The strategic role played by our oceans in terms of climate change mitigation has gained international attention over the last few years. The United Nations themselves pointed particular focus towards the conservation and responsible use of marine resources in the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) to address, at international level, actions that could positively leverage the protection of the oceans. The European Commission is also actively working to support the Sustainable Development Goals through the launch of the EU Green Deal: “Towards a Digital Twin Ocean”.
Given the importance our oceans embody in the global society, Mission Starfish 2030 focuses on sharing knowledge, restore and protect our oceans by 2030 while revitalising the ecosystems and reducing hazardous human impact.
Just like the star-shaped animal which it is named after, the Mission has 5 main goals: knowledge, regeneration, zero pollution, decarbonisation and governance. The set objectives are ambitious, but extremely rewarding as they will contribute to the recovery and transformation of a healthier and more sustainable society.
Figure 1. Mission Starfish 2030 ©European Union, 2020
The 5 goals are working synergistically together and they are equally important to succeed: Knowledge sharing on the role marine systems play is crucial because it would be impossible to engage the citizens in finding new ideas and solutions without it. Regenerating marine and freshwater ecosystems, decarbonising the oceans and contributing to a zero-pollution society is also fundamental to guarantee a more sustainable balanced ecosystem. Making sure to involve governments through the institution of good policies is imperative for the goal achievement too.
In order to gain visible results, a strong collaboration with different institutions and partners to finding synergic goals is essential.
Contributing to the restoration of marine ecosystems and of healthy oceans is part of the Horizon 2020 Blue-Cloud Large Scale Pilot’s mission. With the aim to encourage data sharing and practically support these challenges, the project will showcase five Blue-Cloud Demonstrators as Virtual Labs co-designed with top-level marine researchers to advance applications that are specific for oceans and seas, but also potentially expanded to fresh water bodies. The Blue-Cloud Demonstrators will be instrumental in showing the benefits of web-based science and how complex challenges can be analysed and solved by researchers combining multi-disciplinary data and data products and algorithms, supported by a common collaborative environment and powerful computing resources.
The Blue-Cloud demonstrators support the Starfish Mission 2030 by contributing to restore and decarbonise the ecosystem, thus enabling the paradigm shift towards a zero-pollution society. As for the Starfish Mission 2030, sharing knowledge and the results of the demonstrators’ research is one of the Blue-Cloud main goals.
Blue-Cloud is carrying out a series of webinars on the individual demonstrators, highlighting their potential for the improvement of existing marine data resources, benefiting researchers as well as policymakers and blue economy actors exactly for this scope. Recordings of the previous webinars can be found on the Blue-Cloud YouTube channel. The next webinar will be focused on Marine Environmental Indicators. This specific demonstrator will build a bridge between the science and the environmental agencies, responding to the urgent need of developing innovative flexible capability for both the scientific investigation of climate trends and the monitoring activities.
To guide the long-term development of this ambitious initiative, the project Partners will be producing the Blue-Cloud Strategic Roadmap to 2030, as a stakeholder-driven, co-created vision towards advancing the pilot Blue-Cloud platform into a leading and multi-functional blue knowledge system for the wider marine community in Europe and beyond, as a marine thematic component of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and as a potential component of a future Digital Twin for the Ocean.