OceanObs’19 – integrating the ocean knowledge to meet societal needs

OceanObs’19 has just finished after five intense days of exchanges in plenary, breakouts, exhibition and networking. The event engaged 1,360 participants from 74 countries and 2,500 white paper co-authors have contributed to the design of the programme and the conference statement.

OceanObs’19 charted the way forward in the ocean observing integration, innovation, effective governance and sustainability. The OceanObs’19 conference statement recognizes that ocean observing products and services are required more than ever by a wide range of users. Linking with the diversity of users is not enough, a really fit-for-purpose observing system requires co-design, stakeholder engagement and transdisciplinarity. These discussions were echoed by the statements from intergovernmental agencies, IOC-UNESCO, WMO and others, as well as policymakers, like the European Commission.

The OceanObs’19 conference stressed the need to promote the value of ocean observations, both tangible and intangible, and called for development of more use cases showing the importance and benefits of ocean observing. Furthermore, the value of all types of knowledge, both scientific and traditional, has been emphasized. The OceanObs’19 indigenous delegation submitted their statement calling for more inclusiveness, sharing, and mutual benefits.

EuroGOOS was an intellectual sponsor of the conference and supported the OceanObs’19 communication and outreach. EuroGOOS was involved in the community building breakout led by the US Consortium of Ocean Leadership. We were co-organizers of the OceanObs’19 side event celebrating women in oceanography and the broader diversity – Breaking Waves, Breaking Barriers, attracting 400 participants. We had a successful exhibition stand with a community lounge and many material displays allowing the EuroGOOS members, regions, task teams and projects to use this space for promotion and networking. Last but not least, we presented the EuroGOOS ocean literacy efforts in a dedicated poster. EuroGOOS member AZTI tecnalia ran demonstrations of its successful European project Lema, bringing together in situ observations, citizen science, ocean modelling and ocean literacy while developing a tool to support decision making by the local authorities.

The OceanObs’19 Living Action Plan will be formulated in coming months. Next OceanObs will take place in 2029 in Quingdao, China. The OceanObs’19 website will feature all presentations and pictures from the event.