Hooray! GOBI embarks on the manic month of Ma… February

After years of work and months of planning, February 2023 is going to be a very busy month for GOBI, as we attend back-to-back events in the build-up to a major milestone in our mission: the near completion of our IKI-funded, seven-year programme of research.

The month begins with the GOBI ‘Making it Count’ Symposium in Vancouver, Canada (1-2 February), in which GOBI’s work and experiences over the past decade or more will provide a basis to explore ways to improve on existing mechanisms to bring science to policy. Drawing on expertise from around the GOBI network, participants will be encouraged to engage in discussions on how the marine science community can strengthen its relationships with decision-makers and competent authorities to ensure the best science is available at the right time to underpin decision-making and inform future policy priorities.  Assessing present and future potential of results will be rounded off with an exploration of what directions future science might take, i.e., what are the current pressing gaps in knowledge that would benefit from such focused scientific research and attention?  The detailed programme for the symposium is available to view on the ‘Making it Count’ webpage, and the outcomes of the symposium will be reported here, so watch this space!

Back-to-back with the GOBI ‘Making it Count’ Symposium is BirdLife International’s one-day workshop on important marine area initiatives (3 February), during which the various merits and synergies between Important Bird Areas, Important Marine Mammal Areas, Important Shark and Ray Areas and Important Marine Turtle Areas will be explored, with a view to look at next steps in their application and development.  The outcomes of this workshop will inform scheduled presentations at IMPAC5.

With no time to rest, IMPAC5 beckons (3-9 February), also in Vancouver.  GOBI will co-host an exhibition stand in the OceanExpo hall in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  Scheduled interventions by GOBI and its partners are spread across the IMPAC5 programme of events (see list of all GOBI-related events below), and a session dedicated entirely to GOBI will be on Wednesday 8 February at 2pm in Room 215-216.  Making the most of being at IMAPC5, we have published an updated edition of the GOBI newsletter.

No sooner everyone attending IMPAC5 is back on home soil, many – including GOBI – will be hotfooting it again to New York, to attend the resumed fifth session of the intergovernmental conference on an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (20 February – 3 March).  It is hoped that the resumed session will bring the process to a successful close by delivering an effective, implementable, future-proof and long-awaited agreement – one that is likely to shape the direction of ocean research for years to come.

List of GOBI-related events at IMPAC5:

  • Saturday 4 February 2023, 11:30am – 1:30pm: A 30 by 30 hurdle race: science-based conservation in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. 90-minute symposium, Ballroom B-D
  • Saturday 4 February 2023, 2:00 – 3:30pm: Building a Network of MPAs in the Atlantic: Reflecting on Success, and Identifying Next Steps. 90-minute symposium, Room 109-110
  • Sunday 5 February 2023, 2:00 – 3:30pm: Engaging Marine Protected Areas to Protect Whales for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change Solutions. Knowledge sharing session, Room 208
  • Monday 6 February 2023, 5:30 – 7:30pm: An Ocean of Hope – MIssion Blue side event. Venue TBC.
  • Monday 6 February 2023, 2:00 – 3:30pm: From Saguenay-St. Lawrence to the Salish Sea: Lessons Learned to Managing Vessel-Based Activities in MPAs With Whales. 90-minute symposium, Room 116-117.
  • Tuesday 7 February 2023, 2:00 – 3:30pm: Building Blocks of Your MPA: Identifying Collaborative Opportunities for Decision-Makers to Conserve Globally Important Sites for Marine Megafauna. Knowledge sharing session, Room 208.
  • Tuesday 7 February 2023, 2:00 – 3:30pm: Important Shark and Ray Areas: What Are the Conservation Benefits? How Do They Improve Collaborative Partnerships for Improved Spatial Planning? Knowledge sharing session, Room 202.
  • Wednesday 8 February 2023, 4:00 – 5:30pm: Navigating High Seas MPAs and Other ABMTs in 4 Dimensions: Integrating Horizontal, Vertical and Temporal Connectivity. Knowledge sharing session, Room 204.
  • Wednesday 8 February 2023, 2:00 – 3:30pm: Recognising Migratory Connectivity as Essential to a Global MPA Network. 90-minute symposium, Room 215-216.