Co-designing a pan-Arctic ocean observing alliance

EuroGOOS was a co-organiser of the sessions ‘Co-designing a pan-Arctic ocean observing alliance’ at the Arctic Observing Summit (AOS) 2024, in Edinburgh during Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW). The session featured a summary of the identified need for an Arctic alliance for ocean observing (such as a GOOS Regional Alliance) and a timeline of efforts to establish one over several years. This was followed by a panel on ‘Arctic ocean observing: global context and large-scale regional initiatives’, featuring existing ocean observing networks active in the Arctic (including Arctic ROOS), and an Indigenous-led panel ‘Ocean observing: The rights, needs, and contributions of Arctic communities’. Key issues discussed included the need to connect the relevance of global-scale observing programmes to the needs of Arctic communities at local and regional scales, the great cultural importance of marine environments to Arctic communities alongside their role in subsistence and livelihoods, and the proper integration of Indigenous knowledge alongside western scientific knowledge systems. Emphasis was made on the rights of Indigenous communities to control activities, including ocean observing, in community’s region, and the need for improved training of researchers on how to appropriately engage and build trust with communities in the Arctic.

Several recommendations and actions from the meeting will be taken up but the international task team working to advance a process towards a pan-Arctic ocean observing alliance. The task team has also received formal endorsement from Sustaining Arctic Observing Systems (SAON), and remains open to further participants.