The General Assembly 2019 of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) (Vienna, Austria, from 7 to 12 April 2019) was attended by more than 16.000 scientists from some 100 countries. A good half of the participants were below 35 years. Since several years Mundus maris participates at the EGU General Assembly, with active contributions within the Education and Outreach Symposium, including in April 2019. Why is it worth the effort?

The stream of work about research in the geosciences with explicit, high societal relevance, other than climate change research, is gradually strengthening. However, it is still a minority - albeit a noticeable one - among the 5,531 talks and 9,432 posters presented in the 683 scientific sessions of the General Assembly 2019. Martin Bohle, who works with Mundus maris and the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG), has been monitoring the EGU programme for several years. He tells us that the number of sessions or abstracts that explicitly mention societal relevance of a piece of research is increasing, but still meagre for a conference of this size. The leading conference outlet geared ‚towards society‘ are programme activities that seek policy-relevance, communication or outreach. This approach looks a bit old-fashioned; when the work at the bottom of the research activities does not flag societal relevance more explicitly, then its policy-relevance is hampered. Luckily, that seems to happen more and more, according to Martin, and costitutes a good reason to be there.

Mundus maris participated at the EGU again this year in the session organised by the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG); entitled: "Geoethics: ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience knowledge, education, communication, research and practice“. Mundus maris showed a poster „The small-scale fisheries academy in Senegal, a resource for promoting stewardship and implementing the SDGs“. Click here for the poster by Aliou Sall and Cornelia E Nauen with graphics design by Giulia Bottoni. It has been one of the nine presentations at the conference that talked about fisheries and one of the several dozens that referred explicitly to the Sustainable Development Goals.

We have asked Martin, why should we participate at the EGU conference? "You have something unique to bring to the audience. As seen from a geoethics perspective, the experiences in Senegal is outstanding. Therefore I used it in the book on geoethics that we published recently. You illustrate an adaptive and collaborative governance approach for more sustainable futures (for small-scale fisheries). To present that experience also at EGU is helpful.“ He added: "Evidently, there is not much fisheries research at the EGU, I saw more about marine plastic and much about ocean dynamics. However, I found other posters with fish: 'Fisheries, archaeological evidences of the last sea level rise around the Island of Yeu‘ and 'Satellite remote sensing of the marine carbonate system for reef conservation and monitoring wild fisheries‘ which were part of the conference programme. Finally, there are several sessions in the Education and Outreach Symposium to which Mundus maris has something to contribute.“

Photos courtesy Giuseppe Di Capua.