Science works across borders – focus on ocean acidification in Africa to save our oceans

On the 8th of June 2017, during the UN Ocean Conference in New York and the World Ocean Day, scientists from all over Africa will work together to start addressing the SDG 14.3, Ocean Acidification.

Ocean acidification is another consequence of human’s emission of carbon dioxide. As we continue to burn fossil fuels, destroy forests and consume unwisely, the ocean is getting more acidic. This ocean acidification is now identified as major threat to marine ecosystems and is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 14.3: “Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels”.

When it comes to understanding, projecting and anticipating the impacts of ocean acidification, some countries or even continents are left relatively unexplored. For example, no studies were performed on ocean acidification impacts along the coasts of Africa despite its biological and socio-economical vulnerability to future global changes.

To tackle this problem, the University of Gothenburg, in partnership with the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, and many other international partners, signed a voluntary commitment to “Enhance global ocean acidification monitoring and research”. This will allow to continue the ongoing effort in developing the capacity in developing countries to perform the needed monitoring, research and data to be anticipate and be ready for the changes to come.

“This is one of the most exciting part of my job.”, says Sam Dupont, Associate Professor at the University of Gothenburg, and member of Centre for Collective Action Research “Developing new technologies for ocean acidification research and travel around the world to give training on best practices is one of the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”

One of the first success of this initiative is the development of an ocean acidification Africa network. OA-Africa has been developed over three training courses (South Africa, Mozambique, Mauritius) and recently launched at a recent ocean acidification capacity building and networking workshop in Dakar, Senegal (13 – 16 February 2017). Prominent researchers representing several African coastal countries discussed the coordination and regional priorities for ocean acidification activities on the continent. Broadly, the network aims to coordinate on ocean acidification related research and monitoring, provide information and guidance to stakeholders and policy makers, and promote and advance ocean research through outreach and capacity building initiatives.

To demonstrate that science works across borders, the OA-Africa network is leading an African “ocean acidification day”. Twenty-three African countries agreed that on the ocean day (June 8, 2017), scientists from all over Africa will join forced to measure pH, following the indicator of the SDG 14.3: “Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations”.

“On the 8th of June, my team and I will be measuring pH in Swedish waters as a sign of solidarity for my many friends and colleagues in Africa”, says Sam Dupont.

Pictures and information will be posted on social medias during all the day.

Twitter: #OceanAcidification-AFRICA
Facebook: OA-AFRICA – Ocean Acidification Network Africa.

For more information please contact Sam Dupont via, sam.dupont(at)bioenv.gu.se or+46 (0) 766 22 9531

SDSN Northern Europe, 31 May 2017. Press release.

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