Launch of Our Shared Ocean

Dr Niall McDonough, Director of Policy, Innovation and Research Services, Marine Institute30 June 2022: Our Shared Ocean, a collaboration between Irish Aid -Department of Foreign Affairs and the Marine Institute, was launched in Lisbon yesterday by Irish Ambassador to Portugal, Ralph Victory, on board the Irish Naval Service Vessel, L.E. George Bernard Shaw, during the 2022 UN Ocean Conference.

Our Shared Ocean will provide €3.8 million over the next five years to facilitate partnerships on ocean-related issues between research institutions in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and their counterparts in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Niall McDonough, Director of Policy, Innovation and Research Services at the Marine Institute, said, "we are proud to launch the Our Shared Ocean programme on the occasion of the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon. This flagship programme will support the development of new knowledge and new partnerships between researchers in Small Island Developing States and Ireland. As island nations, Our Shared Ocean can help us work better together to address the common challenges presented by climate change and to find solutions to sustainably benefit from the enormous potential of our ocean and its resources."

Our Shared Ocean aims to:
• Build the Irish capability and knowledge base in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals related to sustainable ocean management as set out in Global Ireland and the SIDS Strategy;
• Support capacity building in eligible SIDS partner countries and in Ireland in Oceans and Climate Action, Inclusive and sustainable blue economy and Marine Policy and ocean governance.
• Establish and grow research partnerships between Irish institutions and international counterparts, providing research and technical support to assist eligible SIDS in addressing specific ocean and climate related challenges and opportunities.

The Marine Institute have developed a suite of research funding instruments in order to achieve these objectives, via Mobility and Travel Grants; Fellowships and Research Projects; and direct contribution to international programmes supporting ocean capacity building in eligible SIDS, with the first calls being launched this month. The programme is a key element of Ireland's contribution to the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The launch of Our Shared Ocean in Lisbon also provided the opportunity to celebrate 80 years of relations between Ireland and Portugal. It recognised the strong marine links between the two countries, including through the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Marine Institute and the Instituto do Mar e da Atmosfera.


For more information, please contact:
Sheila Byrnes, Marine Institute m. +353 (0)87 815 5271
Sinéad Coyne, Marine Institute m. +353 (0)87 947 7090

As calls are launched under the Our Shared Ocean Programme, they will be published at the following link:

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Editor's Notes:
As part of the Climate and Oceans focus of A Better World, Ireland's policy for international development, and the associated national Strategy for Partnership with Small Island Developing States (SIDS), there is an ambition to build closer partnerships between Ireland and the SIDS. Many of the SIDS are on the front line in dealing with climate change impacts and vulnerable, in particular, to sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

The Our Ocean Wealth Summit on 10th June 2019 provided an important milestone in the effort to build closer partnerships with SIDS. Political leaders and UN Permanent Representatives from almost 30 SIDS travelled to Ireland, took part in SeaFest and the Summit, and met Irish political leaders and officials. Building on the success of the Summit, the Irish Aid section of DFA and the Marine Institute have been working to build a programme to support research, knowledge exchange and capacity building in partnership with SIDS. DFA is proposing to make a multi-annual budget commitment to support such a programme but does not have the necessary expertise in sustainable ocean management and blue economy. Hence, DFA has proposed that the Marine Institute administer the funds and take responsibility for management and implementation of a programme (similar DFA-funded programmes are being implemented by the Irish Research Council and Science Foundation Ireland). In the wider context, the proposed programme also feeds into Ireland's responsibilities and commitments under the UN 2030 Agenda and the 17 associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ireland is playing its part in addressing poverty, injustice and damage to our planet and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in these priority areas.

Climate change and its effects on our oceans is a priority issue for both Irish Aid/DFA and the Marine Institute. Changes in ocean temperature are driving changes in atmospheric dynamics and impacting on land-based activities in the shape of extreme weather events, coastal flooding and erosion. Research is critical to inform international and national policy for flood risk management, climate modelling and provide information on adaptation to change (climate, rainfall, river flow, ocean change, sea level rise).

The Paris Agreement, under the United National Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the National Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, the formation of the Climate Change Advisory Council and the recent publication of the Government's Climate Action Plan, provide an important international and national context for the development of further cooperative actions in this area. The Our Shared Ocean Programme will also form part of Ireland's commitments under the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.