EU Mission: Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030

 EU Mission: Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030

EU Missions are an additional part of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for 2021-2027 which tackles big societal challenges and aims to achieve ambitious goals in health, climate and the environment by 2030. This additional funding will bring the implementation of EU Missions one step forward, paving the way to delivering their full potential. EU Missions are a novelty of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for the years 2021-2027.

What this EU Mission deals with

The ‘Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030’  Mission will help achieve the marine and freshwater targets of the European Green Deal, such as protecting 30% of the EU’s sea area and restoring marine ecosystems and 25 000km of free-flowing rivers. 

As one of its objectives, the Mission will prevent and eliminate pollution by, for example, reducing plastic litter at sea, nutrient losses and use of chemical pesticides by 50% and it will also contribute to making the blue economy climate-neutral and circular with net-zero maritime emissions.

Cross-cutting enabling actions will support these objectives, in particular broad public mobilisation and engagement and a digital ocean and water knowledge system, known as Digital Twin Ocean.

Funding opportunities

Image Credit: Freepik

European Blue Parks – Protection and restoration solutions for degraded marine habitats

Open Call Reference: HORIZON-MISS-2023-OCEAN-01-01

Description: The proposed innovation actions for the Blue Parks will seek the most effective and efficient protection and restoration measures, tailored to the specific biogeographical area or marine region. Activities leading to the creation of protected areas should concentrate on areas of high biodiversity value or potential and be consistent with the EU Guidance to Member States on the designation of additional protected or strictly protected areas

Topics:

  • Reinforced ecosystem services from restored and protected marine areas
  • Seabed protection and restoration solutions, including preserving seabed carbon sequestration capacity
  • Socio-economic transition processes through innovative solutions for ecosystem-based management of marine protected areas
  • Enhanced resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems
  • A blueprint for the identification of ecological corridors as part of a blue
  • Trans-European Nature Network, and a strategy to build such a network

Opening date: TBD

Image Credit: Freepik

Danube river basin lighthouse – Demonstration of effective and sustainable management of sediments in the Danube river-Black sea system

Open Call Reference: HORIZON-MISS-2023-OCEAN-01-02

Description: In the Danube river basin area and the Danube river delta more than 70% of its wetlands, flood plains, and coastal wetlands such as salt marshes have been lost and/or disconnected and the remaining wetlands are under pressure from human activities, such as discharges of sewage and wastewater, drainage for agricultural use and pollution. Yet, wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems and they are important hotspots of biodiversity. They provide key ecosystem services, such as water retention and purification, serve as a buffer in case of floods and droughts, remove excess nutrients and reduce eutrophication as well as contribute to the management of riverine sediments. They have also the potential as carbon sinks reducing the input of greenhouse gas emissions in the future

Topics:

  • Demonstration of active and passive restoration of wetlands, flood plains, and coastal wetlands such as salt marshes including in the transitional waters of the
  • Danube river delta at a large scale
  • Monitoring of carbon sequestration capacity of the wetlands, coastal wetlands such as salt marshes covered by the projects and of the impacts of changes in the climate system on this capacity as well as assessment of the impact of different ecosystem management methods and human activities in these ecosystems on their carbon sequestration capacity

Opening date: TBD

Image Credit: Freepik

Atlantic and Arctic sea basin lighthouse – Climate change and human activities (incl. invasive species) threats to marine biodiversity

Open Call Reference: HORIZON-MISS-2023-OCEAN-01-03

Description: Proposals will contain a set of activities, but are not necessarily limited to, sustainable fishery management and practices, pollution reduction and sustainable shipping, prevention and control of invasive species, marine habitat preservation and protection, the establishment of marine reserves impacts of climate change and nursery habitats. To safeguard biodiversity against climate change, adaptive management approaches are also expected to be considered as well as the minimisation of cumulative impacts of other stressors.

Topics:

  • Enhance the implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy 2030
  • Technological, logistical, social and economic innovations to counteract marine biodiversity loss
  • Enhance basin-scale cooperation in the Atlantic and Arctic, including through transition arrangements that create socially and economically sustainable propositions for local stakeholders

Opening date: TBD

Image Credit: Freepik

European natural lakes: demonstration of integrated approaches to protection and restoration of natural lake ecosystems and their biodiversity

Open Call Reference: HORIZON-MISS-2023-OCEAN-01-04

Description: Natural lakes are understood for the purposes of this Work Programme as natural inland bodies of standing surface freshwater or brackish water. There are more than 500 000 natural lakes larger than 1ha in Europe. There were over 2 800 lakes in the EU with bad or poor ecological status and over 8 000 lakes with moderate ecological status in 2018. The main pressures affecting the ecological status of European lakes are hydro-morphological pressures, pollution, in particular from chemicals and nutrient enrichment, water abstraction and climate change impacts

Topics:

  • Enhance the implementation of the European Green Deal, the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the EU Zero Pollution Action Plan and the Water Framework Directive as well as other EU instruments and policies that concern freshwater ecosystems
  • Improve the ecological and chemical status of European natural lakes
  • Demonstrate integrated and replicable approaches to the protection and restoration of natural lake ecosystems, their biodiversity and healthy functioning, integrating all aspects of good ecological and chemical status of lakes under the Water Framework Directive
  • Demonstrate effective and replicable nature-based solutions for the restoration and protection of European lakes

Opening date: TBD

Image Credit: Freepik

Lighthouse in the Baltic and the North Sea basins – Green and energy-efficient small-scale fishing fleets

Open Call Reference: HORIZON-MISS-2023-OCEAN-01-05

Description: Proposals will address the complex dynamic of energy consumption and energy efficiency of small fishing vessel fleets and their related operations. Activities should also address good practices in fisheries management allowing fish stock to grow, which will lead to an increase in catch per unit effort and result in fuel consumption reduction per unit of catch. Close cooperation between the fishing community, researchers and other stakeholders is a crucial requirement to ensure that solutions and technologies are suitable for and acceptable to the end-users and economically viable for (often) very small fishing enterprises.

Topics:

  • Enhanced implementation of European Green deal objectives and the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030
  • Reduced fuel consumption and emissions from small fishing vessels and improved energy efficiency in related operations as well as noise pollution
  • Accelerated renewal of fleets of small fishing vessels
  • Increased users’ choices and responsible user behaviours
  • Improved monitoring and understanding of the impact of small-scale fishing fleets on climate change and marine biodiversity

Opening date: TBD

Restore our Ocean and Waters with the Open Calls Network

This fall, the Open Calls Network held the fruitful ‘Restore our Ocean and Waters’ webinar. In the fourth edition, we focused on funding opportunities that are already open or about to open soon, around opportunities related to Ocean and Waters.

The webinar recording is available on our YouTube Channel. You can also download the slides we watched during the event.

Featured image: Freepik

Katya Rutkovskaya

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