Bringing the Ocean to Society
30 Oct 2020
Europeans are hoisting their sails to make a difference for the ocean!
Here's a recap on the very successful #EU4Ocean ocean literacy workshop held in September.

On 24 – 25 September 2020, the first EU4Ocean coalition online event gathered hundreds of European citizens, ocean enthusiasts, professionals from many different sectors, teachers, and young change-makers in a two-day ocean literacy full immersion, to start co-creating concrete actions for the health of the ocean. 

Twelve online workshops were held to present the EU4Ocean Platform, the Youth4Ocean Forum and the Network of European Blue Schools, as well as to discuss specific ocean-related challenges and visions. The EU4Ocean event dove into issues not only at the European level but also at the sea basins level, with experts, young enthusiasts and representatives from education focusing on the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic & North Sea, and Black, Baltic & Mediterranean Sea issues.

Important statements and key actions were collected during the interactive workshops and they will form the basis for EU4Ocean’s upcoming ocean literacy plans.

Europeans can make a difference for the ocean, and ocean literacy is one of the most powerful tools to make this happen. The EU4Ocean coalition will be the driver of joint efforts to support the growth of this tool in Europe. Being an ocean-literate citizen – as highlighted in the European Commission’s Mission Starfish 2030 Report – means having the power to choose to protect the ocean by making daily, informed, and responsible choices.

“The Ocean was too long lost in translation in global policy, but now the situation is changing… and I’m convinced that literate citizens are essential to support effective implementation of the political decision concerning our seas” said the Portuguese Minister of the Sea, Ricardo Serrão Santos, during the opening of the event.

Including all sectors and layers of society in the ocean literacy mission, creatively looking at new opportunities for cooperation, and promoting the inclusion of ocean issues in formal education are among the most important points highlighted during across the two days.

Empowering future generations played an important role in the event, and the EC Commissioner for Environment, Ocean and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius became the first Honorary Member of the Youth4Ocean Forum. “I accept the challenge of being the first honorary member, but we have to do this together. This is the only way forward” - EC Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius

The Youth4Ocean Forum workshop presented the youth’s vision of the Forum and gathered hundreds of young, passionate, activists, ready to make their action plan for the ocean concrete.

Schools, teachers, and education professionals joined the Blue School network workshop, where the role of ocean education in schools and the direct involvement of children in ocean-related projects as a form of education was highlighted. “The Blue schools’ network is there to empower teachers and engage children.- Nicola Bridge, president of the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA).

While international cooperation is extremely important, national and regional approaches are crucial for engaging on local issues with local perspectives. The second day of the event was dedicated to building momentum for collective actions, mobilising representatives of the three communities (EU4Ocean, Youth4Ocean, Network of European Blue Schools) at the regional sea basin scale. Landlocked countries will be a key target for this new ocean literacy mission, to ensure the recognition of ocean benefits also for these populations without direct access to the sea.

What’s coming next? The EU4Ocean coalition is now solidifying the collective ideas and actions co-created during the two days of workshops, based on the priorities selected, and taking advantages of the connections created for future collaborations.

“The best way to understand the ocean is to be a diver! But our great EU4Ocean Platform comes very, very close. We all feel a bit wet, salty, windblown, and energized!” - Paul Rose, BBC Presenter and speaker at the EU4Ocean Platform workshop.

Join the journey and be part of the change! Get involved via the EU4Ocean website.