Joint media advisory by UNESCO and Barcelona Foundation for Ocean Sailing
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) and the Barcelona Foundation for Ocean Sailing (FNOB) will present their joint commitment for ocean research on the eve of the start of the double-handed IMOCA Ocean Masters New York to Barcelona transatlantic race, at a press conference on 30 May 2014 at 11 am at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The partnership represents an unprecedented alliance between the sailing and scientific communities, aimed at contributing to scientific ocean research. The press conference will provide an opportunity to present the scope of the partnership, and the stakes involved. It will also allow the skippers, who are in a unique position to witness change on the marine environment first hand, to explain their participation in the Sailing with an objective initiative, which will raise awareness of current environmental challenges and threats to ocean health among the sailing community.
The press conference, led by Vibeke Jensen, Director of the UNESCO Office in New York, will bring together Mathieu Belbeoch of IOC-UNESCO, Maite Fandos, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona and President of the Barcelona Foundation for Ocean Sailing, and skipper Jean-Pierre Dick.
In 2011, the crews participating in the Barcelona World Race (BWR), a two-handed, non-stop, round the world regatta organized by FNOB, pledged to collect data in the Southern Ocean, an area for which data is still lacking although it is key in monitoring climate change.
During the next BWR, which kicks off in Barcelona on 31 December 2014, skippers will collect data on surface temperatures and salinity, as well as meteorological data to be analysed by international ocean research networks such as the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Each crew will also deploy an Argo float in little-travelled waters between Cape Good of Hope and Cape Horn to contribute to climate change research.
Another important component of the collaboration between FNOB and UNESCO is the Second International Ocean Research Conference in Barcelona this November. This conference, organized together with The Oceanography Society, will review the latest developments in ocean research from an interdisciplinary perspective encompassing scientific, economic and social aspects. It will highlight the contributions of ocean research to our understanding of pressing issues, such as climate change and ocean governance. The first International Ocean Research Conference was convened in Paris by IOC-UNESCO and The Oceanography Society in June 2005.