The annual Science and Technology (S&T) Joint Consultative Group meeting with the USA took place on 26–27 March 2009 in Brussels. This important meeting – the first with the new US Administration – gave renewed impetus to S&T cooperation including with regard to the marine environment.
On the agenda were a series of informal bilateral meetings with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Science Foundation (NSF) and United States Geological Survey to debate environmental topics of mutual interest. These included such issues as climate change, biodiversity, and marine environment/ocean management.
The framework for cooperation between EU and US scientists is provided through an Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the United States which was concluded in 1998. In addition, the EU has Implementing Arrangements with both the NSF and the EPA.
All parties recognise the need for, and benefits from, coordinated activities between scientific communities from both sides of the Atlantic. Thus, the European Commission is to support – together with the NSF – a joint EU–North American research initiative that aims to boost understanding of the mechanisms affecting changes observed in North Atlantic marine ecosystems and in their capacity to provide services.
In particular, the EU will back the initiative by including a number of topics in the Work Programme for 2010 that may be of interest to US scientific communities – namely:
Changes in carbon uptake and emission by oceans in a changing climate
Impact of ocean acidification in the Mediterranean in a changing climate
North Atlantic Ocean and associated shelf-seas protection and management options – collaboration with the USA and Canada.
In parallel, the NSF Ocean Sciences Division has published on its website a description of the opportunities for NSF-supported cooperative research with the European Commission and European scientists, in particular for the areas of climate effects on ocean ecosystem dynamics, carbon and geochemical cycles and ocean acidification. The site describes the Implementing Agreement between the NSF and the European Commission, previous activities, as well as future opportunities.