Achieving Good Environmental Status most definitely requires science-policy collaboration. At the OSPAR level, for marine biodiversity, this collaboration happens through ICG-COBAM (the Intersessional Correspondence Group on Coordinated Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring). Our delivery of the 2017 Intermediate Assessment, the first ever holistic assessment of marine biodiversity at the OSPAR scale, is a testament to the success of science-policy collaboration. However, as we approach our next assessment (the 2023 Quality Status Report), it has become clear to the scientists that we just need more time to talk science. At the normal COBAM meetings, which are a mixture of scientist and policy-makers, the focus is on meeting deadlines and policy delivery, which are both important, but don’t help progress the scientific aspects of indicator development and interpretation.
In response to this, in June 2019 the COBAM ecosystem component leads convened, for the first time, a SUPER (Assessing Biodiversity Status Under Pressure: towards an Ecosystem Resilience approach) COBAM workshop. This workshop had a clear focus on the science we needed to achieve in order to deliver the 2023 QSR. Unlike most COBAM meetings this workshop was purely technical and targeted cross cutting issues common to all of the ecosystem components such as threshold setting, integration, and how to best use limited resources.
The SUPER COBAM workshop was a huge success, attended by 40 technical experts across pelagic habitats, benthic habitats, food webs, birds, and mammals. It was refreshing and fun for all of us to talk science together for five days and we left the workshop stimulated and looking forward to the challenges coming up with the 2023 QSR assessment. Thank you to our colleague, Laurent Guerin, from the amazing Muséum national d’histoire naturelle for organising and hosting such and productive week!
Abigail, Plankton and Policy