The IOC and the European Commission (EC) are cooperating in areas of governance and research within the IOC mandate. Furthermore, the IOC and the EC share a common view on the importance of creating capacity in developing countries. IOC can serve as a bridge to foster international cooperation with other regions of the world (e.g. in the implementation of the MSFD in the Mediterranean and Black Sea).

The convergences between the two organisations' objectives are clear and there is scope for strengthening cooperation and exchanges on Marine and Maritime policy and in the context of IOC’s Three Expected Results and EC priorities and Directives. IOC has been leading the promotion of this practical approach to ocean governance over the past 15 years: its 2009 Guide to Marine Spatial Planning has become the international standard for the implementation of Marine Spatial Planning and the main reference for the European Commission to develop the most recent marine policies, including the improvement of institutional capacities of the EU Member States.

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) provides a framework for an ecosystem-based approach for sustainable use of marine goods and services by human activities. IOC and the EC are cooperating in the implementation of the UN Regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment and MSFD. Both processes could be nested and metrics for the descriptors harmonized.

Some of the currently ongoing projects with a CD component where IOC partners with the EC are listed as follows:

1) IOC has closely worked with the EU in Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation Systems, in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and Connected Seas (ICG/NEAMTWS). However, there has been also European membership in all Intergovernmental Coordination Groups for Tsunami Early Warning Systems through Overseas Territories, in the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean. The Hazard mitigation work of the IOC also includes capacity development and training courses, supply of equipment, educational materials for youth of different ages, modelling inundation maps, tsunami detection buoys, etc. Having successfully implemented the project ‘Tsunami Information Centre for the North-Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (NEAMTIC ) and working now on the NEAMWave14, the IOC hopes to continue its collaboration with the EC in this important area, possibly within the recently approved pilot project on natural disasters. The project NEAMTIC had the following objectives:
• Make citizens, especially youth, aware of risks of floods from the sea in coastal areas, such as tsunamis, storm surges and strong swells
• Acquire knowledge on and practicing safe behaviour;
• Identify, share and disseminate good practices in plans, methods and procedures to strengthen preparedness for sea-level related hazards, including mitigation through integrated coastal zone management approaches;
• Fostering linkages between the European Commission and the IOC on intergovernmental and transnational actions to develop the NEAMTWS.

IOC participated in the EC-funded project PEGASO (People for Ecosystem-based Governance in Assessing the Sustainable Development of Ocean and Coast), which aimed to develop coastal and marine sustainable management and planning tools in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to support the Mediterranean Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol. PEGASO fostered internal capacity (http://www.pegasoproject.eu/training) to ensure that the team members engaged effectively with each other in this complex, multi- and trans-disciplinary project. The consortium built and enhanced capacity in the end-user communities, so that the outcomes of the project were implemented, sustained and lead to improved management and policy practices within the study region.

The IOC/IODE is a partner in the SeaDataNet Project, which aims at achieving a standardised system for managing the large and diverse data sets collected by the oceanographic fleets and the automatic observation systems in Europe and surrounding seas. The SeaDataNet infrastructure network enhances the currently existing infrastructures, which are the national oceanographic data centres of 35 countries, active in data collection. The networking of these professional data centres, in a unique virtual data management system provide integrated data sets of standardized quality online. An important component of the project is dedicated to CD in order to allow data exchange and interoperability across all European (and beyond) ocean data providers, where IOC/IODE assumes a relevant role. The training courses are available online through the OceanTeacher Learning Platform.

Horizon 2020 EC Funding

In the context of the European Horizon 2020 Research Framework, IOC is participating in other projects which include a strong component of capacity development and training, mainly to facilitate the involvement of stakeholders in policy processes linked with coastal and marine waters and biodiversity.

1) The AQUACROSS project seeks to expand current knowledge and foster the practical application of the ecosystem-based management (EBM) concept for all aquatic (freshwater, coastal, and marine) ecosystems (as a continuum) by contributing to the development of robust and cost-effective responses integrated management practices, and innovative business models addressing current and future changes in major drivers and pressures, integrated management practices, and innovative business models such as green and blue infrastructures.

2) The IOC (GOOS) is a partner in the EC RTD Horizon 2020-funded AtlantOS project, which focuses on transforming Atlantic ocean observing activities into a fit-for-purpose system delivering societal benefit. The project includes a student exchange scheme led by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), which will focus on developing actionable local ocean services from existing Atlantic Ocean observations and forecast systems.

3) IOC is a partner in the project “HAB-ILITY, Harmful Algal Blooms – International, Learning, Innovation, Transferring for Young researchers ETN” .

All EU states are obliged to monitor toxin levels in shellfish and algal cells in aquaculture sites. HAB-ILITY ETN (Harmful Algal Blooms – International, Learning, Innovation and Transferring for Young researchers) proposes to act within an international and global space, proposing learning through research as an effective strategy to ensure, in the near future, the development of novel approaches for emerging topics related with HABs that may favour technological innovations and knowledge transfer and the future employability of young researchers in the community to better predict and manage HABs.
HAB-ILITY proposes to work along 3 scientific work-packages (WPs) integrating 12 ESRs in particular fields of HAB research. The first WP focuses on understanding the ecology of HABs and oceanographic tools will be developed for better detection and forecasting of blooms. The second WP studies the toxin production and detection for more efficient detection of regulated and emerging toxins. The third WP will assess the socio-economic impact of HABs and mitigation.
Several scientists in the proposal are involved in European and international working groups ensuring a proper focus on current research priorities. Furthermore, several scientists in the HAB-ILITY network are involved in official monitoring programs and participation of non-academic organisations has been considered in order to provide hosting and training closer to societal needs and facilitate the future employability of ESRs.

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