MALTA AT THE HELM OF A GLOBAL NETWORK TO PROMOTE OCEAN FORECASTING 

The IOI-Malta Operational Centre of the University of Malta has been recently given the green light by the European Commission to proceed with the GOOS Regional Alliances Network Development (GRAND) project, submitted for funding under FP6.  The project brings together 27 partners from 22 countries worldwide, including institutions leading regional initiatives in ocean forecasting, and international organisations, committees and panels engaged in the planning and coherent development of the long-term sustained Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

The partnership covers all the oceans on Earth and provides a forum, led by Europe, to harmonise the diverse regional systems within GOOS, while advancing the European contribution to the global system. Large-scale operational ocean monitoring and forecasting networks, defined under GOOS, are needed to implement many global conventions and agreements signed by the EU and member states, including the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, the Convention on Biodiversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Programme of Action for Sustainable Development.

Initiatives on a regional level organised into GOOS Regional Alliances co-ordinate the efforts of states all round the world to implement GOOS. They have different capacities, resources and level of activity, but all seek to establish a global sustained system of observations to predict the state of the marine environment to fulfil their duties in relation to international agreements, to gain practical benefits for a variety of end-users, and for public good.

MAMA and other EC RTD projects that have followed its trail, such as PAPA (Programme for a bAltic network to assess and upgrade an operational observing and forecasting System in the Baltic Sea) and ARENA (A REgional capacity building and Networking programme to upgrade monitoring and forecasting Activity in the Black Sea Basin), are showing the way ahead for international cooperation.  The Operational Ocean Forecasting Cluster, organised by the DG Research, has been adding value to leading edge scientific projects developing the scientific and technological knowledge base for ocean observations, monitoring and forecasting.  The joint EC-ESA GMES Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES), is providing the strategic framework to develop a European autonomous operational capability for environmental monitoring, and the European contribution to the global system.

GRAND targets to uphold European competitiveness, on ocean monitoring and forecasting, and disseminate expertise and technology to support the participation of developing countries in the GOOS, and to build linkages with the regional initiatives in ocean forecasting and with related international programming, for a coherent implementation of the global system. GRAND will furthermore catalyse the role of the EU in GOOS while contributing to the integration and strengthening of the European Research Area.

For more information please contact the Project Co-ordinator, Aldo Drago, MedGOOS Executive Secretary by email on aldo.drago@um.edu.mt, or the Project Assistant, Matthew Scerri on matthew.scerri@um.edu.mt.
 

04 August 2003