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EMB Navigating the Future VI working group kicks off

On October 23-24th, representatives of the EMB member organizations gathered around our two campfires Sheila Heymans and Gilles Lericolais, to set the foundations of the 6th edition of the Navigating the Future publication (NFVI). As its predecessors, this publication is expected to have important impacts on marine research and policies, at national, European and international scale. 

Group picture of the NFVI working group members in the InnovOcean building in Ostend

As a dialogue across disciplines, NFVI will explore the role of the Ocean on earth, focusing on the ocean sciences we need to explore and address the issues related to four main interconnected themes: the Ocean’s links with people, climate, freshwater, and biodiversity. This foresight policy document will summarize the state of marine research (for both you and your grandmother), identify the remaining unknowns our community is to investigate, and explicit a set of recommendations for research and policies. This kick-off meeting was fruitful to identify cross-cutting themes for all marine sciences, including the recent development of sustainable sciences, the importance of ocean literacy and of bringing more disciplines into marine research, the consideration of multiple stressors into our modeling, and the questions of gender and equity in all Ocean sciences and actions.

The first theme, Ocean & Freshwater is led by Peter Kraal and Tainá Fonseca, and facilitated by Britt Alexander. External expert speaker David Docquier from Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium offered an inspirational overview of what we know of the important two-way street linking freshwater and oceanic system. This group will focus on the continuum between land, freshwater and the and Ocean, and highlighting relevant recommendations.

External speaker Henrik Österblom from the Stockholm Resilience Centre opened the discussions on the chapter linking Ocean & People, by giving a detailed state of the art on sustainability sciences, highlighting the scale and socio-ecological costs of our human expansion into the Ocean. The group in charge of this chapter, led by Francesco Falcieri, supported by Juliette Biquet and facilitated by Paula Kellett, will focus on presenting an assessment of current Ocean-human relations, and will make recommendations on research and collaboration needs.

The Ocean & Biodiversity group is facilitated by Ana Rodriguez Perez and led by Carlos Pereira Dopazo and Kerstin Johannesson. Lynne Shannon from the University of Cape Town shared her vision of this topic, highlighting the need for a thorough understanding of cumulative pressures and of regime shifts both globally and locally when trying to picture ecosystem functioning changes and species adaptation. The group will focus on several aspects of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and highlight relevant future directions.

A last group led by Katrin Schroeder and facilitated by Ángel Muñiz Piniella will explore the links of Ocean & Climate. Joanna Post from the UNFCCC gave an introduction talk for the topic, demonstrating how the links between the Ocean and climate have been ignored from international climate conventions until recently. Responding to this communication need, the group will consider what we currently know about Ocean and Climate links, and what further is needed.

You can find out more about this activity here. A final publication is expected in 2024.

Article by EMB Young Ambassador Juliette Biquet.