Call to action

Download the Call to Action in PDF


Evolving European Ocean Observing
Connecting communities for end‐to‐end solutions
21‐23 November 2018, Brussels

Call to Action

What happens in our seas and oceans profoundly affects climate, weather and the livelihoods of
billions who depend upon their resources. Technological progress is making marine resources more
accessible, offering real solutions for clean energy and better health through resource-efficient food
and breakthrough medicines. All these are essential to meet the needs of an increasing global human
population if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe (IPCC; 2018).

Systematic observing and monitoring of our seas and oceans delivers crucial data and information
to underpin the knowledge we need to revolutionise the blue economy1 and improve our
understanding of ocean health, geohazards, and the oceans’ role in climate regulation. We therefore
need to ensure that enough of the right observations are being made now and into the future.

European countries and the EU have already invested significantly in ocean observing infrastructure
and technology. Numerous observing platforms and coordination networks exist; some activities are
already well coordinated at national, sea-basin, European and global levels. More connections are
now needed across all communities to ensure coherent priority setting, to foster collaborations, to
increase efficiency and to provide long-term sustainability. We have to move beyond current shortterm
solutions to substantially enhance the applicability and value of ocean observations as a “public
utility” for the benefit of all society.

We welcome the efforts undertaken to date to strengthen the coordination framework of ocean
observing in Europe. An open and inclusive process is now imperative to move forward.

We therefore call on European countries and the EU to examine what is currently being done
under their responsibility and establish roadmaps with specific actions and indicators to move
towards a more integrated, transparent and coordinated approach. The following key actions
should be undertaken:

1. Countries should coordinate all national marine and coastal data collection efforts to
improve efficiency, and identify priorities and gaps to meet policy and societal needs.
Observations should be standardised and operationalised within and across regional
seas, building on the work done via existing regional coordination frameworks;

2. EU agencies and authorities should consider how the EU can best rationalize its
investment and activities related to ocean observing activities. This requires a concerted
effort to ensure that different EU investments in marine and coastal data collection
infrastructures are better connected and are linked to existing data management and
sharing initiatives; and

3. Both national and European authorities should support integration and drive innovation
in infrastructure and technology development to reduce the cost and expand the coverage
of ocean data collection, while optimising data analyses, synthesis and use.

Possible further actions are suggested in an implementation plan prepared by some of the observing
community (see which is a living
document intended to encourage continued community contributions.

Progress of this Call to Action will be evaluated in one year’s time by the members of the conference
advisory committee, with support from the co-organising secretariats.


1- all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coastal areas