Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speaker 1 – Michelle Voyer

Reflecting on a Blue Future: creating a space for reflexivity in ocean governance
Reflexivity is a crucial component of the social science tradition. Reflexivity requires awareness of our position within the research process and how this positionality might influence our research outcomes and the interpretation of our observations. But how might reflexivity inform and guide ocean governance? In this presentation I would like to explore some ideas about how the social sciences might play a more active role in oceans governance – not just as observers and researchers but as active participants with skills and expertise in introducing and guiding reflexive processes. I will do so by outlining some of the ways in which my colleagues and I have been both theorising and applying notions of reflexivity to Blue Economy governance in a range of settings.

Speaker Bio
Michelle Voyer is a Senior Research Fellow with the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong. Building on a ten year career in Australian state and federal government, Michelle’s research now focuses primarily on the human dimensions of marine conservation and resource management, and the nexus of social science and policy. In particular she has been engaged in range of projects exploring the social contribution of commercial and recreational fisheries to coastal communities, the social acceptability of MPAs, and the governance challenges associated with the emerging ‘Blue Economy’. Her current research is focused on exploring opportunities for community input and engagement in Blue Economy discourses, with particular attention to the opportunities and challenges for Indigenous peoples in playing a leadership role in guiding future ocean use and management.

Keynote Speakers 2 – Marie Bonnin

Marine Spatial Planning in the Tropical Atlantic: From the Tower of Babel to the organization of a collective intelligence.
Managing the uses of marine space to reduce tensions between human activities and the health of marine ecosystems is the promise of marine spatial planning. This is a major challenge, as the oceans are today the focus of many varied and complex interests, at the crossroads of biodiversity conservation, climate change regulation, economic development, food security, etc. 
At the heart of the Science of Sustainability approaches, this paper will explore the opportunities and limits of marine spatial planning, currently developed in Northern countries, in possible tropical declinations.
Indeed, facing a common ocean, communities of actors must transcend disciplinary views and converge intelligence and knowledge to move towards a common goal of sustainability. The development of this collective intelligence in research on tropical marine ecosystems is positioned within the framework of local, state and international issues and is based on the development of interdisciplinary and innovative tools. 
The communication that will be presented will be enriched by the contributions of several members of the project which will allow to present the contributions of the paddle project to the question of the limits to the blue growth.

Speaker Bio
Marie Bonnin is Research Director at the french Research Institute for Sustainable development (IRD), my research, focused on the tropical Atlantic, concerns the effectiveness of environmental law, i.e. knowing where and how the law contributes to the protection of the oceans. Since 2017, I have been coordinating the European research project PADDLE “Planning in a liquid world” on the opportunities and limits of marine spatial planning in the tropical Atlantic. The interactions developed within this framework allow me to work in collaboration with many partners, which allows me to go beyond the boundaries of my original discipline, marine environmental law. 

Keynote Speaker 3 – Jackie Dawson

Climate change and blue growth through new Arctic shipping opportunities
The Arctic Ocean represent one of the last frontiers for exploration and has captured the imagination of many global nations for centuries for its natural resource, tourism, scientific, and maritime trade potential. The Arctic is warming at two to three times the rate of the global average leading to rapid changes reductions in sea ice extent and to increased international attention and investment in newly accessible Polar seaways. Between 2013 and 2019 ship traffic entering the Arctic grew by 25% and the total distance traveled increased by 75%. Economic opportunities related to maritime trade and transport are only expected to grow in the medium-term future considering the Arctic is expected to be seasonally ice free by mid-century (2050). In this presentation the role and rate of climate change in the Arctic Ocean will be outlined including a discussion of the cascading risks and opportunities this presents for maritime trade and transportation. Topics such as community impacts, Inuit culture, underwater noise, invasive species, and geopolitical dynamics will be touched upon. 

Speaker Bio
Dr. Jackie Dawson is the Canada Research Chair in Environment, Society, and Policy, and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics at the University of Ottawa. She is also a Scientific Director of the Canadian Network of Centers of Excellence, ArcticNet. She is an Applied Scientist working on the human and policy dimensions of environmental change in ocean and coastal regions and is considered an expert in Arctic shipping, Arctic tourism, and Arctic oceans governance. She has served on two Canadian Council of Academies’ Expert Panels, is an elected member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. She led the drafting of the 2018 G7 science statement focused on Arctic oceans and resilient communities, is a lead author on the IPCC AR6 and recently won the prestigious 2020 SSHRC Impact Connection award and the 2020 Governor Generals Innovation Award.