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2020-05-11

Capacity Development Workshop discussed joint actions promoting transatlantic cooperation

There is no question humankind is dependent on the ocean, from survival to pleasure and everything in between. Research and innovation are crucial to better understand the ocean process and regulation and are the base for sound decisions. Several initiatives exist at national, European and international level to support research am innovation supporting the sustainable use of the ocean. One of these initiatives is the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

One of the objectives of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance is the construction of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Community. Through the promotion of new models of cooperation around the whole Atlantic Ocean basin, this massive coordinated and partnership-based endeavour will encourage joint activities, increment operational efficiency within marine research, expand our common understanding and scientific knowledge on the Atlantic, and leverage capacity development through scientific exchange. In order to achieve this objective five stakeholders’ platforms were created under the AANChOR project to foster the interaction of experts of various key scientific areas. On 5 February 2020, on the eve of the second All-Atlantic Ocean Research Forum (Brussels, Belgium), the AANChOR project gathered dozens of experts in five different workshops to better understand what should be the next steps in each of their fields of transatlantic cooperation.

A key aspect of AANChOR’s work involves improving Capacity Development (CD) around the Atlantic. CD is the process of helping societies, organizations, and individuals to set and achieve their objectives; many need help in this area for a variety of reasons from lack of infrastructure and training to corruption and more. AANChOR includes a stakeholders’ platform exclusively to increase capacity development in the Atlantic. It encompasses a group of marine and policy experts from Europe, Africa, and the Americas who met in Brussels in one of the CSA’s workshop to set in motion what will hopefully be years of improvements for the Atlantic CD.

Nearly thirty Platform members and guests analyzed many of the known Atlantic Ocean CD programs, initiatives, organizations, and projects in an AANChOR’s workshop organized by the project partner KDM-ZMT from Germany. They explored the related needs and gaps with an end goal to develop potential joint actions (e.g., initiatives, programs, etc.) to tackle the disparities. The joint actions should increase transatlantic collaboration in CD programs in the Atlantic while focusing on the blue economy and increasing innovative initiatives adapted to professionals across fields. They should also improve efficiency, make better use of existing capacities and expertise, avoid duplicative actions, and create highly trained professionals who can face the challenges and opportunities in the Atlantic. 

After a solid day of work incorporating various perspectives from candid conversations and the group’s collective knowledge, the team came up with three potential ideas for joint actions:

  1. Set up a cross-South Atlantic community to foster knowledge exchange, strengthening capacity development and building confidence.
  2. Address the skills shortfalls and train technical staff in Atlantic countries to maintain and update ocean technology equipment.
  3. Create an All-Atlantic Floating University Network to address the global need for training at sea for young scientists, technicians, and administrators - particularly for less developed countries.

Upon further development through mid-2020, the joint actions may be submitted for funding under the seed money to be granted by AANChOR.

The workshop was chaired by AANChOR's partners from Brazil and South Africa, who are also chairing AANChOR’s Capacity Development activities. Questions and comments regarding our CD platform should be directed to nicolas.dittert@leibniz-zmt.de.

The All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance is an international initiative supporting research and innovation promoting the sustainable use of the oceans. It is the result of various science diplomacy efforts involving Atlantic countries on both sides of the Equator line. It aims at enhancing marine research and innovation cooperation along and across the Atlantic Ocean, from the Arctic to Antarctica. To learn more about the Alliance and its relationship with the Galway and Belém Statements and the Administrative Arrangements with Argentina and Cape Verde, please have a look at this video or read this brochure.