Participation of the private sector in Seabed Mapping Programs
One of the biggest ongoing trends related to oceans is the growth of the Blue Economy, that is described as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. In the EU only, it represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year. Unlocking the value of the blue economy requires mapping our oceans with both environmental and social dimensions. To achieve this, it is of vital importance to have support and participation from governments, the scientific community and the private sector. Global initiatives like the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and SeaBed2030 are good platforms for these stakeholders to overcome internal institutional inertia or distrust of novel types of partnerships, to consolidate or share existing data and help map areas where no data exist. The private sector in particular is key to reach the goal of a comprehensively mapped seafloor. We cannot rely solely on current academic scientific research funding mechanisms. Government funding for academic research is limited, and competition for grants can be expected to remain high in the future. Business can provide much more than just simple funding of Seabed Mapping projects. R&D, Local Content and Participation, Data Stores, Capacity Building and PR are just few examples. The private sector can help affect policy change through lobbying efforts, train the next generation of Ocean Mappers and Scientists, and help to create sustainable practices within the oceans. So why aren’t more companies investing in these important initiatives? Here we will discuss reasons behind this lack of active participation. We will also explore ways encourage the private sector to think beyond “business as usual” and take ambitious actions in advancing ocean science toward addressing societal needs. Furthermore, we will showcase studies where this collaboration has been effective. The ball is in the “business court”. It is imperative that this sector shifts mindset, allowing data to live beyond its own immediate needs and serve the maximum good. When this happens, together we will move ocean science forward and meet our shared goal of a healthy, sustainable ocean for generations to come.
How to cite: Edderouzi, A.: Participation of the private sector in Seabed Mapping Programs, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12294, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-12294, 2020