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On the way to the UN Ocean Conference

On the way to the UN Ocean Conference

On the way to the UN Ocean Conference: All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance as a new approach to R&I collaboration in the Atlantic

The first Blue Talks event was organized by the Embassies of Portugal and Kenya in Brasília, together with the UN in Brazil, on the 16th and 17th of March, in a hybrid format. It represented the first of several initiatives that will mobilize all stakeholders in the preparations for the Second United Nations Ocean Conference (UNOC), which will take place from June 27 to July 1, in Lisbon, co-hosted by the Portuguese and Kenyan governments.

Cooperation, dialogue, and partnership among countries have been at the core of the discussion, as crucial tools to reach the ambitions of SDG14, as well as the need to equally engage stakeholders, including youth and civil society. The All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance has been mentioned as a concrete example and model of sustained multi-stakeholder cooperation at the Atlantic scale

The event has been carried out in two sessions: the first one, on the 16th, focused on the links between SDG14 (Oceans) and SDG6 (Drinking Water and Sanitation), where the need for cooperation between freshwater and saltwater communities has been highlighted. Several needs for better management have been identified, such as adequate regulation, governance, cooperation, stakeholders’ engagement, and social and economic integration.

The second session, on the 17th, was about the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and its support to the Blue Amazon. The session was moderated by Sofia Cordeiro from FCT, Coordinator of AANChOR CSA, with the participation of various All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance’s stakeholders for the panel discussion.

Sofia Cordeiro presented the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance’s ambitions and its support to the SDG14 focusing on the three pillars, CONNECTION, ACTION, and COOPERATION, topics under which the panel discussions were driven.

“The All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance is contributing to the SDG14 by producing and promoting ocean knowledge exchange, enhancing scientific training and serving as a model for enlarged cooperation in Ocean Research and Innovation”

Sofia Cordeiro, FCT, Coordinator of AANChOR

Under the CONNECTION pillar, the current success of three of the All-Atlantic Joint Pilot Actions (JPAs), which are the All-Atlantic Ocean Capacity Development and Training Platform (AA-TP), the All-Atlantic Blue Schools Network (AA-BSN) and the All-Atlantic Marine Research Infrastructure Network (AA-MARINET), was discussed in terms of the number of different countries connected, and engagement of stakeholders and already existing initiatives. These topics were highlighted by each of the All-Atlantic Joint Pilot Action representatives, Luís Menezes Pinheiro, professor of the University of Aveiro and CP-COI/UNESCO President, Ronaldo Christofoletti, professor of Instituto do Mar – UNIFESP and João Vitorino, oceanographer at the Hydrographic Institute of the Portuguese Navy. Another example of an initiative that has successfully managed to generate one of the strongest movements to connect research and innovation within the Atlantic Ocean is the “AIR Centre Networking Fridays” series of events, organized by the AIR Centre, and presented by José Moutinho, Chief Business and Network Developer at the AIR Centre.

Under the ACTION pillar, the discussion verted on the current activities carried under the three JPAs AA-TP, AA-BSN and AA-MARINET, which are respectively focusing on capacity building, Ocean literacy, and infrastructure sharing. Training at sea has been considered one of the most important parts for an effective education of the young talents, reason why the AA-TP is keen to create a network of programmes promoting training at sea around the Atlantic, which will inclusively support the different capacities of all countries. In the scope of the AA-BSN, Ronaldo Christofaletti has underlined the exchange of knowledge among cultures and countries of the Atlantic a crucial aspect of successful educational programmes in schools, based on Ocean Literacy principles. José Moutinho, in relation to the AA-MARINET, highlighted the importance of the online portal of Infrastructure Sharing which will enable networking and synergies among all stakeholders on ocean observation, enhancing research capacity among the Atlantic countries.

The benefits of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance for better monitoring and management of the Brazilian Atlantic coast and waters shared capacities and literacy, has been highlighted by Alexander Turra, professor and coordinator of the Oceanographic Institute and the chair for Ocean Sustainability at USP, and Wim Degrave, coordinator of the project FIONTAR. The speakers have also stressed the current important role of social technologies in society awareness and the need for low-cost monitoring systems availability.

Under the COOPERATION pillar, the All-Atlantic Pledging Campaign has been cited as an impactful tool that gathers commitments by several stakeholders and institutions to provide solutions by cooperating on the many challenges that the Atlantic Ocean is facing, while enhancing stakeholders’ engagement in already existing activities.

The importance of cooperation for a better acquirement of knowledge of the Atlantic waters has also been highlighted by Captain of Sea and War Frederico Nogueira, who presented various other Atlantic cooperation programmes the Brazilian navy is committed to. The needs of infrastructure sharing, data availability and sharing, and capacity activities, which are precious results of cooperation, have been reinforced by all panellists, who agreed on the principle that observation activities are carried out for the final goal of a healthier ocean and therefore, for the benefits of our entire society.

The All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance “has changed the way we cooperate”, as mentioned by Zaira Turchi, Director of Institutional Cooperation at CNPq and Belém Co-Chair from Brazil, in a new approach based on Ocean Science diplomacy and on inclusive ocean science, which will be one of the main inputs of the Alliance for the Agenda 2030 and the UN Decade of Ocean Science.

“All the science developments and all the cooperation promoted by All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance is for society benefit”

Zaira Turchi, Director of Institutional Cooperation at CNPq and Belém Co-Chair

To know more about the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance, Zaira Turchi invited all stakeholders to participate in the next All-Atlantic Ocean Research Forum that will take place this year in Brazil (end of May/beginning of June) and in the United States (mid-July). More information about this event will soon be disseminated through the All-Atlantic Ocean Research portal and social media.

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