At the centre of the CRA is an international joint call for proposals. It resulted in the funding of 13 international consortia of researchers and stakeholders with a total of € 14 250 000 (plus in-kind contributions). The selected projects address the topic (1) Pathways toward a sustainable and equitable use of oceans; and/or (2) Accounting for and minimizing impacts of global change.
Adopting a transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach, the Collaborative Research Action aimed at bringing together researchers and other expertise across the globe to promote innovative solutions for the sustainable use of ocean resources and climate change mitigation. Such effort falls under the framework of Agenda 2030, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources.
The complex challenge of transformation to sustainability requires integrated, interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approaches, bringing together natural and social sciences, as well as policymakers, resource managers, industries, citizens and other societal partners. The research community needs to integrate models, observation systems, analytics, experiments and communication strategies, to create the knowledge required to map pathways and identify trade-offs in conserving ocean health for the benefit of human societies. There is a pressing need to develop systems approaches in which interactions between multiple complex social and biophysical systems are integrated to inform solutions for a sustainable future. The selected projects work towards meeting these needs.
The oceans contribute to ocean-based economies, form a huge part of the world’s natural and cultural heritage and have a paramount influence on Earth’s climate system. However, over-exploitation, insufficient governance and large-scale climate-related changes put the ocean under severe and multiple stresses, creating complex and often unpredictable feedbacks.
Defining targets for ocean health and sustainability, establishing an international knowledge base needed to maintain and improve the health of ocean systems, and developing systems to predict and respond to changes and disasters to and from ocean systems, all represent critical research needs. In addition, the capacity to chart a course from the knowledge of ocean systems to the changes in policies, practices, governance, and behaviours that will sustain those systems will depend on transdisciplinary research focused on scalable, integrated approaches and solutions that can speak to decision-makers and citizens around the world.