GEO Blue Planet working group on stakeholders and societal awareness works  to promote communication between those who need better knowledge of the ocean and coasts with those who are capable of producing that knowledge using ocean and coastal observation technologies.

A core group of working group members identify and guide priority activities. Task Teams with additional members from the GEO Blue Planet Steering Committee and other interested parties are formed to implement short-term activities (6 - 18 months).

Name Affiliation
Louis Celliers (co-lead) Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), Germany
Sophie Seeyave (co-lead) Partnership for the Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO), UK
Emily Smail National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and University of Maryland, USA
Samy Djavidnia European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Portugal
René Garello  Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), France
Linwood Pendleton  World Wildlife Fund (WWF), USA
Hans-Peter Plag Old Dominion University (ODU) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), USA

Activities to Increase the Awareness of the Value of Ocean and Coastal Observations

The ocean is generally not recognized by large portions of the world’s population as being a priority, despite being a major source of food, transport and recreation, a large contributor to the global economy, supporting a significant proportion of the global population. Many social and economic processes on land are impacting the ocean severely (for example, the flows of nutrients, plastics, and chemical pollutants into the ocean, and the increased absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide) while awareness of these impacts is generally very low. If people are not aware of the importance, as well as the vulnerabilities, of the ocean, they are even less likely to understand the impacts that ocean observations can have (and do have) on their everyday lives and how their actions impact the ocean. The GEO Blue Planet working group on stakeholder engagement and societal awareness works to explain, in simple and meaningful terms, to a lay audience, what ocean observations are, what types of products and services can be derived from them, and how they are essential for the health, wealth and well-being of humankind and the sustainability of our global civilization.

The Ocean Observing Seascape 

The issue of the “crowded field” in ocean observing and the lack of clarity on who is doing what and how all the organisations fit together were highlighted and discussed at both the Kick-Off and 2nd Blue Planet Symposium. During the 3rd Blue Planet Symposium, there was very strong support for the idea that Blue Planet would work on producing a diagram that would provide some clarity on which organisations are doing what in relation to ocean observing (e.g. capacity building, data management, coordination of observations, user engagement etc). Because it is such a complex field, it was agreed that an interactive web-based system would be most appropriate. This would allow each organization to be tagged with various criteria (e.g. global/regional, intergovernmental/NGO, etc) for greater clarity in presentation. It was also noted that a simplified version would be needed to reach decision makers and other people outside the field.  

This Task Team is working to:

  • Develop and circulate a survey to as many organisations/programmes/projects as possible to gather (or improve existing) information on their priorities and areas of activity.
  • Compile the information into a table, and a list/repository of reports, strategies, road maps and other important documents produced by each organization/programme/project.
  • Develop a method for visualizing all the information in web form (working with Jonathan Hodge, Blue Planet Technical Coordinator/CSIRO).
  • Develop an infographic for a non-technical audience that will help to explain the “seascape” of ocean observing organisations (working with POGO Communications Officer with input from Ocean Communicators United).