French-American Climate Talks on Ocean (FACT-O)

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Presentation of the FACT-O initiative

For scientists and the general public, FACT-O is a series of targeted events in places emblematic of research or the dissemination of science to the public. These workshops bring together scientists, representatives of NGOs and institutions in charge of ocean protection and aim to disseminate knowledge, share experiences and foster Franco-American partnerships.


- Disseminate knowledge on the state of the oceans and threats to marine biodiversity;
- Share experiences in public policies for the management of marine areas (coastal environments, marine protected areas, etc.);
- Coordinate French and American initiatives on areas of shared interest;
- Encourage new partnerships between researchers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Priority topics

- Marine Protected Areas;
- Resilience to climate change of coastal environments, role of ecosystems;
- New technologies for the observation of oceans;
- Heritage and culture, marine archeology.

Protecting the Oceans

The oceans today constitute a subject of scientific study crucial in the field of the environment. Oceans study involves a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines from marine geology, to physical and chemical oceanography, including marine biology and social sciences. Knowledge on oceans, however, is not commensurate with their vital importance : the oceans, which cover 71% of the earth’s surface, play a decisive role in the history of life and they are a reservoir of resources, they provide essential ecosystem services necessary for life on earth. In particular, the oceans play a major role in the functioning of the climate system and in return they suffer the effects of climate change: sea level rise, acidification, … To these effects are added the degradations drived by human activities, overfishing, pollution extraction oil, … All these elements call for enhanced international action on oceans.

Consequently, oceans conservation has been the subject of numerous political declarations by John Kerry on the one hand, and Laurent Fabius and Ségolène Royal on the other. Our two countries have the two largest maritime areas in the world with 8.5 million and 4.5 million mi2 respectively, with interconnected marine areas in the Pacific and the Caribbean. In addition to ocean and climate issues, the issue of marine resources and the protection of marine ecosystems are at the heart of national research strategies in France and the United States. The sharing of exploration resources and research resources and the coordination of public policies are essential to better assess the state of the oceans and propose lasting solutions for the protection of an area that represents 80% of the world’s biodiversity.

Continue the momemtum : FACTS and COP21

The FACTS (French-Ameri-Can Climate TalkS) program was launched at the end of 2014 by French embassies in the United States and Canada to mobilize American civil society for COP21. This series of 18 Franco-American debates created a real dynamic within a network of university partners, NGOs, think tanks and American public institutions. FACTS mobilized around a hundred French and American speakers and brought together an audience of about 5000 people between October 2014 and November 2015 (outside the public reached via social networks).

In order to continue the mobilization post COP21, the FACTS program continues in 2016 and 2017 on a priority theme for France and the United States: oceans.

This common will is reflected by the development of a policy of scientific collaboration established at the Franco-American Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology in the spring of 2015. It brought together high-level representatives of Departments and agencies. Among the priorities for collaboration over the next five years, marine research is one of them, with particular emphasis on biodiversity and ocean-climate relations.

The integration of the ocean in the Paris Agreement demonstrates the recognition of its integrity as part of the climate balance. The ocean, long forgotten by climate negotiations, was mentioned for the first time in the preamble to the Paris agreement ("noting the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including oceans …"),

With this in mind, the Ocean Platform & Climate and the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States launched the FACT-O initiative : the French-American Climate Talks on Ocean.

  • FACT-O conference in Edmonton, Canada highlights the impact of climate change on the Arctic Ocean

    The “FACT-O Edmonton” (“French-AmeriCan Climate Talks - Ocean / The Arctic Ocean: from Local to Global Concerns”) took place at the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA) at the University of Alberta on November 5, 2018. With over 60 participants, its focus was on the Arctic Ocean and allowed French and Canadian speakers to talk about the problems caused by climate change in the ocean that lines Canada and in many ways in particular (strongly impacted by climate change, with changing governance).

  • France-USA Workshop on Sargassum in Galveston

    The Galveston branch of Texas A&M University (TAMUG) welcomed, from January 17 to 19, the first France-US workshop on sargassum. For many years, this seaweed has been perceived as a coastal issue as it lands in massive quantities on coasts on both sides of the Atlantic, and this workshop is the result of a collaboration between both countries to reinforce the exchanges between the groups studying this algae.

  • Conference FACT-O in Vancouver: "Impacts of Climate Change on the Ocean: Focus on Deep Ocean and Biodiversity"

    The FACT-O Vancouver conference (« French Ameri-Can Climate Talks – Ocean ») took place at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum of the University of British Columbia (UBC) on November 17, 2017. It was thus organized on the last day of the COP23 and one month away from the « One Planet Summit » (Paris, December 12, 2017). Gathering over 110 attendees, the event focused on deep ocean and biodiversity and enabled the French and Canadian panelists to discuss the impact of climate change on these little- known ecosystems. It received the financial support of the Institut Français, the logistical and organizational support of the Alliance Française in Vancouver and took benefit from its partnership with the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.

  • French American Climate Talks on Ocean - US premiere of The Odyssey

    Please join the Embassy of France in the United States and the Carnegie Institution for Science for the U.S. premiere of the film The Odyssey, part of the French-American Climate Talks on Ocean (FACT-O), a biographical adventure film on Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French explorer, filmmaker and scientist. The screening will be followed by a discussion panel, involving the movie crew and Carnegie Institution scientists.

  • Signing of a declaration of intent on maritime heritage between France and the United States

    John Armor, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Michel L’Hour, General Curator for underwater heritage, Director of the France’s underwater Archaelogy Researches Department of the Ministry of Culture (DRASSM) signed a joint statement on January 18, 2017 in Mount Vernon, Virginia. This declaration formalizes the solid cooperation existing between French and American scientific teams, established thanks to a rich common underwater cultural heritage and important new discoveries of wrecks engaging the joint history of our two countries.

  • French-American Climate Talks on Ocean (FACT-O): Marine Protected Areas & Maritime Heritage

    After Miami and Washington, the third edition of the French-American Climate Talks on Ocean (FACT-O) took place on January 18-19, 2017 at the historic site of Mount Vernon, Virginia. This event, organized in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Ocean and Climate Platform and several French and American institutions and agencies working in the environment sector, was focused on two themes of ocean sciences: Marine Protected Areas and Underwater heritage.

  • YO! Young scientists make waves in Marrakech to get a bluer COP

    Young scientists from YO! were at the Marrakech Climate change Conference from 7 to 18 November 2016: they shared their knowledge on the links between ocean and climate, promoted existing solutions and strengthened the international cooperation on this issue.

  • Conference on fair and sustainable management of the fishery resources, in partnership with the IRD

    Every year, during the General Assembly, the United Nations (UN) host conferences regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On September 20, the scientific representation of the IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development) at the UN, in partnership with the Office for Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in the United States (OST) and the permanent mission of France to the UN, organized a conference entitled “Equity and fisheries in a global context”

  • French American Climate Talks on Ocean - Ocean Preservation and Scientific Cooperation & Screening of Secret Ocean

    This conference will be opened by Minister Ségolène Royal, President of COP 21 and will featured Jean-Michel Cousteau and his movie Secret Ocean. This event is part of the French American Climate Talks on Ocean, a public conference series organized by the Embassy of France and the Ocean & Climate Platform to continue raising public awareness about the Ocean’s key role in the global climate system.