The recently signed "Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation" concerns research into the workings of the Atlantic Ocean and its interaction with the Arctic.
The alliance will build on existing bilateral cooperation agreements and projects with the aim of developing and advancing a shared vision for the Atlantic. For the European Union, the Statement was signed by European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki. For the United States the Statement was signed by Dr Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. For Canada, Senator David Wells signed on behalf of Edward Fast, Canadian Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway.
Why is there a need for a new initiative?
Existing cooperation is coordinated mainly through bilateral science and technology agreements, or takes place within the framework of international fora with the risk that efforts may become fragmented. One of the aims of the initiative is to obtain an overview of activity, spot gaps and then explore what new opportunities for cooperation may exist. European countries have mapped their research activity and needs within the context of the SEAS-ERA project, which has produced a draft report on marine research priorities for the European Atlantic sea basin. However, as the report notes, Atlantic research cannot be seen from a European perspective alone and there is a need for co-operation with the United States, Canada and other countries.
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