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What have we learnt in school today?

A panel discussion about how to trace pathways in order to use current experiences for coping with future ocean challenges concluded the formal plenary.

Then it was time to close the day with some more interaction at the many displays of pedagogical and information tools developed to reach out to a variety of different audiences and to have an impromptu session with two MEPs, Ricardo Serrão and Gesine Meissner, both highly active on ocean matters in the European Parliament.

Gesine Meissner is the Special Envoy of the President of the European Parliament on Maritime Affairs and Chair of a large Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup in the EP. She invited participants to the first High-Level Conference titled "Oceans, the future of the blue planet" scheduled for the afternoon of the following day and the first time such an event took place in the hemicircle.

With some more questions and answers, lots of networking and some drinks the first day of the ocean dialogues drew to a close.

Day 2 encouraged parallel table discussions to tease out key insights about issues raised during day 1.

The results will be checked against the production of the two projects for consolidation or amplification.

A final panel featured (from left to right in the photo) Francesca Santoro of Unesco, Gordon Dalton  of the International Consortium of Research Staff Associations, Dominik Littfass of HELCOM and Gail Scrowcroft of the University of Rhode Island.

The panelists cautioned that results from the projects as presented might not be robust enough as little interaction had taken place with major business groups. They felt, time was running out for just repeating the general messages already largely known. Then it would be unrealistic to expect change to really happen.

The conversation with the audience illustrated how much needed to happen to make true a vision of a healthy ocean in 2050, but also that it would be a crowded space to be shared fairly between the needs for energy, communication and mobility, food production and recreation. Marine spatial planning will have to play a major role in reducing conflicts between different demands for space and resources.

There was some talk about the balance between legislation, incentives and risk assessments. When risks become difficult to gauge, investors are likely to stay away or pull out, as can be observed in some areas of coal industry at the moment. A broader research agenda was considered helpful for a better understanding of the major trends and the identification of critical areas which could be levers of faster change in the right direction.

During the closing plenary the young professionals were also asked to take the floor. They commented the fact that they had been largely confined to their own parallel workshops with a silence on stage. They had expected more dialogue involving them as well.

So it was not all plein sailing to get everybody onto the same page from different starting points on the often complex issues. Having said this, there were still plenty of useful learnings to take home and work with.

Among others, on the basis of this and earlier dialogues, the projects want to develop a sort of manifesto on RRI and OL participants and other interested people can engage with and support. Much more critically engaged science is required as today's mode of doing research, especially in all areas related to ocean governance.

Get your own impression from the visual documentation of day 1 of the dialogue.