French scientific schooner Tara visits Sydney [fr]
Last Tuesday, the 19th of August, the French scientific schooner Tara, made a port of call in Sydney. This leg was part of a larger 2 yearlong mission starting in 2016 to conduct research in order to understand coral ecosystems and severe bleaching episodes caused by global warning, pollution and acidification of the world’s oceans. The crew of sixteen sailors, engineers and scientists lead by the Frenchman Nicolas de la Brosse will sail more than 100 000 kilometers across the globe.
The French embassy in Australia seized on the occasion of this stopover to organise a workshop on the protection of coral reefs that would recognise the importance of the work conducted by the Tara, and enable political and scientific actors to work together on this important issue.
The workshop took place at the Australian National Maritime Museum where more than 70 French (including New Caledonians) and Australians from various fields including scientists, students, political decision-makers gathered in order to discuss practical action that could be taken with a view to the protection of coral reefs.
The Australian scientific community was strongly represented through the Australian Institute for Marine Science, the University of Queensland, James Cook University, the CSIRO and Australian Research Council’s excellence research center on coral reef studies. French scientist Serges Planes, chief scientist for the Tara expedition and director of the CNRS CRIOBE , and of LABEX CORAIL was the keynote speaker.
Penelope Winsley former Australian ambassador to France and former ambassador for the environment at the UN, and Julie Duhaut-Bedos, the French Chargée d’affaires underlined Australia and rance’s will to pursue cooperation on coral reefs and find innovative means to protect them. This is underlined by the fact that France and Australia share the first two biggest coral barriers in the world.
The timing of the event was pertinent with the upcoming COP23 and the meeting of the International Coral Reefs Initiative General Assembly in December on top of the nomination of 2018 as the third coral reef year. It is also the responsibility of France to promote coral reef protect as it holds the presidency of ICRI.
The main feature of this event was that it encompassed all the aspects of the environmental protection. Politically France and Australia reaffirmed the previous joint declaration of the ministers Royal and Bishop at the COP22, considering how much of a milestone this declaration has been for the mutual political investment on coral reef protection. The workshop also focused on the international cooperation in science and education. Indeed, a stronger scientific partnership between France and Australia will help achieve a better understanding of the coral ecosystem and thus, to find new ways to approach how we could manage coral reef protection and set up more effective facilities.