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IMBER - Future Earth Norway workshop

Research has an important role to play in providing our policy makers and communities with the knowledge base required to secure or achieve sustainable oceans, including research on the structure and functioning of linked ocean and human systems, on interactions of different drivers of change, on thresholds, and on social-ecological dynamics. 

Ocean sustainability under global change
Top priorities for Norwegian research and prospects for collaboration
Bergen 1-2 September 2016

Oceans face multiple challenges from climate change, overfishing, acidification, pollution and de-oxygenation. The United Nations´ Sustainable Development Goals have an entire goal, Goal 14, focusing on healthy oceans and the diverse and vital roles they play in society, biodiversity and climate regulation. Healthy oceans are vital for Norway; essentially a coastal country responsible for managing and utilizing resources from an ocean area seven times greater than its land area.

This workshop focused on research needed to improve on socio-ecological challenges, important to maintain ocean sustainability in the future decade. Why is collaboration between social and natural science fields is slow to develop collaboration and common projects? The workshop was attended by 37 engaged participants, from natural science, social science, economy, policy makers, ranging from local experts and directors of FAO and IOC. With this broad experiences and plenary presentation ranging from global needs to manage the coastal areas of Norwegian municipalities, the focus became less on the need for research and more towards the truly burning issue on integrated science, linking natural- and human dimensions for a sustainable use and management in the future. Some barriers for socio-ecological research collaboration was identified, mainly institutional and scientific differences in how to conduct research; natural scientists being problem oriented whole social scientists and economists are solution oriented. Time scales, how to put a value to nature and non-monetary subjects as well as interpretation of topic-related terms are quite different between the research groups. IN order too progress into more trans-topic research, these differences needs to be better understood and a common platform where values and terms are commonly understood should be developed. A more detailed workshop report, with notes from the discussions, conclusions and advice will be published in due time.