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FUST EXHIBITION – BRUSSELS BELGIUM, 14-17 MAY 2018, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

This week, Belgium was celebrating 20 years of the Flemish Government engagement and investment on ocean science.  Mr Vladimir Ryabinin, the executive secretariat of IOC-UNESCO opened the event organised to commemorate this important undertaking.  In his address to the participants, he highlighted the need to streamline these efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, which are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace.

The FUSTOCEAN meeting taking place in Brussels is in recognition of 20 years of support from Flanders to oceans science, data, capacity development and marine spatial planning. The meeting also brought together Flemish universities and FUSTOCEAN project representatives to debate how they can collaborate to match basic ocean research to societal needs.  Delegations included representatives from Africa, the Caribbean, South America, Asia and Europe.

Projects such as the Ocean Teacher Global Academy (OTGA) demonstrated how they are helping close ocean knowledge and technological gaps worldwide. The OTGA project has through the e-learning platform trained more than 2,500 people and provides ocean science content to over 4,500 people worldwide. KMFRI is hosting one of the Regional Training Centre serving the Africa English speaking countries.  Other projects include Marine Spatial Planning and OBISNetwork, supporting a wide range of initiatives including the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Great appreciation was given to Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish government for the investment in ocean science with proven impacts.