G7 Future of Seas and Oceans Initiative

The G7 FSOI working group brings together government representatives and scientists from G7 nations and the European Union to address Ocean issues where coordinated joint actions are needed to advance global ambitions.

The working group meets annually to review common priorities and emerging issues, and to identify how the combined national actions of the G7 can advance global ambitions. The activities of the working group are carried out in partnership with global programmes, such as the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) or programmes of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The G7 FSOI work plan responds to priorities of the G7 Ocean Decade Navigation Plan and the G7 Ocean Deal, with the goal of enabling the G7 to connect science to policy and to drive innovative solutions to ocean challenges and a sustainable ocean economy.

The new work plan for 2023 consists of 4 categories of topics:

  • Priority topics for in-depth review at Working Group Meetings.
  • Topics on watch at Working Group Meetings.
  • Emerging Issues / New Frontiers topics at Working Group Meetings.
  • Intersessional activities proposed by Members.

Priority Topics 2023

Digital Twin Ocean Capacity

Enhance international collaborations on the development of digital twins of the ocean including observing requirements and data sharing / interoperability issues. 


Enhance G7 commitments to implement the OneArgo array through annual reviews of implementation status and national commitments for the OneArgo programme consisting of the core array, the biogeochemical array (BGC Argo), and the deep array.

Ocean Carbon

Increase global capacity to monitor, understand, and predict the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle; support international efforts to develop strategies to address knowledge and data gaps; enhance G7 commitments to support ocean carbon data synthesis programmes that produce regular data products used in global research and assessments. 

global ocean indicator framework

Support international efforts to establish a global ocean indicator framework that translates Essential Ocean Variables into ocean phenomena (e.g., which EOVs are needed to define and assess ocean deoxygenation, plastic pollution, ocean acidification, biodiversity, marine heat waves, etc.) using a common framework with agreed criteria and methodologies to monitor changes in the ocean in a transparent and authoritative way. Building on this work, support international efforts to identify the social and economic data needed to combine with these ocean indicators to create decision-making tools for sustainable development (e.g., for use in digital twins of the ocean.) 

Augmented observing and forecasting for marine life

Increase global capacity to monitor, understand, and predict ocean biology and ecosystems with an emphasis on a) global databases and infrastructure for marine life data, b) observation systems, beginning with plankton as the base of all life in the ocean, and c) expansion of marine life observations as part of the global system by facilitating the development of a requirements-driven strategy to resource (including engagement with the modeling community).

Topics on Watch for 2023

The following topics will be discussed at the Working Group meetings if new developments arise requiring deliberation among G7 Members. These topics may be addressed as time allows by inviting representatives of these programmes or the G7 Members leading the topic to give a presentation at the Working Group meeting;

Net Zero Carbon Emissions Oceanographic Capability

The watching group will maintain an overview of any developments by G7 Members in this area, particularly on observing innovations driven by net-zero carbon emissions ambitions.

Observing System Evaluation Framework

This watching group will stay informed of any progress and items for discussion on observing system evaluation carried out by the new Ocean Decade Observing System Co-Design programme.

Governance, Coordination, and Sustained Funding for the Observing System

The GOOS Governance Task Team will be exploring how to strengthen the overall governance of GOOS including connections to national programmes. This watching group will continue to share information about any developments or changes in national coordination and funding of sustained observations (e.g., development of national ocean observing systems or coordination structures, etc.). 

World Ocean Assessment

The Working Group found value in updates on the World Ocean Assessment process. This watching group will stay informed of progress with the World Ocean Assessment process and will raise any issues requiring discussion with the Working Group.

Emerging Issues / New Frontiers Topics 2023

These topics are chosen by the Members, with priority given to the Member holding the G7 presidency, to discuss new frontiers and emerging issues in ocean science.

For 2023, Japan has proposed an emerging issue focusing on Arctic Ocean Observation capability.

Objectives: Increase G7 activities to enhance in-situ observation and data sharing in the polar regions, which are data-sparse regions with few oceanographic observations. As an observation approach to complement the OneArgo programme, the G7 FSOI promotes augmenting observations using ships, including Arctic research vessels, as well as developing human resources for polar observing.

Proposed Activity: At the next Working Group meeting, the G7 FSOI will invite relevant international Arctic groups and G7experts to review implementation status, gaps, and national commitments and make recommendations on the way forward. This Work Plan will also explore the opportunities to promote Arctic research vessels as international platforms that will contribute to the enhancement of the integrated observation network of the Arctic, with the cooperation of the G7 countries, to address the ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus.

Intersessional Activities for 2023

The following activities have been approved as G7 FSOI activities for 2023:

G7 FSOI co-sponsorship of the Integrated Ocean Carbon Research (IOC-R) workshop (3-5 May, European Commission, Brussels) to synthesize information on new and existing ocean carbon projects, programmes and initiatives both within and outside of the Ocean Decade, to discuss knowledge gaps and emerging ocean carbon issues, to revise the IOC-R Review and Vision document, and to establish an Ocean Decade Community of Practice focusing on ocean carbon. The IOC-R working group is co-sponsored by the IOC, the SCOR-IOC International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (also serves as the GOOS biogeochemistry panel), the Global Carbon Project, WCRP, CLIVAR, SOLAS, and IMBeR. 

G7 FSOI co-sponsorship of an international workshop on Marine Life Observing and Forecasting in collaboration with the GOOS Bio/Eco panel, GEO MBON, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and relevant Decade programmes: “Towards a global marine plankton observing network: development of a strategy and implementation plan.” The workshop will focus on recording the state of the art and identifying solutions and actions to overcome current gaps and limitations on the three pillars of plankton research: data infrastructures, monitoring and forecasting.  

G7 FSOI co-sponsorship of an international workshop on Global Ocean Indicators for sustainable development.

Building on the work of the GOOS Indicators Task Team to define the criteria for global ocean indicators in physics, biogeochemistry, and biology / ecosystems, the workshop will examine evolving requirements for ocean indicators for sustainable development and decision-making tools such as digital twins of the ocean by exploring how to integrate social and economic data with environmental data needed for decision-making.

Intersessional Support to Establish the Ocean Decade Digital Twin of the Ocean (DITTO) Programme

The UK has kindly offered intersessional support to establish the Ocean Decade Digital Twin of the Ocean (DITTO) Programme by providing temporary boost to the DITTO Programme to establish governance and technical framework. This activity does not need engagement from other G7 Members but will be an important activity to ensure that a framework is in place for the G7 to engage in/respond to. The Leads of the DTO topic may wish to consider where to target G7 effort in DITTO in the future given the strong interests in this topic.

G7 FSOI Think Tank on Research Infrastructure Sharing  

This activity will explore ways to strengthen and expand ocean observing capacity and reduce the carbon footprint of ocean observing infrastructures through increased cooperation and sharing of research infrastructures. An international group of experts will review barriers to sharing, opportunities for improved collaboration, best practices, and recommendations, focusing on issues such as:

  • Examining the ways and means of improving planning and logistics coordination such as research cruise planning, sharing ship time and space, mooring use and maintenance, and international collaborations for deployments of autonomous instruments. 
  • Exploring technical aspects of infrastructure sharing such as development of interoperable or standard modular sensors and platforms, and the development and sharing of new low-cost sensors.
  • Exploring legal and administrative barriers to research infrastructure sharing such as the transfer of funds between partners for maintenance and servicing, insurance liabilities that prevent mutual assistance (including deployment of Argo floats), ways to enhance bartering agreements among G7 partners, and recommendations for modernizing and harmonizing UNCLOS Marine Scientific Research request applications and procedures across the G7 countries and the EU.