Aberdeen conference calls for new deal – Fishupdate.com

Aberdeen conference calls for new deal Published:  24 June, 2007

The ABERDEEN Declaration adopted unanimously at the EurOCEAN 2007 conference in Aberdeen last week calls for a new deal for marine and maritime science.

The Declaration, backed by 200 members of the European marine and maritime science and technology community attending the event makes several key points.

These recognise the “great importance” of the oceans and seas for Europe’s economic, social and environmental development, and in particular the major challenges posed by global environmental change and the “significant opportunities” offered by the global market economy.

The Declaration also:

· welcomes and supports the European Commission’s proposal for an all embracing European Maritime Policy furthering the knowledge economy (Lisbon 2000), and laying the foundation of a marine and maritime component of the European Research Area (ERA).

· is reassured that the proposed Maritime Policy is based on the principle of sustainable development (Gothenburg 2001), and considers that the Thematic Strategy for the Marine Environment, as the environmental pillar of the maritime policy, should include a clear definition of regional targets and indicators that will deliver Good Environmental Status based on the best scientific understanding.

The Declaration also calls for urgent action by the European Commission and the Member States to further develop and enhance a partnership with the appropriate stakeholders to:

1. initiate in 2008 a comprehensive and integrated European Marine and Maritime Science, Research, Technology and Innovation Strategy;

2. establish an adequately resourced and sustained process to oversee the implementation and delivery of this Strategy within an holistic European Maritime Policy;

3. initiate and support the necessary funding mechanisms, specialised infrastructures, data collection and information management, and capacity building essential to manage our on-going relationship with the oceans and seas.

The Strategy must enable:

– foresight activities to identify new and emerging scientific challenges and opportunities;

– cross-sectoral, multinational and interdisciplinary research partnerships;

– co-operation between research, industry and other stakeholders to enhance knowledge and technology transfer and innovation;

– development of scientific and technology capacity to strengthen the knowledge economy;

– shared use, planning and investment of critical infrastructure on a Europe-wide basis.

The above action says the Declaration will support the objectives of the proposed EU Maritime Policy, delivering significant added-value in key areas:

· Economic Development: to increase Europe’s share of the estimated €4,360 billion global maritime market economy through the development and up-take of innovative marine and environmental technologies.

· Environmental Management: to provide the knowledge and tools needed to implement EU Directives and Regulations, International Conventions and Regional/ National/Local Action Plans.

· Ocean and Coastal Governance: enabling the application of the principles of marine spatial planning and the ecosystem approach to resource management within the European Union, with neighbouring states and globally, supporting effective governance of the marine and maritime environment.

In this context, marine science will contribute significantly to Europe’s response to one of the greatest challenges currently facing mankind – that of Global Climate Change. This can only be achieved through a partnership focussed on:

– Mitigation: developing efficient renewable ocean energy systems, reducing CO2, improving energy security and providing new business opportunities.

– Adaptation: mobilising existing and establishing new ocean observatory and data collection systems to better understand the pace and impact of climate change on the oceans and impacts on the wider earth system. This knowledge will improve prediction and scenario modelling and the development of appropriate adaptive strategies at European, regional, national and local levels to offset and cope with negative socio-economic impacts.

The EurOCEAN 2007 Conference, occurring as it did during the final period of a commendable public consultation process on the EU Maritime Policy Green Paper, provided a “unique opportunity” for the European marine and maritime science and technology community to respond to the EU Green Paper “Towards a future for the Union: A European Vision for the Oceans and Seas”.

The Conference was attended by around 200 representatives of the European marine and maritime science and technology community, policy makers, representatives of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and other key stakeholders from 15 European Union coastal states, in addition to Norway, Australia, China, Russia, Singapore, The Ukraine and the USA, represented the culmination of an open and dynamic consultation process which has seen interested stakeholders across Europe coming together to formulate views and propose strategic initiatives regarding the role of science and technology in achieving the goals of the Maritime Policy.

EU Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Commissioner Joe Borg, who attended the event, said: “Only excellence in marine research and technology would allow us to deliver the goal of a thriving maritime economy and the realisation of the full potential of sea-based activities in an environmentally sustainable manner”.

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