“A life in service of the ocean” – IOC Member States pay tribute to Professor Mário Ruivo

During a day dedicated to the future of the ocean, the 29th Session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s (IOC) Assembly payed tribute to one of its brightest former Executive Secretaries and delegates.

The second day of the IOC Assembly started with a special tribute to Professor Mário Ruivo, biologist and policy-maker who served as IOC Executive Secretary between 1980 and 1989 and who passed away last January. The IOC Secretariat and Member States celebrated his memory in the presence of his life companion, Dr. Maria Eduarda Gonçalves.

Professor Ruivo made enormous contributions to promoting the place and role of IOC as the cradle of ocean science in the United Nations system. He participated in the full history of IOC from the very genesis of the Commission, attending the first IOC Assembly in 1961 as a member of the FAO delegation.

“IOC has been a major cause throughout his life, he devoted maybe 60 years to it,” said Maria Eduarda Gonçalves. “Thank you for being here, this is a very important moment in my and my daughter’s lives, and we will keep this in our memory for the future.”

At the time of his passing, Professor Ruivo was still serving as President of the Portuguese Committee for IOC as well as Head of the Portuguese Delegation to IOC Governing Body meetings, positions he held for nearly two decades.

“He is someone that I knew since I was a young boy. He was an extraordinary example of civic dignity and compromise, and he helped to build our democratic country after the revolution,” declared Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, Ambassador of Portugal to UNESCO.

“His devotion, hard work and leadership provided a great example for all of us. The enthusiasm of Dr Ruivo, and his legacy, will never die,” added Gunnar Kullenberg, former IOC Executive Secretary.

During the tribute, Maria Eduarda Gonçalves was presented with an Achievement Award from IOC’s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Programme for her husband’s efforts for capacity development.

IOC Executive Secretary, Vladimir Ryabinin, concluded by saying that “we must keep IOC developing according to Mario’s expectations.”

Member States, former colleagues and friends had the opportunity to sign a book of remembrance made available by the IOC Secretariat. The book will be available for signatures and messages for the duration of the IOC Assembly, before being officially dedicated to Professor Ruivo’s family.