|First session of the IOC Working Group on the Future of IOC, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 19-20 February 2008|
IOC (2008). First session of the IOC Working Group on the Future of IOC, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France, 19-20 February 2008. IOC Reports of Meetings of Experts and Equivalent Bodies, IOC/Future-I/3. UNESCO: Paris. 79 pp.
Part of: IOC Reports of Meetings of Experts and Equivalent Bodies. UNESCO: Paris, more
Information handling; Marine
In accordance to Resolution XXIV-1 and the subsequent work plan established by the Officers following the Assembly and distributed to all Member States, an open-ended Working Group meeting was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 19-20 February 2008. The meeting was well attended and participants included at least two Member States from each geographical region, to ensure satisfactory distribution of regional views. The Working Group also had access to the results of a questionnaire that had been widely distributed to Member States and interested organizations soliciting views on the present and future status of the Commission. The Working Group was chaired by Dr S. Narayanan (Canada), one of the nominated co-chairs for the Group, as the other co-chair, Dr Haiqing Li (China) was unavailable. The Chairman of the IOC and the Executive Secretary also participated in the meeting. The Working Group generated a very useful discussion and exchange of ideas amongparticipants, which are detailed and made available in the Summary Report of the meeting. The participants were reminded that the issues of programme, resources and future of the IOC had been under discussion for many years under similar exercises such as FURES1 and DOSS2 and more recently by the document "We have a Problem" (IOC-XXIII/2 Annex 8) prepared by the current Chairman, which addressed increasing concerns of IOC Member States with respect to the financial constraints faced by the Commission. However, during theAssembly, the theme of the group was expanded to include fundamental questions about thechallen es ahead for IOC and the necessary adaptations to cope with them. Many of these new issues refer to the mission of IOC as defined in the Statutes approved in 1999. The Chairman presented the objectives for the Working Group as examining the various options for the IOC vis-à-vis the UN and UNESCO, the IOC mandate and future needs, funding opportunities, increasing the involvement of Member States and theenhancement of cooperation with other organizations. As part of the background information for the Working Group, the consultants conducting the study about the visibility and perception of the IOC (Atkins GlobalInternational) delivered a brief synthesis of the results from the questionnaire, which was distributed on 21 November 2007 to 304 users, including 138 Focal Points, 45 partner organizations and 125 Permanent Delegations. Atkins received by 17 January 2008, 26 IOC Focal Point responses (19%) and 8 Partner Organization responses (18%). Key messages extracted from the set of responses indicated that IOC is delivering an important service to Member States and the community at large and confirmed that IOCdefinitely has a worthwhile role to play in the future. On institutional and financial matters there was a strong consensus that the IOC should remain within UNESCO and should consider all opportunities to find the financial and in-kind support needed to deliver its ocean mandate.The Working Group recognized that the analysis of the questionnaire responses provided a useful reference for discussion. The group agreed that there would be no further refinement to the present questionnaire during this current process On the many issues discussed at the meeting the following represent the mainconclusions. On the current mandate: The Working Group confirmed that the current IOC mandate is appropriate and that the existing IOC mandate and Medium-Term Strategy provides a positive starting point for assessing long-term trends that may affect the IOC. The Group further reaffirmes that the Statutes, as amended in 1999, provide a comprehensive IOC statement of purpose and is a flexible institutional mechanism enabling the IOC to adapt to emerging trends in oceanography and respond to Member State priorities in a timely manner.On institutional arrangements: The Working Group agreed that the future of IOC should be based on the premise that the IOC will