The President of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Paul Connolly met with the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and other European Commission (EC) officials for two days of meetings in Brussels to discuss ICES role in providing useful marine science-based input to decision makers for informed policy development.
ICES is working towards integrated marine ecosystem assessments and advice, delivered at regional seas level, and this will be a central focus of the new ICES Strategic Plan for 2014-2018. During the meetings Connolly invited European Union (EU) input to the revision of the plan.
Connolly explained that ICES focus on coordination in marine science programmes, scientific development, data sharing, common infrastructure, development of methods and standardization, and delivery of advice, holds the key to facilitating work both on an inter- and intra-regional scale. Other strategic areas of ICES work under the plan are fisheries and aquaculture, the Arctic Ocean, and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), all of which are important for sustainable and economically viable use of our oceans.
Connolly stressed that the geographical scope of ICES plays a major role in the organization's ability to contribute to the development of Horizon 2020, the new EU framework programme for research and innovation, and the Maritime Strategy for the Atlantic Ocean. The ICES network includes European and non-European Member Countries as well as strategic partnerships with organizations, covering all European Seas as well as the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.
The comprehensive approach of ICES work and contribution to the ecosystem-based Integrated Maritime Policy will be recognized in the soon to be signed annual Memorandum of Understanding between ICES and the EU.
During the 6-7 February visit to the European Commission, Connolly also met with DG MARE Director-General Lowri Evans, Deputy DG Environment Head of Unit Joachim D'Euginio, and DG Research, Innovation and Science Head of Unit Arnoldas Milukas.
Against a changing marine policy landscape, the meetings with DG MARE, DG Research and Innovation and DG Environment were very productive and there is a real sense within the Commission of the important contribution ICES can make to informed science based decision making.
From the left: Adi Kellermann, Head of Science, Anne-Christine Brusendorff,
General Secretary, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research,
Innovation and Science, Paul Connolly, ICES President, and Claus Hagebro,
Advisory Programme Professional Officer. Poul Degnbol, Head of Advisory, also
participated in the meetings.