G7 Science and Technology Ministers set Ocean Observation as a priority for the Future of the Oceans | POGO

G7 Science and Technology Ministers set Ocean Observation as a priority for the Future of the Oceans

At the 2016 G7 Science and Technology Ministers meeting in Tsukuba, Japan, ocean observation was defined as a key priority for the future of the oceans.  In line with the G7 ocean expert working group, POGO had proactively contacted the G7 to speak out for the ocean observation system.


‘The Future of the Seas and Oceans’ has been on the agenda of the G7 Science and Technology Minister’s Meeting since 2015. Importantly, this year's official communiqué  shows a clear shift in focus to embrace the ocean observation system.


In a letter sent to the G7 members, science ministers and their representatives, POGO stressed the importance of high quality, systematic, continuous and global scale observations. POGO emphasised that without a networked system of ocean observations, mitigation and adaptation strategies ensuring a sustainable human ocean future can be considered next to impossible.


In the actions outlined in their communiqué, the G7 Science and Technology Ministers have endorsed the development of enhanced global sea and ocean observations, acknowledging the success of the Argo network. Stressing that the health of the oceans was included as the United Nations sustainable development goal 14 (SDG 14), further support will be given to continuous ocean assessment through the UN Regular Process. Both issues have high priority for POGO, and by acknowledging their importance, ministers followed closely the recommendations of the G7 ocean expert working group. Several POGO members participated in a workshop at the National Oceanography Centre, UK in March 2016 to contribute to these recommendations. In addition, two pillars that POGO has been advocating since its conception in 1999 have been included, namely: 1)  the promotion of open science and global data sharing; and 2)  the strengthening of collaborative approaches to encourage the development of regional observing capabilities including capacity building in developing countries. Importantly, the Group of Earth Observation was mentioned as a key player in open science. This global visibility of GEO highlights the importance of maintaining the GEO initiative ‘Blue Planet’.


Owing to its constructive work, the expert group ‘Future of the Oceans and Seas’ will be maintained for future G7 summits.


These results clearly show how beneficial the input of the scientific community can be in shaping crucial policy decisions for the future of the oceans. Developing and maintaining a global observation system is paramount to advance the understanding of the ocean and its wise use for humankind. POGO will continue to offer its scientific perspective to guide policy makers and support the development of such a truly global system.


The Tsukuba Communiqué from the G7 Science and Technology Ministers’ meeting in Tsukuba, Ibaraki can be seen here: http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/science/2016-tsukuba.html



This article was provided by Magdalena Wutte, Assistant Scientific Coordinator, POGO Secretariat. 

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