International Ocean Data Conference 2022 concludes with new commitments on achieving a global ocean digital ecosystem

Organized jointly by the Government of Poland through the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (IOPAN), the IODE Programme of the IOC and the Decade Coordination Unit, the conference was set to achieve its main objectives: to consider regional and global strategies and policy needed to achieve the digital ecosystem; to discuss existing and required technological developments and their implementation, and to identify future directions in ocean data and information management.  The mentioned objectives will furthermore be considered within the multi-sectoral vision of the UN Ocean Decade.

During the conference several important recommendations were made jointly by the global ocean data and information management community:

  • need for increased efforts in standardisation, best practices and harmonization as well as wider application of FAIR and CARE principles
  • increase the widest community engagement including citizen science, indigenous knowledge and improving data literacy
  • need to increase efforts in global data and information system interoperability and networking to achieve a global ocean digital commons and data ecosystem, also achieving interconnection and integration of data systems (digital twins) from different disciplines and sectors (including private sector) related to the ocean
  • foster integrated multi-hazard warning systems within Earth System Observation, Research, and Prediction programmes, not only aiming at ocean health, but manifesting the 7 Decade’s societal outcomes underlining the qualities of the ocean and of the people.

In the context of the UN Ocean Decade, the global ocean data and marine value chain community will have collectively enabled a ‘living’ ocean digital ecosystem:

  • data provenance will be fully traceable via a common set of metadata enriched with thematic/sector/uptake relevant tagging information e.g., relevance to EOVs, SDGs;
  • the ocean digital ecosystem will be fully machine searchable and actionable, meaning that when data or metadata are updated, it will be automatically streamlined and available throughout the data pipeline and via the global digital commons;

To achieve this harmonisation of standards making data fit for multiple use, there is a need for globally distributed networks of information and science-based quality requirements co-developed by the marine data community.

Within the framework of the UN Ocean Decade, entities such as IODE and GOOS have a clear role to play as coordinators in their relevant parts of the digital ecosystem. However, to be truly successful, the development of an ocean digital ecosystem must be driven by the end-user, not the implementation teams. We urge the ocean science community to engage with these entities and the UN Ocean Decade to maintain ongoing dialogue on this important topic.