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07.10.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

‘Race for Water’: Skippers and UNESCO work together to raise awareness

Marco Simeoni, Fondation Multi One Attitude, Stève Ravussin, Skipper of Race for Water, Maria Hood and Anne-Cécile Turner after the official announcement.

The Multi One Championship, a programme combining several transatlantic sailing races, will serve as a communication platform for the Multi One Attitude Foundation to promote awareness of water conservation issues. Such collaboration is a first in the world of sailing competitions.

The Foundation is developing an awareness programme on water conservation and an educational programme for children to this end, with the support of several UNESCO divisions and programmes; such as the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO-IOC), the Man and the Biosphere programme (UNESCO-MAB), the International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP), and the Sectors for Education and Culture.

The collaboration was officially announced during the first event of the Multi One Design circuit, on 7 October 2011 at la Trinité sur Mer. Starting in 2012, the MOD70 circuit will include 3 transatlantic races – the Krys Ocean Race, European Tour and World Ocean Tour. The awareness programme ‘Race for Water’ will be presented to the general public in a Water Pavilion at each port of call, thus contributing to give greater visibility to UNESCO activities.

A better understanding of oceans is needed to improve climate projections, reduce the risks stemming from storms and floods, steer international actions and optimized governmental climate change mitigation policies. Oceans change continuously and must, as a result, be observed constantly. Understanding and monitoring the ocean is the basis of a global approach to preserve this treasure.  

The Multi One Attitude Foundation and UNESCO are also evaluating the possibility of engaging the ‘race for Water’ ambassador ship and other competing ships in the ARGO programme as a contribution to the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

IOC has been coordinating the international scientific community’s activities for the implementation og the ARGO project, a network of 3,000 autonomous floats that collect temperature, salinity and current data in real time. The programme aims to maintain a network of at least 3,000 ARGO floats, over all ocean areas without ice-cover, to study ocean variability in the long term. The system evolves constantly and 800 units have to be deployed every year to complete and maintain the array, compensating losses due to ice, beaching, design cycle (4-5 years) and cover areas that are far from well travelled routes.

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