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EMB Spring Plenary Meeting 2021 - Online

Dates: 26-27 May 2021

Venue: Online due to COVID-19 crisis

During the meeting, the members were updated on EMB activities over the past 6 months since the EMB Autumn Plenary Meeting 2020, noting the differences in operation due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.

The Board were introduced to the new EMB Secretariat member, Science Officer Ana Rodriguez. A new member of the Executive Committee, Rosa Fernandez (CETMAR, Spain) was elected, replacing outgoing vice-Chair Yves-Marie Paulet (Universites Marines, France). The Board also discussed how EMB Plenary meetings may look in a post-COVID future.

The EMBCP gave a presentation on their ongoing activities, including an upcoming publications on marine science communications, and the UCP also updated on their activities. The new and current EMB Young Ambassadors also had an opportunity to introduce themselves and outline their planned activities for the coming year. The new Head of Unit for Healthy Ocean and Seas within DG RTD, Elisabetta Balzi, met the Board for the first time and presented an update on Horizon Europe. The Board also discussed the planned contribution of EMB to the UN Ocean Decade with representatives from IOC UNESCO and JPI Oceans.

In terms of science activities, the members received an update on ongoing EMB working groups on marine geohazards, sustainable funding for ocean observations, underwater noise and coastal resilience, as well as the new working group on marine renewable energy which will be kicking off shortly. They also provisionally approved the Terms of Reference for a new activity on marine habitat mapping, and voted to initiate a new EMB activity on the statement that every second breath of Oxygen comes from the ocean.

A virtual open session was hosted by EMB member University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the members were welcomed by University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Fredrika Lagergren Wahlin and Lena Gipperth, Director of the Center for Sea and Society. The session included presentations and breakout discussions on three themes, and the session was closed by Per Åberg, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Science. The discussion themes and presentations can be seen below: