Not all the preparations were in vain for the annual trip to Vienna for the usually massive gathering of geoscientists from around the globe. As a matter of fact, far from giving up, the EGU General Assembly 2020 from 3 to 8 May in the online format "Sharing Geoscience Online" was an exciting experiment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a great success throughout the entire week. 18,036 abstracts formed the programme with 701 scientific sessions. 11,380 presentation materials accompanied the abstracts and thousands of comments were posted online.

In the context of the ongoing scientific exchange with the International Association for the Promotion of Geoethics (IAPG) Mundus maris contributed a presentation to one of their sessions at EGU titled "Small is beautiful - or is it? The challenges of integrating human rights principles and multiple functionalities into sector policies favourable to artisanal fisheries and mining". The presentation explores differences and commonalities between small-scale fisheries and small-scale and artisanal mining in terms of governance frameworks and empirical observations of livelihoods of men and women in the respective sectors. It suggests that the early experiences with the small-scale fisheries academy supporting the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication (SSF Guidelines) could be a useful learning ground also for artisanal mining. The abstract is available here, the slides of the presentation are here.

Snapshots from an SSF Academy workshop in Yoff, Senegal in October 2019 with intense discussions and planning
of a one-year change journey

The online session offered more limited exchange possibilities than the face-to-face session would have, but the very active use of the online chat still guaranteed useful conversations and uptake of comments and suggestions. The fact that registration fees were waived or reduced to a minimum provided actually access to an even larger number of participants, including those, who might not have had the travel funds to come to Vienna in person. The effort was therefore certainly worth it and it was certainly the "greenest" EGU General Assembly ever. Nevertheless, hopefully, we'll be able to meet again next year in person or in a mixed format to enable more of the precious informal discussions.