CASE STUDY: Turning the tide at UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) was established in 1960 to be the focal point for global ocean science in the UN system. The UK was a founding member of IOC and has participated fully in every aspect of the IOC’s work from its earliest days.

The UK has a deep and long lasting commitment to the IOC. However, the UKNC and UK Delegation to the IOC felt that, in a world that has changed dramatically since 1960 and at a time when the IOC faces budgetary constraints, it is essential for the IOC to focus on where it adds the greatest value in global marine science in order to retain its role as a focal point for global ocean science.

In this context, the UKNC and UK Delegation to the IOC developed a policy brief on the future of the IOC. This was shared with the incoming Executive Secretary for the IOC who invited the UKNC and UK Delegation to host a breakfast seminar for Member States on the policy brief’s recommendations during the 28th Session of the IOC Executive Council at UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters.

The policy brief became an official agenda document of the Executive Council and contributed to Member State discussions at the working group on the Future of the IOC. The policy brief also helped to further raise profile of UK at IOC Assembly contributing to UK’s re-election to IOC’s Executive Council during IOC Assembly and Head of UK-IOC Delegation’s election to vice-chair of the IOC.