More than 40 participants connected across two days, with the aim of progressing towards concrete goals and deliverables that the anticipated Knowledge Hub on Munitions in the sea could pursue (workshop programme). The Knowledge Hub, meant as a support to policy decisions and interventions, will provide an framework to structure trans-national collaboration and offer useful services and products to users of expert knowledge. The Hub will add value to the extended (although occasionally dispersed) knowledge and ongoing national and European R&I munitions projects.
During the first day, the recent developments of the action and the first results from recently funded scientific projects were presented. Among presenters were the coordinators of the two new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the European Union in the Blue Labs programme, addressing aspects of reliable and efficient detection of munitions and related chemical contamination. A presentation from Ukraine demonstrated impressively the substantial scale of the munitions challenge also in the Black Sea and tributary rivers.
On the second day, participants confirmed the benefits of launching a Knowledge Hub and converged on possible deliverables, building on the needs, gaps, good practices, technologies and procedures for tackling the challenge of unexploded ordnances identified at previous JPI Oceans expert workshops. The central implementation and delivery mechanism of the Knowledge Hub will be an online platform for information exchange. An overall agreed strategy for reaching decision makers in politics, industry, defense and elsewhere was to provide information in a way that it allows them to identify both, their specific risks from munitions as well as viable remediation options.
As a next step, the deliverables and recommendations of the workshop will be put to the JPI Oceans Management Board for approval at its next meeting on 12-13 November 2020. Initially planned to take place in Odessa, Ukraine, the workshop was in the end held virtually, co-hosted by JPI Oceans and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. However, the group is now looking forward to hopefully be able to meet in person in Ukraine next year for a first Knowledge Hub implementation workshop.