Programme description

Training Sessions

The Training Sessions will be geared towards introducing ocean and coasts observations to a wide audience. These may feature a review of the basic principles of Ocean Observations (e.g., fundamentals of oceanography, introduction to satellite & in-situ observations, modelling), common tools and strategies for analyzing observations, and exploring the availability and capacity of data products for information-based decision making.

Objectives 
  • Introduce satellite and in-situ observing and modelling of the ocean and coasts
  • Provide a high-level overview of the processes involved in analysing ocean data
  • Inform attendees of the availability and capacity of ocean and coastal data products for information-based decision making 
Target Audience  

These sessions are open to a maximum of 40 attendees from diverse career backgrounds including academics (research scientists, students), end users (sectoral stakeholders) and local/regional decision and policy makers.  

The tutorial sessions will be held on Monday, October 24th from 9:00am- 3:30pm at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana. Sessions can vary in length from one to two hours and may feature multiple presenters. Please note that training session facilitators are required to fund their travel and accommodation at this year’s symposium. 

To apply to participate in the training, click here.

To apply to facilitate a training session, click here.

  • To introduce remote sensing and in-situ observing of the ocean and coasts to session attendees. 
  • To provide a high-level overview of the processes involved in locating and analyzing remotely sensed data.
  • To inform attendees of the availability and capacity of ocean and coastal data products. 
Training Target Audience  

 These tutorials should appeal to an audience of up to 40 attendees from diverse academic and career backgrounds. Attendees may include academics (research scientists, students), end users (sectoral stakeholders) and local/regional policy makers.  

 The tutorial sessions will be held on Monday October 24th from 9:00am- 3:30pm at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana. Sessions can vary in length from one to two hours and may feature multiple presenters. Please note that training session facilitators are required to fund their travel and accommodation at this year’s symposium. 

To apply to participate in the training, click here.

To apply to facilitate a training session, click here.

Plenary Sessions

The Plenary Sessions will be geared towards exploring the role of ocean and coastal observations in addressing fisheries, ecosystem conservation and coastal hazards through region-specific user needs assessment, tools & opportunities, and inspiring examples of successful application for decision making. These sessions will reflect the context of GEO Blue Planet’s Core Action Areas of Stakeholder Engagement, Cooperation and Co-design and Capacity Development.

The selection of this year’s plenary topics was based on a review of the ocean and coastal related engagement priorities set forth by the relevant regional governing bodies in recent conferences and meetings (e.g. the African Union blue economy strategy, the African Union Commission Agenda 2063, and the Ocean Decade Africa Roadmap). 

FISHERIES SESSION

Fisheries has been identified as an engagement priority given the importance of the fisheries sector to many countries in Africa. The fishing industry plays a significant role in supporting food and nutritional security and supports the livelihoods of people in many coastal communities across the world.

There are however many issues affecting the growth and success of the fisheries sector. The African Union and other governing bodies in the region have identified challenges related to data, assessments, ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management, regulation, enforcement and governance as being of prime importance. Ocean and coastal observations can provide information about conditions (e.g., harmful algal blooms) that might impact fisheries and aquaculture sites, identify and track illegal fishing activity and monitor environments that support fisheries stock species.  

ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION SESSION

Properly conserved ecosystems and well managed coastal and ocean activities are the basis for sustainable Blue Economies that support regional communities. Healthy and diverse coastal and marine ecosystems provide significant economic, cultural and social contributions to many countries in Africa, contributing up to 35% of the GDP in some regions primarily through fisheries and tourism. The African continent has over 35,000 kilometers of diverse and unique habitats and ecosystems, inextricably linked with diverse cultures and communities, each with their own aspirations and socio-economic potential.  

However, different ocean and coastal regions across Africa are experiencing similar pressures on their diverse and valuable ecosystems. These pressures include climate change, pollution, over-exploitation of resources, and increasingly the growing influence of marine litter. These pressures threaten coastal community’s potential to benefit sustainably from their unique marine environments, putting long-term income stability at risk.  

COASTAL HAZARDS SESSION

Coastal areas comprise 20% of the Earth’s surface yet contain over 50% of the human population and expected to account for 75% by 2025. A hub of biodiversity and production, coastal areas are home to valuable wetlands, coral reefs, fisheries, oil, and gas reserves and offer incredibly high tourism potential. As sea level rises and the frequency of natural disasters increases, coastal areas under human development are likely to experience increased hazards including erosion, inundation and pollution, posing a threat to coastal communities, infrastructure, and coastal ecosystems.

With over 35,000 kilometers of coastline, Africa is highly vulnerable to coastal hazards. In recognition of thosegrowing risks, enhancing coastal resilience has a priority for governments, industries, and environmental advocates.  

Recent advances in observing techniques offers unprecedented coastal data sets that provide solid foundations for adaptation strategies. However, access data or tools is not enough to use Earth Observation (EO) information in coastal hazards management strategy. The understanding of stakeholder’s needs is paramount to better define actionable information relevant for coastal communities. Stakeholders also need the capacity and ability to apply the resources available. This means, provide coastal academics and relevant professionals to strengthen their skills with components and facilities that help turn data into information and insights that can inform decision making. 

This session will be geared towards exploring the role of ocean and coastal observations in addressing coastal hazards issues through stakeholder’s needs assessments, tools & opportunities to tackle coastal risks challenges, and inspiring example of successful application of Earth Observation based for decision making in coastal areas resilience. 

Plenary Session Objectives 
  • Initiate and stimulate dialogue about ocean and coastal related issues within the region.
  • Explore the role of Earth Observations in addressing these issues.
  • Discuss and propose actionable deliverables which can contribute to a more resilient and prosperous continent.
Plenary Session Target Audience

The plenary sessions are open to an audience of up to 200 attendees from varying levels of government, research institutions, commercial sectors and other local stakeholders.  Attendees may include high-level representatives from international agencies, ministers of government, policy makers, representatives from regional and local organizations, earth observations experts, researchers, students and other local stakeholders. 

Symposium Forum

The Forum is designed to be a platform for interactive dialogue among various members of the ocean and coastal observations value chain. Our main objective is to identify pertinent regional issues within the marine and coastal sphere and align these issues with GEO Blue Planet thematic focus areas. Based on a review of the engagement priorities set forth by the relevant regional governing bodies, we have identified and will be organizing our forum around the themes of: Fisheries, Tourism and Coastal Hazards.  

We plan to feature thematic area booths which will be populated by data providers, academics (researchers and students), industry representatives, policy makers, and stakeholders from end-user groups. Each booth would feature representatives from each of these groups engaging in dialogue with each other and with conference attendees. The forum would also be an opportunity for local stakeholders to engage with invited members of the private sector to spark discussion about funding projects/actionable outcomes.   

Objectives 
  • Provide an interactive platform for engagement among members of the ocean and coastal observations value chain. 
  • Support engagement between local stakeholders and the private sector to encourage the development of local/regional opportunities.
  • Discuss the role of ocean and coastal observations in addressing issues pertinent to the African continent. 

Target Audience 

The Symposium Forum will occur in parallel with Symposium Plenary sessions and should appeal to the general audience of the symposium. Attendees may include high-level representatives from international agencies, representatives from regional organizations, research scientists, local stakeholders, policy makers, students etc. 

Thematic Workshops

The workshops will aim to strength linkages between local/regional sectoral end-users and EO data providers. Six thematic workshops are planned centered around the ocean and coastal engagement priorities of fisheries, coastal erosion, marine litter, eutrophication, oil spill monitoring and climate adaptation.  

Attendees will have the opportunity to openly engage with data providers to provide insight into the data needs and gaps in information among local/regional end-user communities. They will also have an opportunity to improve their understanding of the EO tools available to address region specific issues while providing feedback on the interoperability and feasibility of making EO products/tools operational in their respective communities, countries and regions.  

Objectives 
  • Provide insight into the needs of local/regional stakeholders which can be used to in addressing marine and coastal issues in the region.
  • Improve local/regional understanding of the EO tools available and build local/regional capacity in using these tools/ products. 
  • Seek feedback from local stakeholders in determining the feasibility of making tools/products operational in specific communities, countries etc.
Target Audience 

The workshops should appeal to a diverse audience of stakeholders interested in using Ocean and Coastal Observations to support decision-making on the African continent. These workshops may also include local/regional EO experts, local sectoral stakeholders (e.g. representatives from regional fisheries associations), leaders/ chiefs of local coastal communities, representatives from research institutions and students. 

All times are in local time in Accra, Ghana (UTC +0)

Language of the sessions: English with French live intepretation (tbc)

The Symposium will take place at the Alisa Hotel North Ridge, Accra, Ghana.

To download the PDF version of the draft agenda, click here. You can also click on each day below to see the agenda for the day.

Additional details to follow shortly!