UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE | Flanders Marine Institute
 

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE

The UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE is the principal training centre of the IODE programme world-wide. Since 2005 VLIZ has had the special responsibility of taking care of the accommodation and support of the UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE.

Over fifty years ago, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO started the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme. Since the establishment in 1961, IODE's purpose has been, and still is, to enhance marine research, exploitation and development, by facilitating the exchange of oceanographic data and information between participating member states and by developing applications that meet the needs of users of marine data and information products.

In order to respond to new challenges faced by the IODE programme, an UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE was established in Ostend, Belgium, in April 2005. One of the most important services provided by the project office is the hosting and maintenance of websites and databases from IODE member states, who otherwise would not have the capacity to make information available online. Presently, over 50 ocean-related websites and databases are hosted and managed by the Project Office staff.

The IODE programme invests a great deal in capacity building, in particular ensuring that all member states have the necessary knowledge and expertise to manage and use data and information concerning the ocean. Quality controlled data and information are essential elements for the development of national, regional and international policies relating to the ocean and coastal areas.

For the provision of training and education, the IODE programme elaborated a regional strategy relying on Ocean Data and Information Networks (ODINs). This was followed by the OceanTeacher training system and the Ocean Teacher Academy (OTA), developed and coordinated in Ostend.

The UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE in Ostend is the principal training centre of the IODE programme world-wide. Since 2005, over one thousand people from 120 countries have received training there. This way, they have improved their individual technical skills while expanding the technical capacity of their country.

Since 2012 the international secretariat of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) is also housed at the UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE. OBIS was the data and information component of the Census of Marine Life, a global initiative to mapping of what lived, lives and will live in our oceans. On its 25th General Assembly, the IOC-UNESCO adopted OBIS as a new project of IODE. OBIS's database is powered by twenty national, regional (including Eurobis of VLIZ) and thematic data centres (OBIS nodes).

As a special assignment, VLIZ is responsible since 2005 for the accommodation and support of the UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE within the InnovOcean site. This support includes welcoming IODE as close collaborator and that € 500,000 are spent annually on the support of training courses for foreign students and experts in oceanographic data management as well as the provision of four local staff members for IODE's operational activities.The network and data system OBIS is also coordinated from Ostend by two IOC officers.

 

Read more about last year’s activities in the VLIZ annual report.

More information on the UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE.

More information on the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS).

More information on the UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE staff.