While the IOC/MPR Section (Marine Policy and Regional Coordination) does not have a CD strategy or plan as such, it implements a substantial number of training activities related to a wide variety of topics related to Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), Integrated marine assessments as well as training activities in the context of the GEF -funded Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) programme.

Because the emphasis of the ICAM Programme is on ‘building capacity of IOC Member States in coastal management’, all ICAM interventions have a strong focus on technical training for scientists and coastal managers and hands-on delivery of tools and products through regional and national projects. As such the development of tools and guidelines is usually accompanied by a training component or module to build capacity through IOC regions. Examples of the regional MPR projects with strong capacity development emphasis include:

-       ACCC Regional Project on Coastal Adaptation in West Africa

-       SPINCAM indicator development for South East Pacific countries (Flanders)

-       Marine Spatial Planning methodology development and technical support to Vietnam, Brazil, Canada, and US

-       PEGASO Mediterranean Assessment and Indicator Development (European Commission FP7)

-       Training Courses in marine assessments in West Africa and South East Asia, Africa.

In recent years, the increasing role of IOC through MPR in the LME projects is leading to the establishment of a technical LME secretariat based in IOC in 2015. The role of this secretariat (initially funded through a GEF grant for 3 years) will be to provide technical and training support to GEF projects on LMEs, coastal management and marine protected areas, and their stakeholders. Building on a Capacity development need survey that was conduced in 2014 for GEF LME/ICM and MPA projects, a training programme has been formulated and will be implemented through IOC and other project partners. These will include:

-       Increased collaboration, twinnning and learning exchanges South-to-South between the GEF LME, MPA and ICM projects, and North-to-South partnerships with non-GEF marine and coastal initiatives (e.g. Seascapes) to build capacity and develop training and education materials.

-       Training of GEF LME/ICM/MPA practitioners in new techniques and approaches for ecosystem-based assessment, management and governance practices for ecosystem and mitigation of effects of climatic variability and change in LMEs.

Overall, the following capacity development priorities have been identified for IOC/MPR:

IOC/MPR – Capacity development priorities

1. Concepts, methodologies and best practices on Integrated Coastal area Management.

2. Methods and strategies for sustainable management.

3. Methodologies for evaluation of Coastal ecosystem goods and services.

4. Coastal physical characterization,  impact assessment and natural risks (including climate change).

5. Approaches to coastal hazards mitigation

6. Ecosystem-based adaptation to address climate change impacts in the coast

6. Socio-economic analysis and coastal human impacts.

7. Elaboration of recommendations and actions plans for ICAM.

1. Concepts, policies, international experiences and best practices on marine spatial planning.

2. Techniques for Marine ecosystem goods and services valuation

3. Marine environmental characterization risks and impacts (including climate change).

4. Methodologies for marine socio-economic analysis and cumulative impacts.

5. Methodologies for step by step approach to the formulation of MSP plans

6. Methodologies for evaluation and monitoring of MSP

1. GIS Introduction, Data models, Data sources (Geoportals, SDI)

2. Spatial data component: Reference Coordinate System Management.

3. Spatial databases and thematic attributes modelling (Access /


4. Data integration, analysis and representation (Licensed and open source software)

5. Creation of OGC interoperable services for web dissemination (Map server)


6. Ocean Data Portal and E-repositories

1.Data compilation and OGC services

2. Zoning and spatial conflict analysis

3. Digitalization of proposals, conversion to OGC services for web dissemination.

4. Personalization of web-viewers and atlases. (API/HTML5, Smart Atlas, etc.)

5. Web viewers development for dissemination and public

participation: Licensed software architecture and “tiles”: Google maps, Bin – OpenstreetMap Open source generic clients: (Html5)

  Development and use of ecological, socio-economic and governance indicators to support coastal management/MSP processes
Methodologies for the conduct of integrated marine assessments
Coastal and marine protected areas’ management and planning
Assessing coastal and marine biodiversity
Environmental economic analysis: Sectorial and integrated approach (Fisheries, Energy, Maritime Transportation, Tourism, etc.)
Financing incentives and co-funding initiatives
Coastal and Marine Governance, Legal framework coordination and improvement.
Stakeholder engagement, conflict resolution and negotiation skills in coastal management /MSP
Communication tools and strategies in the context of coastal and marine management and planning
Scenario development for planning and integrated management
Other needs identified by Member states

Figure 2: IOC/MPR CD priorities IOC/MPR and the World Ocean Assessment

Following the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, the United Nations set up a regular process to review the environmental, economic and social aspects of the world’s oceans and seas. The outputs will be a series of World Ocean Assessments, building on the many assessments already carried out by States and international organizations. 

The aim is to provide a sound, scientific basis for decisions at the global level on the world’s oceans and seas, and a framework for national and regional assessments and management decisions.

The task of the first cycle of the Regular Process (2010 to 2014) was to produce the first World Ocean Assessment. To this end, the UN General Assembly has created an Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole to oversee and guide the Regular Process, and a Group of Experts to carry out the assessments within the framework of the Regular Process. In addition, a much larger pool of experts has been created to assist the Group of Experts in conducting the assessments and to provide effective peer-review to ensure the high quality of the outputs. Since the Working Group meets once a year, a Bureau consisting of 15 Member States (African States: Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania; Asia-Pacific States: China, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka; Eastern European States: Bulgaria, Estonia, Ukraine; GRULAC: Argentina, Chile, Ecuador; Western European and other States: Greece, Spain, USA (at the date of 26/03/2013)), representing the regional groups of the United Nations was established for the intersessional periods of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole. 

Following the adoption in 2012 of the Terms of Reference and Methods of Work for the Group of Experts as well as the Outline of the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment (World Ocean Assessment, WOA-I), the Group of Experts supported by the Pool of Experts have engaged in the drafting of the WOA chapters with the aim to deliver these for peer-review in the summer of 2014.

In line with resolution A/RES/68/70 of 9 December 2013 on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, inviting IOC and other agencies to provide technical and scientific support to the Regular Process, IOC has continued to engage in the World Ocean Assessment in the following manner:

In the area of Communication: With initial letters of support and funds in cooperation with UNEP/GRID-Arendal, a communication portal and a dedicated website has been developed for use by the Group of Experts and contributors to the report. Between 2012 and 2014, financial support has been provided by the IOC to an amount of USD 30,000 thanks to contributions from France and Belgium (Government of Flanders).

- In the area of Assessments: IOC is leading a number of marine assessment products and databases that are available to the Group of Experts and will be integrated into the World Ocean Assessment. In particular, the contribution of the GEF Transboundary Water Assessment Programme (TWAP) implemented by UNEP and IOC, to prepare an indicator-based assessment of the world’s Large Marine Ecosystems and Open Ocean areas. This project which will deliver this year its results in the form of technical reports and a web-based portal, has been implemented in close coordination with the WOA Group of Experts with a view to make this information available to writers and contributors.

- In the area of Capacity Building: UNEP and IOC have continued to support Member States in the organization/facilitation of workshops. Technical and financial support has been provided to Member States for the organization of workshops, held in accordance with the Guidelines for Workshops adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 66/231 of 24 December 2011. These workshops were hosted by the Governments of Chile, China, Belgium, the United States of America, Mozambique, Australia, Côte d’Ivoire and most recently India.

- Following the needs identified during these workshops some Regional Scientific and Technical Capacity Building Training Seminar were held in Bangkok, Thailand, 17–19 September 2012 and Maputo 17 to 19 April, 2013 for the COBSEA/NOWPAP/WESTPAC regions as well as the Nairobi Conventions respectively.

IOC is also committed to assist the Group of Experts of the Regular Process in finalizing production of the report of the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment with the technical editing of the publication among others. IOC is providing support to DOALOS to hire an editor for the whole WOA report. 



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