On 8 and 9 May the EuroGOOS General Assembly met in Heraklion, hosted by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research and George Petihakis, EuroGOOS Chair. EuroGOOS strategy and integration were the main themes on the agenda. The meeting was attended by EuroGOOS members, chairs of the EuroGOOS activities (working groups, infrastructure task teams, and the regional systems – ROOS).
The Assembly discussed the evolution of the organization and brainstormed on the next EuroGOOS strategy 2020-2030. The brainstorming was done through an interactive session in a world café around four major areas of the strategy: high-level priorities, challenges, partnerships, and national benefits and advocacy. The results of this brainstorming will be transformed into the strategy and a roadmap for it, with the first draft prepared in the summer. The upcoming OceanObs’19 conference will further feed into the strategy preparation.
The Assembly also discussed ways to achieve a better integration between the variety of EuroGOOS activities. EuroGOOS task teams (networks of ocean observing technologies) and working groups (on science, technology, data integration and coastal ocean) are delivering best practice and state of play analysis, while the EuroGOOS Regional Operational Oceanographic Systems (ROOS) deliver regional coordination for the community. At the end of 2019, EuroGOOS will host an integration workshop bringing all those activities together to brainstorm and agree steps to action the new EuroGOOS strategy and the support needed from the EuroGOOS office.
At the formal part of the meeting, the Assembly approved and warmly welcomed three new members to EuroGOOS: SHOM, France, PLOCAN, Spain, and NIVA, Norway. Representatives of these organizations showcased activities and future contributions to EuroGOOS, spanning technological development, observing integration, ocean monitoring, and ocean literacy. The Assembly also elected a new member to the Executive Directors Board – Holger Brix of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht in Germany. Two Executive Board members stepped down upon the completion of their full mandates – the Assembly thanked Urmas Lips, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, and Bernd Brugge, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, BSH, Germany, for their contributions to the work of the Board over the past six years. At the Assembly, Chair George Petihakis signed the EuroGOOS office hosting agreement with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), represented by Patrick Roose and Sebastien Legrand. RBINS will host the EuroGOOS secretariat in its Brussels offices (also housing the Belgian Museum of Natural Sciences) from the end of 2019.