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The AtlantOS program arose from the EU H2020 project AtlantOS, is supported by and contributes to different international and European initiatives and activities described below.

Global Ocean Observing System

Coordinated ocean observations have been in practice since the creation of GOOS in 1991. GOOS initially focussed on physics and climate issues. As a result of the OceanObs series of conferences (1999, 2009), GOOS was expanded to include ocean chemistry and biology and a focus on coastal observing. Indeed, these two meetings laid the foundations for the ocean observing systems that have developed since. Documents such as the FOO, which arose from the OceanObs’09 meeting, guide much of the ocean observing community. New demands and expectations, and the upcoming OceanObs’19 meeting, offer opportunities to rewiew how we are conducting ocean observing and provide fresh approaches.

UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In 2015, the United Nations agreed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Goals (SDGs), and 195 countries agreed on the Paris Accord. In 2017, a call for action was adopted by member states at the high-level UN Ocean Conference supporting the implementation of SDG 14 to ‘conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’. G7 leaders have also shown an interest in the importance of ocean science since 2016, most recently with the 2018 publication, Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Communities.

International Atlantic cooperative agreements 

Two international Atlantic cooperative agreements for marine science provide an incentive and context for a focus on ocean observing with a particular emphasis on the Atlantic. These are: the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation, signed by the European Union, Canada and the United States of America. In 2013; and the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation, signed by the European Union, South Africa and Brazil in 2017 with additional EU Argentina and EU-Cabo Verde agreements and the ambition to include other countries around the Atlantic Basin.

EU H2020 project 

From 2015 to 2019, the EU H2020 project ‘AtlantOS - Optimising and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System’ started to improve and innovate Atlantic observing by using the Framework of Ocean Observing to obtain an international, more sustainable, more efficient, more integrated, and fit-for-purpose system. The overarching goal of the AtlantOS initiative was to deliver an advanced framework for the development of an integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System that goes beyond the state-of –the-art, and leaves a legacy of sustainability after the life of the project.

AtlantOS BluePrint Process

Thus, in 2016, a team of 19 ocean observing experts with different expertise and from different countries around the basin were appointed to work on a BluePrint for an Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System - now called the AtlantOS High-level Strategy. In the end, the AtlantOS BluePrint Process Team developed a strategy that points to a vision and the contents of an All-Atlantic Ocean Observing System. This strategy is supported by the whole ocean observing community and will be implemented through this AtlantOS program.

UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Another opportunity for working together and growing ocean observing and information systems is the context of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) that was declared in late 2017. We must seize these opportunities, to focus our efforts on developing an ocean observing system that fulfills our Atlantic and global stewardship responsibilities.