Understanding past, present and future human impacts on the global ocean is vital for the future of humanity. Climate change, the overexploitation of marine ecosystem services and the dispersal of contaminants have already resulted in irreversible changes, threatening marine life and beyond. There is an urgent need to fill outstanding knowledge gaps and to turn the challenges identified by the scientific community into transformative and decisive political action It is Europe's ambition to take on global leadership in tackling ocean challenges. Sustained and innovative ocean science will set the base for informed policy design and in monitoring the progress of EU initiatives. In the wake of the 2021 World Oceans Day, this conference will be a contribution to the attainment of EU Goals, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Leading scientists from Aix-Marseille University, Europe and beyond, will present their contribution along with stakeholders and EU decision-makers.
- Tackling marine ecosystem disturbance caused by climate-change: During this sequence, scientists will review the impact of climate change on the diversity and functioning of marine species and ecosystems. Panellists will discuss the extent to which our current production and consumption systems are leading towards a sixth mass extinction, if immediate and ambitious actions are not taken.
- The challenge of contaminant dispersal: The second session will debate the role of known and emerging contaminants in threatening marine ecosystems and food safety. Panellists will evaluate the effectiveness of past initiatives to reduce marine pollution, define critical knowledge gaps and discuss urgent policy actions to achieve a clean ocean.
The 2021 European Conference coincides with and aims to contribute to two major initiatives to strengthen the European and global ocean science community: the 2021-2030 United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and ‘Horizon Europe’, the framework-programme for research and innovation of the European Union, including its Starfish Mission for healthy oceans.
The maritime dimension of the European Union and of its Member States entails a particular responsibility for supporting the global partnership and help enhance scientific collaboration worldwide.