IHO and CIESM renew their cooperation

by | Mar. 25, 2021

IHO and CIESM have renewed their Scientific Cooperation Agreement for the next 4 years. This will provide a framework for active cooperation between the two intergovernmental organizations dedicated to marine science, based in Monaco.

This scientific cooperation will focus among others on:

  • Strengthening scientific and technical synergies in their research and monitoring of marine waters, focusing in particular on high-resolution seabed mapping, monitoring changes in the marine environment in the context of climate change, using ships of opportunity to obtain data, and contributing to the global initiatives in favour of the Ocean.
  • Exchanging relevant experience on capacity building and training, as well as knowledge transfer for third parties;
  • Cooperating towards the provision of technical advice so as to inform marine policy in relevant international bodies and conventions.

The renewal of cooperation between the two organizations is very timely, considering the launch of several international initiatives on the sustainable use of the oceans, including the UN Ocean Decade.

Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Assistant Director General and Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, provided opening remarks.  He acknowledged that the IHO and CIESM joint commitment is fully in line with the ‘UN Ocean Decade’ vision. He said that IHO, CIESM and IOC, the three intergovernmental organisations focusing on the ocean, shall work together toward a common goal.

Dr Mathias Jonas, IHO Secretary General, highlighted the complementarity of the two organizations which are both “committed to increasing our knowledge of the oceans through regional and international cooperation”. He added that “the work will provide valuable baseline data for the region”

Prof. Frédéric Briand, CIESM Director General, mentioned how the naval and scientific networks of both organizations in the Mediterranean could join forces and do wonders in the acquisition of oceanographic data related to global warming and marine geo-hazards in particular.

There are over 900 large submarine canyons in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The Mediterranean is the 3rd most vulnerable basin to tsunamis. Up-to-date and accurate data can be used to try and predict and mitigate the impact of tsunamis, and help populations be better prepared.

As a tribute to the visionary decision of the Grimaldi Family to host the two Intergovernmental Organizations in Monaco, and to the hospitality of the Government of Monaco throughout their respective history, IHO and CIESM decided to sign the renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding during the Monaco Ocean week (MOW). On this occasion, CIESM and IHO are pleased to show their support to the MOW efforts which highlight the longstanding commitment of the Principality towards marine research and the sustainable use of the Oceans.

The IHO is an intergovernmental organization which was created in 1921 and currently has 94 Member States. It works to increase knowledge about all the physics and features of the world’s seas. It coordinates the activities of national hydrographic offices and promotes uniformity in marine data and documents. It issues survey best practices, provides guidelines to maximize the use of hydrographic data and develops hydrographic capabilities in Member States. It includes several committees and working groups to address particular technical, educational and collaboration topics. The IHO also contributed to the establishment of Regional Hydrographic Commissions (RHCs) to advance matters of regional importance. Amongst them is the Mediterranean and Black Seas Hydrographic Commission (MBSHC) in which CIESM participates as an observer organization.

The Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM), established in 1919, is an inter- governmental organization which promotes and encourages research within the Mediterranean and Black Sea perimeter through a network of several thousand marine researchers, applying the latest scientific tools to better understand, monitor and protect the marine ecosystems of the region. Structured in committees and various taskforces, CIESM runs expert workshops, collaborative programs and regular congresses, delivering authoritative, independent advice to national and international agencies.