Marine Newsletter #4 2012 – April

Highlights from the Marine Division at GRID-Arendal for April 2012

Featured Project

Wadden Sea Climate Training
From 23 to 28 April, 21 young people from 15 European countries participated in the Wadden Sea Climate Training, and got the opportunity to experience first-hand the world’s most important inter-tidal zone on the frontline of climate change. The training, organised by the British Council in collaboration with experts from GRID-Arendal and with the support of Youth in Action, took place on Langeness, a low-lying island in the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer National Park (Germany).

The region is an important testing ground for policies and measures to adapt to climate change, the effects of which are already being felt in the ecosystem. The participants, aged between 18 and 30 years, examined the environmental, cultural and socio-economic impacts of climate change on the Wadden Sea ecosystem. They were also encouraged to develop projects under the EU’s Youth in Action programme, which will be implemented locally after their return.

GRID-Arendal has expertise in nature-based experiential trainings for policy makers, organizational officials and government representatives. Experiential nature-based trainings promote scientific communication. Transformative learning builds the capacity to communicate good science and develops environmental knowledge for change. These trainings use sustainable tourism as a means for inspiring and educating people about issues affecting a particular region and the linkages to the rest of the world.

Please visit for further information about sustainable tourism activities.

For more information, please contact Peter Prokosch or Christina Cavaliere.

Data and Products

State of the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Environment – Highlights for Policy Makers
As Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention), the Mediterranean countries, together with the European Union, are determined to meet the challenges of protecting the marine and coastal environment of the Mediterranean while boosting regional and national plans to achieve sustainable development.

To improve the environment in the Mediterranean Sea area, it is essential to determine whether progress is being made and to identify where better performance is needed. Reporting on the state of the Mediterranean environment should provide information about trends and serve as feedback to improve the effectiveness of work undertaken within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) – Barcelona Convention.

The full State of the Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Environment report will be launched in June. Meanwhile, the Highlights for Policy Makers can be acessed here.

For more information, please contact Joan Fabres.

Map of the Month

Green Economy in a Blue World – Economy
Green Economy in a Blue World tries to harmonise the traditional world economy and the ecosystem dependent economy values. Economic productivity is often harmful for worldwide ecosystems. With a greener and more sustainable economy there can be a better alignment between ecosystems and economy. The UNEP Green Economy in a Blue World report looks at the opportunities of greening six economic sectors of particular relevance for the marine environment – fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, shipping, marine minerals, renewable energy and nutrients.

The map illustrates some characteristics of the world economy, especially focusing on three capitals (natural, produced and intangible), the GINI Index, which measures inequality among values of a frequency distribution, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI). The full map can be accessed here.

For more information, please contact Jonas Bartholomay.


Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences related to the marine environment where representatives from GRID-Arendal have participated:

  • The first of three Green Economy in a Blue World webinars as part of the World Bank's Global Development Learning Network, Washington DC, USA, 3 April – co-hosted by GRID-Arendal.
  • Visit by representatives from Maersk Oil, Arendal, Norway, 13 April – briefing on the environmental situation in the East Caspian Sea.
  • First meeting of the Global Partnership for Oceans at the World Bank, Washington D.C., USA, 16-20 April
  • The Commonwealth Secretariat's Ocean Governance and Maritime Boundaries Forum, London, UK, 17-19 April – facilitating a 3-hour session on Green Economy in a Blue World, including Blue Carbon.
  • Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects, New York, USA, 23-27 April. 
  • Wadden Sea Climate Training, Langeness, Germany, 23-28 April – see Featured Project.

Upcoming events

1-4 May
Orcas Island, USA: GeoHab 2012 – Eleventh International Symposium. GRID-Arendal will host a special evening session to discuss the project Rocky Bottom, a policy focused look at global benthic habitats. This is a follow on from the scientific compilation, the GeoHab Atlas of Seafloor Geomorphic Features and Benthic Habitats.
For more information, please contact Elaine Baker.

8-10 May
Praia, Cape Verde: 4th Liaison Committee Meeting under the Agreement on Technical and Financial Cooperation between the six West African coastal States and the Kingdom of Norway on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. The main focus of the liaison meeting will be the data acquisition programme.
For more information, please contact Morten Sørensen.

21 – 24 May
Panama City, Panama: Inter-regional Workshop on Broad-scale Marine Spatial Planning and Transboundary Marine Mammal Management.
For more information, please contact Jean-Nicolas Poussart.


Did you know that...

...the tidal flats between Den Helder in the Netherlands and Esbjerg in Denmark are the largest continuous tidal flats in the world?
Source: Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer National Park
...the islets off the coast of Corsica only add up to 0.025% of its total land surface, but are home to one-fifth of local flora?
Source: The Guardian

Picture of the month
The tidal flats in the Wadden Sea offer a unique opportunity for students to explore the sea bed – an ecosystem not normally so easily accessible.
Photo: Björn Alfthan.

Our favorite website of the month


Disclaimer: GRID-Arendal does not necessarily endorse the content of external websites, and provides them for information purposes only. If you would like your website to be featured here, please contact Rannveig Nilsen.

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For previous editions of this Marine Newsletter, please visit our Marine Programme website.

Wednesday 02 May 2012