The Outermost Regions are in the front line of climate change, which threaten the use of seas, ocean and coasts and calls for innovative and technological solutions namely in marine sciences & technologies. A better understanding of the seas nature and conditions will revert in a more efficient and sustainable managing, namely by promoting ecologically sustainable uses of the marine environment, fostering local governance and supporting spatial planning in the ORs and OCTs.
Assets of the Outermost Regions :
The OR’s are located in an extensive maritime zone in the globe, from the Caribbean Ocean, to the Indian Ocean, to the Atlantic Ocean. This offers the potential for impactful conservation measures, the development of blue economy and a leading research position.
The geostrategic locations and the unique characteristics of OR’s marine area offers competitive advantage that promoted trough scientific research combined with innovative approaches, methods and products, offers opportunities for developing the blue economy and making ORs important players in the international ocean governance and conservation.
The OR’s natural resources and know-how of the research and innovation communities can make them living labs for marine research and technologies, in fields such as costal and maritime sustainable tourism, fishery, governance of marine conservation area and even energy.
As a example, Canary Islands have been pioneers in testing marine renewable energy technologies. Currently, this Archipelago is home to several wave energy devices and the first off-shore wind turbine in Southern Europe.
Fields of investigations/expertise :
Outermost regions have developed extensive research and innovation capacities and projects carried out by universities and research centers:
- In Reunion island, the university offers a Master degree in Biodiversity, ecology and evolution: aquatic, coastal and island ecosystems. The island also welcomes the Entropie Joint Research Group that focuses its works in Diversity, evolutionary processes and life history traits of organisms; Dynamics, vulnerability and resilience of ecosystem; Use, development and management of marine and tropical insular resources and ecosystems
- Canary islands has a Maritime Cluster dedicated to maritime affairs, to strengthening and actuations in emerging fields such us yachting, aquaculture or marine renewable energies, with actions dedicated to channelling of the technological supply/demand, knowledge transfer, promotion of cooperation in R+D+i projects, etc. And major research center such as the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN)
- In Madeira, there is the Observatório Oceânico da Madeira (OOM) that develops fundamental and applied scientific research within the framework of the Marine Sciences, as in the area of sciences and technologies of the sea, as well as in the maritime-tourist sector.
Important projects have developed in the Outermost Regions in this field:
- Azores is a partner in the Marine-EO project (H2020), dedicated to “Bridging Innovative Downstream Earth Observation and Copernicus enabled Services for Integrated maritime environment, surveillance and security” that provides radical innovations in the field of maritime awareness and leveraging, namely in marine environment monitoring and climate change and security.
- Martinique participated in the Soclimpact project in which the partners focus on downscaling the climate change impacts and decarbonisation pathways especially in EU islands in marine and maritime sectors. This H2020 project is made up with 23 partners among wich 3 from the Outermost Regions (Canaria Islands, Madeira and Azores).
- In FP7, Reunion was involved in the MADE project with 2 organisations from Reunion, 2 from Azores and 9 from other regions. This project deals with by-catch of some species like sharks or juvenile tuna. The aim is to develop measures to mitigate adverse impacts of fisheries targeting large pelagic fish in the open ocean.
- Guadeloupe participated in a JPI climate project: Costal Climate and Earth Observation Service for Small Island States. The main objective of this project was to focus on the unique challenges faced by small islands and identify coastal climate services to support adaptation.