On 13 July 2017, Atlantic Ocean stakeholders from science and policy gathered in Lisbon to witness history unfold as the Belém Statement was signed, launching a strategic alliance between the European Union, Brazil and South Africa. In celebration, and to stimulate new collaborations and knowledge sharing, a high-level ministerial and scientific event entitled “A New Era of Blue Enlightenment” was organised in parallel to this event from 12-14 July 2017. Key cooperation areas were outlined as: Climate variability; Food security, fisheries management, aquaculture and biodiversity; The effects of emerging pollutants; Ocean observation (including seabed mapping), forecasting and monitoring processes and systems; Oceans technology (including for observation and renewable marine energy); and, Polar research (especially interconnections between the Atlantic, the Southern Ocean and Antarctica).
The event comprised a "Project and Ideas Meeting Place", as well as keynote speeches and roundtable discussions. AquaTT and EurOcean hosted the workshop “H2020 COLUMBUS Project – Knowledge Transfer for Blue Growth”.
The COLUMBUS session looked to highlight how focused effort can stimulate impact from existing research and innovations in the marine and maritime sector, presenting case studies of interest to audiences representing the Atlantic Ocean. The scene was set by David Murphy (AquaTT) and Ned Dwyer (EurOcean), and three case studies of Knowledge Transfer were presented by Georgia Bayliss-Brown (AquaTT). The session closed having gathered insights from attendees on the need to build capacity in methodologies to maximise impact from research investment in the South Atlantic and expressing the potential for Knowledge Transfer between Europe and the South Atlantic. A brief meeting report has been submitted to the European Commission for publication.
The Belém Tower and venue for the signing of the Belém Statement (Image: Planetware)