MERCATOR OCEAN INTERNATIONAL A GLOBAL GOVERNANCE FOR A GLOBAL PUBLIC GOOD : OUR OCEANS
Mercator Ocean, based in Toulouse, France, is a leader in ocean analysis and forecasting and is at the forefront of the field of operational oceanography. It is also the delegate to the Copernicus Marine Service of the European Union. As oceans begin to take their rightful place and importance in the agendas and debates of political, institutional, business, and civil society actors worldwide (COP23, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Blue Growth and Economy, OurOcean Conference, …etc.), Mercator Ocean opens up its governance to multi-national shareholders and thus prepares itself for the new challenges that lie ahead. This new chapter in its history has just begun.
The ocean plays a great role in the climate machine and consequently the ocean bears the brunt of many of the negative effects linked to climate change such as sea level rise, temperature rise, the melting of sea ice, acidification, etc. Plastic pollution has reached unprecedented proportions. The preservation of the oceans and the sustainable use of its resources (such as energy, fishing, trasnsport, etc.) is vital for all life and particularly for the nearly 40% of the world population that lives within 100km of the coast. Expectations and needs in terms of ocean data, scientific knowledge and monitoring are considerable and the stakes are global.
Describing the state of the world’s oceans in real time and providing operational forcasting from the ocean surface to the bottom, is at the heart of Mercator Ocean’s mission. It is a non-profit organisation serving the public interest. Its founding partners are five public bodies, leading French actors in operational oceanography: CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), IFREMER (Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer), IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), Météo-France, and SHOM (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine). They decided to open up the capital of Mercator Ocean to major and prominent players in operational oceanography to strengthen Mercator Ocean’s capacity to expand in Europe and internationally.
The first four new shareholders are major national players in operational oceanography worldwide and key scientific partners of the Copernicus Marine Service and they include: the Italian CMCC (Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici), the Norwegian NERSC (Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center), the British MET OFFICE, and the Spanish Puertos Del Estado.
SUSTAINABLE OCEANS NEED SUSTAINABLE, TIMELY and RELIABLE INFORMATION
– Connecting Earth Observation international networks and Ocean-related international initiatives : Copernicus, Group on Earth Observation, GODAE, JCOMM-IOC…
– Engaging and Serving the Blue Economy worldwide ( incl Africa and Outermost Regions)
– OPEN OCEAN , OPEN DATA : Connecting technological innovators and providers of ocean data & information ( Big Data/Data Science…),
– OCEAN LITERACY : Contributing to NGO and Advocacy networks ( POC, Ocean Conservancy and so many others).
Mercator Ocean International will ehance Copernicus Marine Service Scientific capabilities in all challenges reminded below by the United Nations :
UNITED NATIONS CHRONICLE – FACTS and FIGURES
The Centrality of Oceans for All Three Pillars of Sustainable Development The oceans are the most prominent feature on the planet, covering nearly three quarters of the Earth, and are essential for planetary survival. Just as a person cannot live without a healthy heart and lungs, the Earth cannot survive without healthy oceans and seas. They serve as the Earth’s respiratory system, producing oxygen for life and absorbing carbon dioxide and waste. The oceans and seas are essential for national and global economic well-being. The global ocean economic activity is estimated to be between US $3 trillion contributing to the world economy in many important ways, such as:
- The oceans provide storage and absorb 30 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide, while marine phytoplankton generates 50 per cent of the oxygen needed for survival. The oceans regulate the climate and temperature, making the planet hospitable to diverse forms of life.
- 90 per cent of global trade moves by marine transport.
- Submarine cables carry 95 per cent of all global telecommunications.
- Fisheries and aquaculture supply 4.3 billion people with more than 15 per cent of annual consumption of animal protein.
- Over 30 per cent of global oil and gas produced is extracted offshore.
- Coastal tourism is the largest market segment in the world economy, comprising 5 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 6 to 7 per cent of global employment.
- Expanding knowledge on marine biodiversity has provided breakthrough advances in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food production, and aquaculture.
- 13 of the world’s 20 megacities are coastal.
- Tides, waves, currents, and offshore wind are emerging sources of energy that have significant potential to contribute to low-carbon energy in many coastal countries.
- Over 40 per cent, or 3.1 billion, of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of the ocean or sea in about 150 coastal and island nations.
- Regardless of whether a country is landlocked, or has a coastline, all nations are directly connected to the oceans and seas through rivers, lakes and streams. Nations have placed significant importance on the benefits that are provided by the oceans and seas, comprising over 60 per cent of the global gross national product (GNP). In particular, coastal economic activity is the lifeblood of coastal and island nations.
About the Copernicus Programme and the Copernicus Marine Service:
The Copernicus Programme is the European Earth Observation and Environmental Monitoring Programme, a joint initiative of the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA). The programme aims to provide Europe with an operational and autonomous capacity for Earth observation and monitoring as well as services that benefit general European interests, all of which are free and open. The Coeprnicus Marine Service is one of them and has been operated by Mercator Ocean since May 2015.
Three years after it was started, the Copernicus Marine Service has already registered more than 13,000 subscribers worldwide (2/3 in the EU) and has more than 100,000 unique visitors per year on its data portal. It is already proving to be one of the successes of the European Copernicus Programme.
Serving International and EU Policies ( Good Environmental Status) , Entrepreneurs ( Transport, Energy, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Port facilities…), Scientists ( Climate change, Cyclones/El Nino monitoring, Biodiversity protection,…) Public Services ( Met offices, Environmental protection agencies, …) and the General Public ( via Scientific partnerships in Museums, Science Centers and Expeditions like Tara, 7th Continent, …)