Shoal of fish swimming over a reef @Photo Credit: Arocha Kenya

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is a specialized mechanism of the United Nations system, established in 1960, to coordinate ocean scientific research and services worldwide. IOC strives to improve our relationship with the ocean through the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge on our oceans.

IOC’s Sub Commission for Africa and the Adjacent Island States (IOCAFRICA), based at the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, was established in 2011 to ensure the efficient implementation of IOC programmes in Africa. IOCAFRICA promotes scientific research and understanding of the ocean and coastal environment and resources, and provides the science-base necessary for the development of the Blue Economy in Africa as outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (“The Africa we Want”) and the 2050 African Integrated Marine Strategic Plan of Action (AIMS2050).

IOCAFRICA focuses on four thematic areas:

  • Ocean Observations and Monitoring: Strengthening ocean observations and monitoring in the region in order to provide "ocean information for human and economic security". The major issues that the observations should address include: (i) Food security and fisheries, (ii) Early warning for ocean related hazards and disaster risk reduction, (iii) ecosystem services and sustainability, (iv) coastal management and governance (v) Climate variability/change and adaptation, and (vi) education and training. This includes supporting the participation of member states from the region in the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition
  • Ocean Science and Assessments: Catalyzing oceanographic research addressing critical uncertainties for the management of the marine environment and climate change. The programme in particular focuses on climate research, climate change and ecosystems, adaptation to climate change, marine biodiversity, harmful algal blooms, nutrients research, ocean acidification, ocean carbon, marine spatial planning, and integrated coastal management and ocean assessments.
  • Ocean Data and Information Management: Facilitating the availability and access to reliable up to date ocean data and information through the development of data and information catalogues and repositories, directories of experts and institutions, coastal and marine atlases, and data portals. A wide range of ocean data and information products and services, developed in the framework of the Ocean Data and Information Network for Africa
  • Capacity Development in Marine Science and Technology: Developing and sustaining the necessary capacities to undertake activities necessary to achieve the IOC vision at the national, regional and international levels – by investing in people and institutions of which they are part, enhancing access to scientific tools and methodologies, enhancing communication between scientific and policy maker communities, expanding ocean literacy in civil society and mobilizing resources to accomplish these goals. Continuous professional development of marine scientists in the region is supported through the regional training centres of the Ocean Teacher Global Academy located in Kenya, Mozambique and Senegal and the ocean-related UNESCO Chairs in several universities in the region.

Publications

Volume 1: Stories of Africa's Oceans and Coasts - as told by Africa's children and youth by IOC-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Sub Commission for Africa and the Adjacent Island States (IOCAFRICA)


Volume 2: Stories of Africa's Oceans and Coasts - as told by Africa's children and youth, Essays on Kenya’s Coastal and Marine Resources and Environment y IOC-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Sub Commission for Africa and the Adjacent Island States (IOCAFRICA)

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