In late June 2020, the members of the Mission Boards proposed potential EU Missions which will be integrated in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme. The concept of Missions marks a new approach, and it was introduced to increase the impact of public investments in research and innovation activities, as well as to liaise better with citizens and raise the visibility of science, research and innovation. Until September 2020, European citizens and stakeholders will be consulted on the proposals for potential EU Missions, so as to ensure that they can make a real difference for society.
One of the five Mission Boards, Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters, is particularly relevant to Blue-Cloud and its long-term vision. Through a recently published interim report, the Board proposes to regenerate the European ocean and waters by 2030, by reducing human pressures on marine and freshwater environments, restoring degraded ecosystems and sustainably harnessing the essential goods and services they provide.
From the official press release:
Protecting and restoring our ocean and waters is one of the defining endeavours of our time, as human existence and all life on this planet depend on them. Decades of pollution and harmful uses have severely degraded their health. Climate change and ocean acidification come as additional pressures, with more and more measurable impacts. By cleaning our marine and fresh waters, restoring their rich biodiversity and decarbonising our blue economy, the Mission aims at the full recovery and regeneration of European marine and freshwater ecosystems by 2030.
The proposed Mission will celebrate Europe’s precious waters, champion new exploration through science, research and innovation, help citizens want to protect and recover these resources, leading them towards meaningful actions, make the entire water system an understandable, reliable and vitally relevant topic, thus creating the basis for delivering a common public good. These issues were also at the core of our first workshop, co-located with the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Forum in February 2020.
This marks another key step in the further integration of the EU Green Deal with the digital transformation proclaimed at European level, which provides a critical opportunity to kick-start the economy, while also being conducive to effective ocean action. Helping the required digital and policy-related transitions to a healthy planet within the next decade will be a fundamental part of Blue-Cloud's work on the Roadmap to 2030, and a key for protecting and restoring the ocean.