“Oceans and Society: Blue Planet” is an Initiative within the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) that aims to ensure the sustained development and use of ocean and coastal observations for the benefit of society. GEO is an intergovernmental body dedicated to the effective use of Earth observation (in situ or via remote sensing) for societal benefit. Together, the GEO community is creating a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) that will link Earth observation resources world-wide across multiple Societal Benefit Areas – Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability, Disaster Resilience, Energy and Mineral Resources Management, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, Infrastructure & Transportation Management, Public Health Surveillance, Sustainable Urban Development, Water Resources Management – and make those resources available for better informed decision-making.
Blue Planet Mission
Blue Planet’s mission is to advance and exploit synergies among the many observational programmes devoted to ocean and coastal waters; to improve engagement with a variety of users for enhancing the timeliness, quality and range of services delivered; and to raise awareness of the societal benefits of ocean observations at the public and policy levels.
Blue Planet Objectives
The Blue Planet Initiative has four major objectives:
Objective 1: Increase integration of and access to in situ and remote sensing ocean observation data
Objective 2: Conceptualize, promote and facilitate the development of end-to-end ocean information services
Objective 3: Improve connections between producers and providers of ocean observation data, products and information and end users
Objective 4: Increase societal support and build capacity for ocean observations
Blue Planet Working Groups and Themes
To achieve these objectives, Blue Planet is organized into four major working groups. These working groups align with the four objectives and will be tasked with identifying and sharing best practices and supporting Blue Planet projects.
Working Group 1: Data Integration and Informatics
Working Group 2: Information Services
Working Group 3: User Engagement
Working Group 4: Capacity Building and Advocacy
Blue Planet projects will be focused on four themes that aim to address the three pillars of sustainable development – environmental protection, societal development and economic development.
Theme 1: Coastal Communities
Theme 2: Healthy Ecosystems & Food Security
Theme 3: The Blue Economy
Theme 4: Maritime awareness
All activities ultimately link to GEO’s societal benefit areas and work to support informed decision making and address policy mandates.
Benefits of Blue Planet
Blue Planet will allow for direct linkages between the ocean and coastal observing community and users within an agreed, yet flexible framework. This will benefit society by enabling informed decisions and increasing public support for sustained ocean and coastal observations and information. Specific outcomes include support for integrated and accessible data and demonstration projects such as:
- Improved forecasts of local sea-level rise and associated increase in coastal inundation
- Monitoring of marine debris
- Environmental monitoring of large and offshore aquaculture industries
- Monitoring of illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries operations
It is expected that the activities of the Blue Planet Initiative will support and address a variety of policy and sustainable development goals including:
- United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
- Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030)
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- UN World Ocean Assessment
- Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment
- Ramsar Convention
- Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Sources
- Galway Statement (United States, Canada and European Union)
- Belem Statement (European Commission, Brazil and South Africa)
- National Ocean Policies