White paper “The Mediterranean Sea We Want” defines science needs and opportunities in the Ocean Decade

A community white paper “The Mediterranean Sea We Want” has been released in the Ocean and Coastal Research journal. The paper presents the main science needs, gaps, and challenges for implementing the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (Ocean Decade) in the Mediterranean region. This is the result of a collaborative effort of 58 authors from 14 countries, stemming from regional consultations on the implementation of the Ocean Decade in the Mediterranean (the Ocean Decade preparatory workshop in Venice and a follow-on virtual session on co-designing science and capacity).

The Mediterranean sea, identified as a climate change vulnerability hotspot, is exposed to natural and anthropogenic threats preventing the region to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030. The region is suffering from the increasing risk of extreme events and unsustainable management, affecting the population’s safety. Transitioning to a sustainable blue economy is the key to a healthy and productive marine environment for future generations. The Ocean Decade framework has offered an unprecedented opportunity to enhance the knowledge base needed for the Mediterranean sea management.

The paper reviews the state of play in the Mediterranean science for each Ocean Decade outcome and identifies research trends and challenges as well as capacity development needs for the unique environmental and socio-economic conditions of the Mediterranean (Figure 1). The authors make recommendations on knowledge needs and the development of co-design actions. By integrating and improving our scientific knowledge, Ocean Literacy, and ocean observing capacities, building on international cooperation, it will be possible to reach the Mediterranean sea we want. Many members of the EuroGOOS community are among the co-authors of this important document. In addition to the journal of Ocean and Coastal Research, this paper is also available on our website – here

This white paper serves the development of the Ocean Decade Programme SciNMeet, subtitled The Science We Need for the Mediterranean We Want, endorsed by the IOC-UNESCO. 

Figure1: Scientific and capacity development gaps for seven Ocean Decade outcomes, as defined in the Ocean Decade preparatory workshop for the Mediterranean region (Venice, January 2020)

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