Hosted by
Event co-organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union Council and the European Commission
2nd - 4th June 2021
Feel free to read the Final Programme of this event
Side events (2nd and 3rd June)
Main conference days (3rd and 4th June)
Check out the event panellists.
2021 Ponta Delgada

2021 Ponta Delgada - Concept note

The “All-Atlantic R&I for a Sustainable Ocean: Ministerial High-level & Stakeholders Conference”, Ponta Delgada, 2-4 June 2021, brought to a new level the existing dialogue and cooperation undertaken under the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Focusing the theme “Connecting, Acting, Cooperating”, the aim of the All-Atlantic2021 Conference was to promote networking between Ministries, high-level representatives and ocean leaders including researchers, youth, entrepreneurs, academics and civil society, from along and across the Atlantic Ocean.  The event programme took participants through networkingministerialinstitutional and thematic sessions which fed into the closing session reflecting on the next level of ambition and the way forward for our cooperative scientific efforts in the Atlantic Ocean.

The networking sessions (June 2nd and 3rd) took place in the conference online Blue Corridor where All-Atlantic Ocean Projects and Initiatives showcased their latest activities and promoted further collaboration to complement each other’s initiatives. The ministerial session (June 4th) focussed on how to sustain the ongoing All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation cooperation in the long term. The institutional sessions (June 4th) focussed on the achievements of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and the synergies that can be built amongst the many Atlantic Ocean existing research and innovation cooperative efforts. Thematic sessions (June 3rd and 4th) showcased Atlantic community needs and Atlantic initiatives focused on providing solutions to the challenges faced by our Atlantic Ocean communities. Some thematic sessions have been followed by panel discussions between community leaders, researchers, industry and Youth Ambassadors from along and across the Atlantic, from the Arctic to Antarctica.

As a step forward in the work developed by the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, this three-day event intended to contribute to leveraging the All-Atlantic R&I Cooperation through two main legacy outputs, an EU Portuguese Presidency Conference Declaration and the All-Atlantic Pledging Platform, providing an excellent opportunity to strengthen and contribute to the European Green Deal, to the Horizon Europe Mission on Ocean, Seas and Waters, as well as to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

This event followed on the very successful All-Atlantic Ocean Research Fora (Brazil, 23 – 24 July 2018Belgium, 6 – 7 February 2020, and South Africa, 3 – 4 December 2020).

All-Atlantic 2021 Legacy
The All-Atlantic Pledging Platform

The All-Atlantic Pledging Campaign is a long-term initiative to collect voluntary, result-oriented, personal or institutional commitments to contribute to provide solutions to the many challenges that the Atlantic Ocean holds for people living on its shores and consolidate them on an Atlantic Ocean scale, always taking into account specific local, national and regional contexts. The campaign is taking place thanks to an online collaborative platform for advancing or initiating cooperation in the Atlantic region aimed at advancing the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

The well-being of present and future generations relies on our collective effort: now is the time to act.

Find more information about the All-Atlantic Pledging Platform here 

The Portuguese Presidency Declaration

The Portuguese Presidency Declaration is a natural result of the Ministerial High Level & Stakeholders Dialogue and has been issued during the Conference, called “The Azores Declaration on All-Atlantic Research & Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean. The Portuguese Presidency Declaration is a major milestone for the continued cooperation along and across the Atlantic Ocean promoting sustainable use of this shared resource.

Side Events

The Blue Corridor, which are a series of online side events (11:30 AM – 7:00 PM UTC on June 2nd and 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM UTC on June 3rd), showcased latest activities of different All-Atlantic Ocean Projects and Initiatives and promoted further collaboration amongst complementary initiatives from along and across the Atlantic Ocean in the six thematic priority areas identified by the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance: (1) Atlantic Ocean Health: climate variability and ecosystem approaches, (2) Atlantic Ocean observation, forecasting and monitoring, (3) Food security, ocean resources and biodiversity, (4) Ocean Technology, (5) Marine pollution, and (6) Polar research. For more information about the side events scheduling and their respective registration forms, visit:

Side Events 2nd of July:

“Unlocking the potential for a microbiome-based blue economy along and across the Atlantic”
The side event revolved around interactive talks based on a series of predetermined questions that encompass the objectives of the All-Atlantic Forum.  Three panels on cross-cutting challenges worked interactively to plan/pledge collaborations in marine microbiome research, development, and innovation in the All-Atlantic.  Panel members were made up of people with a special interest in these areas: Youth Ambassadors, researchers, policymakers, and business leaders, and will span the Atlantic from pole to pole and coast to coast.


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"All-Atlantic Floating University Network"

This side event aimed to prepare the creation of an All-Atlantic floating university cooperation network that will promote the exchange of ideas, collaboration related to training at sea and capacity development, in the context of Galway and Belem statements. Presentations were given from existing training at sea networks, as well as from university programs that provide training at sea courses.


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"Atlantic Pole to Pole: Climate Science 2 Policy"

What kind of research priorities should be taken into account in establishing a framework for international collaboration in the next decades?

The climatic importance of the Atlantic Ocean is widely recognized. In the north, the AMOC plays a major role in driving climate variability of many ocean and atmosphere systems. In the south, ocean circulation sinks at the bottom of the ocean, propagating climate signals to the ocean abysses, and participating in buffering climate change. Abrupt changes in these circulation systems could have major impacts on ecosystems and societies. Scientific cooperation and management responses, as well as long-term strategies for sustained Atlantic observations, are critical to fill in research gaps.

Agenda & Final Report

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"Connecting Subsea Cables and Satellites for Global Oceans Health Monitoring"

The MIT Flagship Project K2D: This session is aimed at discussing the development of an unprecedented oceans monitoring system at the global scale. By taking advantage of the worldwide existing infrastructure of submarine communications cables, the novel monitoring system will be based on basic environmental variables as a standard. Additionally, it will develop a persistent and widespread presence of underwater autonomous vehicles, monitoring stations and other relevant sensors. Coupled with space systems, information and other essential variables, the data retrieved is intended to allow the mapping and monitoring of natural and human activities as well as earth systems vital variables which are critical for sustainability, prosperity and environmental equilibrium in the Atlantic and other areas of the planet. Within the context of the MIT Portugal flagship project under development named K2D – Knowledge and Data from the Deep to Space, the first insights and proposed concepts will be presented. By addressing the current state of knowledge on Ocean environmental monitoring and health, the panelists will address the main challenges posed to the implementation of global environmental monitoring systems for Oceans, and their relation to both subsea cables and space systems


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"All Atlantic COASTal observing and technology NETwork – AA-COASTNET"

The AA-COASTNET AANChOR Joint Action will establish a network dedicated to Marine Coastal Observation with countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean This event will showcase the long-term goals of AA-COASTNET to optimise the appropriate use and sharing of research infrastructures to achieve the Belém and Galway statement objectives. The core members of the network will share know-how and strategies to increase operational efficiencies to better answer societal and policy needs.


"Overview of scientific knowledge on the oceanic field in Morocco"

This side event aims to provide a presentation of Moroccan and Portuguese initiatives that can enhance marine research and innovation cooperation along and across the Atlantic Ocean namely in the context of Galway and Belem statements. In this sense, 7 conferences are programmed from the global introductory level and governance to the presentation of concrete cases, tools and technologies related to marine sciences.

Agenda & Final Report

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"Atlantic Seabed Mapping and Exploration – Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities"

Seabed mapping is important for a wide range of interdisciplinary studies, and several projects in the Atlantic Ocean share a vision for developing capacity and a strong international coalition that shares mapping data, approaches and knowledge to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. This Side Event will summarize the current state of seabed mapping and exploration in the Atlantic, trace the progress and lessons learned from existing efforts, and explore opportunities for developing new collaborations to accelerate progress toward common goals throughout the Atlantic.

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"The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) – Advancing Collaborative Biodiversity Observations"

The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) is the marine thematic network under the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON). This session is designed for stakeholders to “cooperate, connect and act” as an MBON community of practice to observe life in the sea for operational and research purposes. Among the goals of the session is to continue to coordinate toward regional efforts for a successful UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (the Ocean Decade). To cooperate, participants from academia, early career professionals, the private sector, and civil society, across the Atlantic Ocean – from Pole to Pole – will discuss how to strengthen links and empower ocean research and innovation. A session to talk about the need for ocean biological observations in ecosystem-based management and sustainable uses of the ocean connects the marine research community across the Atlantic. Citizen science and co-production of knowledge between researchers and stakeholders will be brought into the frame for increased cross-sectoral and cross-border support. Acting together to develop pilot programs, capacity building efforts, coordination mechanisms, and identifying funding opportunities will help advance the connections and cooperation efforts.

Agenda Final Report

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"Networking from pole to pole: facilitating access for research and infrastructure"

The side event is the start of the Joint Action on Polar Research. We shall initiate a dialogue between the Belem partners on how to develop a network that facilitates access for the All-Atlantic partners to national research facilities and infrastructure at the poles (also referred to as “cross-border” access). The workshop identifies challenges, best practices, and next steps for implementing cross border access to polar research facilities and infrastructure.


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"The Blue Azores Program – How a Transatlantic Partnership is Bridging the Gap between Science, Policy and Civil Society for Ocean Conservation"

Exploring the Blue Azores Program, a transatlantic partnership between the Regional Government of the Azores, Oceano Azul Foundation and the Waitt Institute, to protect, promote and value the Sea of the Azores.
Featuring voices from each of the Blue Azores partners on either side of the Atlantic, this event explored how the program originated, its international scientific collaboration, and address the ways in which connecting with civil society are key to successful ocean conservation.

The Blue Azores All-Atlantic 2021 side event brought together representatives from the partnership of the Blue Azores program for an engaging conversation on the origins of the transatlantic partnership and how the program is bridging the gap between science, policy and civil society. The virtual event received 150 registrations and 101 attendees from 26 different countries. The Facebook live stream reached 18K people, 19% of which were not previously connected to the Blue Azores program.

"Opening doors for early-career ocean professionals"

A workshop to identify and discuss barriers facing youth in ocean professions and to brainstorm possible solutions. The event gathered youth to talk about struggles they face and how marine scientists can open doors and foster opportunities for early-career community. It covered topics such as funding and payment, gaps between science and policy, diversity and inclusion, academic bottlenecks and publication struggles, youth empowerment and administration problems.

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"Marine robotic infrastructures network: lessons learned and future developments"

The event was a unique opportunity to present and discuss before a wide audience the lessons learned in the course of the EU Marine Robots project, a Marine robotics research infrastructure network H2020 initiative that has opened-up key national and regional marine robotics research infrastructures to all European researchers, ensuring their optimal use and joint development, and is establishing a world-class marine robotics integrated infrastructure. The targeted audience included operators of marine robotics infrastructures, scientists involved in ocean observation, companies working on ocean exploration and sustainable exploitation, marine robotic technology developers, and governmental institutions across the Atlantic.
The meeting event added weight to the realization worldwide that underwater, surface, air, and space robots are steadily becoming the tools para excellence for ocean exploration, observation and exploitation. Further, building on the success of the EU Marine Robots project there was an ample discussion on the future of networked marine robotic infra-structures, with a view to All-Atlantic exploration, observation, sustainable exploitation, and new science and services enabled by innovative technology.  


"Challenges and Opportunities in the spread of Sargassum across the tropical Atlantic Ocean"

This side event presented and discussed the challenges, solutions, and opportunities behind the spread of Sargassum across the Tropical Atlantic. During the event, experts introduced the state-of-the-art research on the spread mechanisms, various impacts and the present capacity of monitoring and forecasting of Sargassum.
The event also introduced the Sargassum Information Hub ( and the UNEP – Cartagena Convention White Paper on Sargassum. A panel session with experts and stakeholders served to catalyse linkages, actions, and coordination across the Atlantic Ocean. By showcasing solution strategies and creating space for discussion and collaboration between scientists, engineers and stakeholders, the event provided powerful insight into the opportunities. 

Final Report

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"Atlantic Contributions to the Global Ocean Observing System"

The side event “Atlantic Contributions to the Global Ocean Observing System” focused on setting recommendations to create a more synergistic and efficient Observing System in the Atlantic and to better connect various stakeholders in the Atlantic from observers, industry to end-users. Keynote talks highlighted the three areas of the Atlantic, North, South and Tropics and discussed ongoing efforts, gaps and needs while the panel discussion focused on providing targeted recommendations. 
Some highlights include: Connectivity between the UN Decade programs and the ocean observing value chain to ensure sharing of best practices and knowledge; Unified data standards and FAIR data principles to ensure accessibility and dissemination of information to end-users; Maximize the economic benefit of observing information, products and services; Bridge gaps between the silos of the ocean observing value chain; Increase mission-based observations; Co-designing of projects and initiatives for the benefit of society.