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.

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