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A project office for oceanographic data exchange

12 May - On 25 April 2005, the project Office for International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) was inaugurated officially on the site of the Flanders Marine Institute in Ostend, Belgium.

In her address, Fientje Moerman, Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Economy, Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade, stated that 'On the basis of the solid collaboration with UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the results achieved by the Ocean Data and Information Network for Africa (ODINAFRICA), the Flemish government decided in 2003 to host the IODE Project Office in Ostend'.

She went on to say that 'In the dramatic context of the tsunami disaster that struck so many countries in the Indian Ocean on 26 December last, we must pay tribute to UNESCO's rapid response and acknowledge the excellent work done by the IOC. 'In response to the IOC's appeal, I decided to bolster the expert training programme related to data and information management. Special attention will be paid to training experts on early warning systems related to large-scale natural phenomena. Accordingly, the IODE Project Office will receive an additional annual contribution of 500,000 euros'.

In the 42 years since IODE was launched by UNESCO's IOC, Member States have established over 60 oceanographic data centres in as many countries. The network has been able to collect, control the quality of, and archive, millions of ocean observations which it makes available to Member States. The worldwide service-oriented network works through designated national agencies and both world and national oceanographic data centres.

ODINAFRICA assists the participating countries to establish and operate National Oceanographic Data Centres and to develop a wide range of data and information products that cover both the individual countries and Africa as a whole. All data and information are made available freely and openly, in full accordance with the IODE Data Policy. In addition, all ODINAFRICA partners have full access to data hosted by other data centres of the global IODE family.

The twenty members of ODINAFRICA are: Benin, Cameroon, Comoros, Côte D'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo and Tunisia. The ODINAFRICA website is co-ordinated by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute in Mombasa but maintained jointly by all partners.









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