» IOC Chair addresses the UNESCO 36th General Conference on 50th Anniversary of IOC
02.11.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

IOC Chair addresses the UNESCO 36th General Conference on 50th Anniversary of IOC

IOC UNESCODr. Sang-Kyung Byun, Chair IOC, addresses the 36th General Conference, 31 Oct. 2011.

Dr. Sang-Kyung Byun, Chairman of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) presented a summary of the activities of the 50th Anniversary of the IOC. Over the past two years the 50th Anniversary of the IOC has been celebrated across the world with a variety of commemorative events and activities highlighting the accomplishments of IOC in ocean science and international governance of the marine world.

Dr. Byun’s remarks:


Madame President of the General Conference, Madame President of the Executive Council, Madame Director General, Ladies and Gentlemen,  I am pleased you have given me an opportunity to report to you the main achievements of the IOC 50th anniversary.

The IOC was established in 1960 as a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO with the purpose to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programmes in ocean and coastal research, services and capacity building.  Since then, the IOC has become a flagship programme of UNESCO.
In 2007-2008 the IOC Governing Bodies decided to celebrate the IOC 50th Anniversary.  Commemorative events began in 2009 and continued during the next two years.

The main focus of commemorative activities was on creating awareness and demonstrating the importance of IOC achievements, promoting a better image of UNESCO and its IOC, and obtaining the commitment of Governments to take action and provide adequate resources to support the IOC and the Ocean.

The official closure of the commemorative year took place in June of this year during the IOC Assembly.

More than 50 conferences, meetings and training activities dedicated to the anniversary were implemented during the period 2009-2011.
Eleven substantive publications were issued by Member States to commemorate the IOC anniversary and its input to the research and protection of the Ocean and coastal zones.

A special related achievement was the publication by Cambridge University Press of the book “Troubled waters: ocean science and governance”. The book contains information on the development of IOC during the first 50 years as well as forward looking visions of leading scientists on the future of ocean science and the IOC.

More than 30 research and training cruises were implemented under the IOC anniversary flag in different parts of the world.
There were also underwater film festivals organized, dedicated websites launched, press releases, promotional flyers and posters published.
The IOC commemorative medal was developed and presented to more than 50 individuals.

You may be surprised to know that all the above mentioned activities were implemented with no funds specially allocated for the 50th anniversary from the regular budget of the IOC. The generous financial contributions of Member States and partners to a level of 400 000 US dollars made it possible to meet the anniversary objectives.

The IOC 50th anniversary helped remind Member States of why continued and strengthened support for the IOC is a vital investment for our future. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is the sole UN organization specializing in ocean related science and services since last 50 years.

The Ocean and the IOC deserve and are grateful for your support! Especially now that with the support of the Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki Moon, UNESCO is making the ocean and the blue/green economy one of the key topics of Rio+20. I invite you to join our side event tomorrow at 13 o'clock in room IX.

Thank you.

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