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NOC Represents the UK at the 31st Assembly of the IOC-UNESCO

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28 June 2021

As the providers of the UK Delegation at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) NOC’s Chief Executive, Prof Ed Hill (NOC CEO and Head of UK Delegation) and Alan Evans (NOC Head of Marine Policy and Alternate Head of UK Delegation) participated at the recent 31st Assembly of the IOC (14th June – 27th June).

A resolution giving the go ahead to implement the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science was adopted. It is hoped, the period 2030 will now see intensive international scientific cooperation to provide the science and observations needed to reverse the cycle of decline in the health of the ocean. Co-sponsored by the UK and fourteen other countries, the resolution approved actions to support the Decade’s vision of the delivering the science, monitoring and data needed for more effective ocean management and knowledge and understanding of the ocean, both within national Exclusive Economic Zones and in the 60% of the ocean beyond national jurisdictions. 

At the Assembly the UK was successfully re-elected onto the Executive Council which will enable the UK to guide the IOC agenda during this significant period of interest in the ocean, in particular the delivery of the IOCs Medium Term Strategy within which the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is a key component. The UK were also successful in securing a second term for Dr Elaine McDonagh onto the Steering Committee of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

As the competent UN agency for marine science, the IOC plays a key role in coordinating international efforts and to support all countries in developing their scientific capacity to contribute to its programmes. At the Assembly Alan Evans, in his capacity as co-Chair of the IOC Group of Experts on Capacity Development presented the Decision relating to a review of the IOC Capacity Development Strategy, which will now be updated to ensure future IOC capacity development needs are met and that there is alignment with capacity development requirements of other marine related initiatives.

The UK also promoted the work of the G7 via an intervention of the Implementation of the UN Ocean Decade as well as the Defra funded ocean literacy review. Other highlights included sharing the UKs involvement in work relating to harmful algal blooms (iPHAB), UK support in the Caribbean that contributes to the region tsunami hazard warning system (Warning & Mitigation for ocean hazards) and UKs involvement in ensuring marine data and robustly managed and made readily available, following the FAIR Principle (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse) and our continued involvement in the IOCs International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE).