programme)

The Sea Change Project’s ‘Think Big, Think Ocean Video Contest’ is Now Open

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

To increase Ocean Literacy in Europe, the Sea Change project is looking for innovative concepts for events, campaigns or any other activities that could help to increase people’s awareness and appreciation of the ocean. To enter, simply make a video to illustrate your creative, innovative idea and submit it online. Your idea will be in with a chance of becoming a reality and you could also win one of seven unique experiences, including ‘behind the scenes’ days at aquaria and science centres across Europe, or an exciting chance to experience a day in the life of a marine scientist. The closing date for entries is 20 March 2016. The winning entries will be chosen based on public vote as well as the innovation, feasibility and potential impact of the idea. The Sea Change project will release one short video every week for the next five weeks through social media to provide further inspiration. For more information on the Think Big, Think Ocean video contest, see: For queries related to the Think Big, Think Ocean contest, please contact: Mieke Sterken ( or Jan Seys (

EMB is at COP21 supporting the advancement of the ocean and climate change agenda (3-4 December, Paris)

Thursday, 03 December 2015

EMB is attending COP21 and participating in a number of events aimed at raising the profile of the integral role of the ocean in our response to climate change. On 3 December, Nan-Chin Chu is giving a presentation at an underwater cultural heritage event hosted by UNESCO. During this event Nan-Chin will highlight the Ocean-Climate Nexus Consensus Statement  and recent EMB publications on continental shelf prehistoric research as part of her presentation on ‘Projecting the climate future by understanding the past: Rescue historical data through maritime cultural heritage.’ The Ocean-Climate Nexus Statement will be further promoted during EMB’s participation in the Ocean & Climate Forum (3 December) and Oceans Day at COP21 (4 December). Activities during Oceans Day will report on the science of oceans and climate change; showcase successful efforts in policies on oceans and climate, identify key actions on oceans and climate change to be addressed through the UNFCCC process; and identify what the oceans community can do to advance the oceans and climate change agenda outside of the UNFCCC process. The expected result of Oceans Day is an action plan for the ocean and climate change agenda for the next five years. 

The Ocean-Climate Nexus video is here

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A video summary of EMB’s 5th Forum, The Ocean-Climate Nexus has been released. In the lead-up to the COP21 talks, EMB’s 5th Forum focused on the critical role of ocean science as part of the societal response to climate change. This message is further elaborated in the Ocean Nexus Consensus Statement.



Canada publishes a briefing note on Ocean Science and Climate Change (November, Canada)

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Canadian Consortium of Ocean Research Universities (CCORU) was formed in 2011, aiming to coordinate ocean science research in universities, unite a body of expertise to provide advice and create a national voice for Canada’s oceans. Further to the Ocean-Climate Nexus Consensus Statement (link) released last month, Canadian researchers have also voiced their concerns on the critical part of ocean science in climate change and the need for decision-makers to take coordinated action at COP21 (download the Ocean Science and Climate Change briefing note). The EMB Secretariat and the US Consortium for Ocean Leadership have interacted during the preparation of this document to ensure our community messages are aligned.

EMB briefing on deep-sea research (11 November, Brussels)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Today, the European Marine Board is holding a briefing event in Brussels on critical challenges for 21st century deep-sea research. The event will showcase the outputs of EMB Working Group Deep Seas, namely the “Delving Deeper” position paper 22 and the accompanying policy brief. The event is taking place as part of the 3rd Ocean of Tomorrow conference in Brussels, hosted by the European Commission. Over 130 stakeholders have registered for the event, ranging from policy makers to academia, industry and NGOs. The EMB briefing event includes interventions by Sigi Gruber, Head of Marine Resources Unit, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission and Ricardo Serrão Santos, Member of the European Parliament. Alex Rogers, EMB WG Deep Seas Chair from the University of Oxford, UK, will also be giving a presentation on the key recommendations of the Working Group, including calls for major progress in fundamental deep-sea research to underpin future management and exploitation of living and non-living deep-sea resources. The full conference agenda can be viewed here.

The Ocean Climate Nexus Consensus Statement goes on tour (27 – 29 October, Brest, Washington DC, Strasbourg)

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Following on from the launch of the Ocean Climate Nexus Statement at EMB’s 5th Forum in the European Parliament on 21 October, the Statement and messages contained therein are currently being promoted at a number of events on either side of the Atlantic. EMB Chair, Jan Mees, delivered a lecture on "The Ocean-Climate Nexus: key messages of the 5th European Marine Board Forum" at a joint session of the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC) and SaferSeas in Brest as part of  a climate change symposium titled“The Future of Science in the 21st Century : Climate change : impacts on the ocean, food production, health and the economy" on 27 October. On 28 October, EMB Executive Secretary Niall McDonough was a keynote speaker at a members meeting of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington DC where he reported on The Ocean Climate Nexus event, the Consensus Statement, and next steps on the road to COP21. Also in Washington DC, in order to carry the Statement’s message on Ocean and Climate to the broader foreign policy and policymaking community, Niall is presenting the Statement and research priorities to the Council on Foreign Relations, the leading U.S. foreign policy organization, during a roundtable on “Oceans & Climate Change: Paris and Beyond”. Also on 29 October, Nan-Chin Chu of the EMB Secretariat is presenting the Ocean Climate Nexus Consensus Statement at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, as part of the Seas, Rivers, Islands & Coastal Areas European Parliament Intergroup conference on the maritime perspective of climate change prior to the COP 21 meeting. This European Parliament event provides an opportunity to discuss the role of our seas and ocean in climate negotiations with MEPs.
Picture features EMB Chair, Jan Mees, presenting on the Ocean Climate Nexus at the EURASC and SaferSeas climate change symposium in Brest.

The Ocean-Climate Nexus, EMB’s 5th Forum takes place in the European Parliament (21 October, Brussels)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

EMB’s 5th Forum, the Ocean-Climate Nexus took place yesterday in the European Parliament in Brussels. Hosted by MEP and former EMB vice-Chair, Ricardo Serrão Santos, and in the context of the upcoming COP21 talks, the Forum focused on the critical role of ocean science as part of the societal response to climate change. The Forum programme featured presentations from HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and President of the US based Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Sherri Goodman, delivered via video message. Scientific presentations covered ocean circulation and climate change (Mojib Latif, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Germany) and ocean acidification and its impacts on marine ecosystems (Ceri Lewis, University of Exeter, UK). A key output of the Forum was the Ocean Nexus Consensus Statement. Presented at the Forum by lead author Michael Schulz (Centre for Marine Environment Sciences (MARUM), Germany), the Consensus Statement was drafted by a working group nominated from EMB member organizations and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and reflects a consensus view from marine research communities  in Europe and North America on the key priorities for ocean research in the context of global change. Following the presentation of the Consensus Statement a panel discussion took place featuring the speakers who were joined by Vladimir Ryabinin (Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanography Commission of UNESCO) and Andrea Tilche (Head of the Climate Action and Earth Observation Unit, European Commission). A full recording of the Ocean-Climate Nexus event is available for viewing here and a summary of the live tweeting is available here. Photos of the event can be viewed in the photo gallery.

Picture features from left to right: Andrea Tilche (European Commission), Mojib Latif (GEOMAR, Germany), MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos (European Commission), Ceri Lewis (University of Exeter, UK), Jan Mees (VLIZ, Belgium), Michael Schulz (MARUM, Germany), Vladimir Ryabinin (IOC UNESCO).