At the kind invitation of the Government of the Russian Federation, CIESM did organize in Sochi from 1st to 3 December 2014 an International Conference on East-West Cooperation in Marine Science. The Conference was co-chaired by Prof Frédéric Briand, CIESM Director General, and Academician Robert Nigmatulin, Director of Shirshov Institute of Oceanology.

The guests included 120 high-level researchers - for half Russian scientists selected by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the others coming from 20 Member States of the Commission, selected by the CIESM Science Council. Co-financed by CIESM and Russia, they actively took part in the six Panels and in the plenary sessions that focused on six themes:

• Panel A - Physical Processes in the Coastal Zone;
• Panel B - Marine Hazards (geo-hazards and tsunamis);
• Panel C - Invasive Species;
• Panel D - Contaminants and Marine Litter;
• Panel E - Marine Biotechnology and Society;
• Panel F - Data Harmonization.

Key recommendations:
The Conference reviewed and discussed the main advances and current gaps in the six domains and proposed pragmatic recommendations (see Panel's syntheses), among which, in particular:

- The extension/ consolidation to the Black Sea, following the successful example of JellyWatch, of various key programs/ initiatives of CIESM (Tropical Signals, high-resolution seabed mapping, task force on marine biotechnology, MedGLOSS, HydroChanges, etc) with the full support of Russian research Institutes.

- The mutual integration of high resolution measurement technology,such as the Aqualog profiling system to upgrade HydroChanges, and of early warning systems to detect all tsunamis (including land-generated tsunamis) is a priority.

- More efficient, more rapid oceanographic data exchange between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, from vessels, ocean satellites, LIDAR, gliders, etc. The idea of joint research cruises with international scientists on board - in particular junior scientists - was noted.

- Faced with a fast-changing biodiversity, joint research on the multiple impacts of invasive species on the functioning and structure of marine ecosystems, on fisheries, food webs, coastal economies, is seen as another priority.

- A joint Project to enhance east/ west harmonization of "reliable quality data", with free and open user access, is recommended ,

- Long term capacity building, based on rapid transfer of knowledge and technology, was highlighted throughout as an essential cooperation feature. CIESM should study the possibility to launch an international programme, backed up by its associate research Institutes of excellence, to facilitate the training (on new methodologies, techniques, taxonomic expertise, etc ... ) of young post-doctoral scientists selected by CIESM Science Council.

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