FIRST CONFERENCE OF THE INDIAN OCEAN GLOBAL OCEAN OBSERVING SYSTEM (IOGOOS)
Mauritius 4-9 November 2002
Being constantly aware of their living environment and its sensitivity
to climate change, natural disaster, and human impact, the Indian Ocean countries have decided
to mobilize their resources to safeguard and manage their oceans and coastal
waters through a permanent ocean observing system, the Indian Ocean Global
Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS).
Nineteen organizations of 10 Indian Ocean countries signed a
Memorandum of Understanding to create and actively participate in a Regional
Alliance for IOGOOS, signed on 5 November 2002 during the First
Conference of the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System, in Mauritius , 4-9 November 2002.
This Memorandum of Understanding is one of the strongest
instruments of cooperation and collaboration in the context of the
oceanographic development of the region.
The Government of Mauritius, through its Mauritius Oceanographic
Institute, facilitated this landmark Conference, with sponsorship from ten
international and national agencies and programs: Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission, World Meteorological Organization, Department of
Ocean Development of India, US Office of Naval Research, US National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, US National Science Foundation, Mauritius
Oceanographic Institute, Climate Variability and Prediction Program, Australian
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Land-Ocean
Interaction in the Coastal Zone.
The oceans may be viewed as keeping countries apart, but GOOS may
be viewed as bringing them together. International conventions, such as the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biodiversity, and
the economic challenges and social commitments have mandated countries to
implement ocean observing systems.
IOGOOS is intended to elevate the Indian Ocean from one of the
least studied to one of the most studied of the world's major oceans, with a
real emphasis on the link between societal and scientific issues.
The 1.5 billion people of the Indian Ocean Rim can now look forward
to an increased ability to make use of the ocean observations and information
produced by GOOS to improve the management of their marine environment and to
use the ocean's resources sustainably.
IOGOOS will minimize the disconnect between procedures and
requirements in the observation of the Indian Ocean, and enable the community
to derive benefits from baseline data, routine and timely maps of ocean
properties, and useful forecasts on all relevant time-scales. This will enable
the detection of climate change in the marine environment with the least
possible lag between changes and their detection.
The Conference proposed a number of actions and programs to give
effect to the IOGOOS vision and to meet its objectives.
The basin-wide structure of temperature, salinity, and currents
will be monitored by combining routine satellite data with pilot in situ
measurements by ARGO floats, moored buoys, XBTs, and
A new data-management structure will disseminate integrated data
products, including ocean analyses and climate predictions to regional users,
not least farmers and fishermen.
In the coastal zone, increased and coordinated
study and monitoring of coastal erosion, habitat and biodiversity,
and fisheries will be given priority, with the aim of forecasting
change and of providing the best possible data products
to the national authorities, managers and scientific communities.
The significance of the Conference lies in its explicit statement
of commitment of the participating countries, agencies and institutions, and of
interested nongovernmental organizations, to the generation of oceanic
knowledge, data, and information and their application to the ocean- and
climate-change problems of the Indian Ocean, and to the free and open access to
such knowledge, data, and information, for the benefit of all the people of the
Indian Ocean region and beyond.
Through the Conference, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic
Commission (of UNESCO) and its UN and regional partners are now one step closer
to establishing a fully operational Global Ocean Observing System in the Indian
Ocean with the collaboration of the countries of the Indian Ocean region.