Good morning. I’m pleased to be joined by my esteemed colleagues. Thank you so much for being here today.
We are gathered here, hosted by this institution dedicated to the pursuit of scientific knowledge, because we share a common goal: we want to advance science for the benefit of our countries, our peoples, and the world.
A mantra of the Biden Administration is “Science is Back!” President Biden has made it clear that science and technology will play a central role in addressing our most pressing challenges and providing the most promising opportunities.
The United States’ active participation in the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance underscores our commitment to science, as well as to the conservation of the ocean.
To paraphrase language from the Declaration signed today, we all recognize the importance of the Atlantic Ocean in supporting human health. We recognize the critical natural resources it provides. And we recognize the important role it plays in regulating climate.
That said, the Atlantic Ocean, like the rest of the global ocean, is beset by challenges. Saying we are at an “inflection point” no longer captures it. We are facing a constellation of inflection points.
We need to make the right decisions and act now. This includes on:
- climate issues;
- protecting vulnerable ecosystems.
- ensuring the ocean does not continue to be a repository for plastic and other pollution, and
- on how to use the resources the ocean holds in a way that not only benefits humanity now but also leaves the same benefits for future generations.
Yet making the right decisions can only happen when they are based on science and evidence. President Biden has made it a policy of his Administration to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data.
The U.S. prioritization of science requires scientific cooperation with our allies and partners. The challenges facing the ocean are cross-border and far-reaching. Our cooperation must follow the same model!
The Declaration we joined each other in signing today is an important step in ensuring our cooperation matches the scientific challenges facing us. Together the Belem and Galway participants are supporting the emergence of a more complete scientific community for the Atlantic.
We must continue to work together to ensure the All-Atlantic Research and Innovation Alliance continues to develop and grow, including by adding more countries.
We understand and value the contributions of scientific partners throughout the Atlantic Basin and the commitment many Atlantic nations have made to supporting a healthy Atlantic Ocean.
The United States is committed to working toward an inclusive, open process to expand the number of Atlantic nations that can formally join the Alliance as soon as possible. We look forward to working with the Declaration signatories here today to identify paths towards this goal.
And we welcome all stakeholders from Atlantic nations to participate in our activities, from today onward, regardless of whether you are from a government, an academic institution, private company, or NGO.
Open, transparent, and cross-sector collaboration will be key to our success.
Thank you for your collective commitment to the ocean and to ensuring that when policymakers in capitals around the Atlantic make important decisions, they will do so with scientifically sound and evidence-based data to guide their deliberations.
We look forward to the innovative, transformative, and outcome-oriented science this Declaration will foster, for the benefit of us all.