International Hydrographic Organisation approves WOC observer status

The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) on October 6th approved the World Ocean Council (WOC) as an official Observer to this important intergovernmental body.

With formal IHO Observer status, the WOC increases its ability to ensure ocean business community involvement in the key intergovernmental bodies and processes on ocean science, policy, planning and regulations that are important to ocean industry activities.

The IHO is the intergovernmental technical and consultative organisation based in Monaco and established in 1921 to improve and standardise the surveying and mapping of the world’s seas, oceans and waterways – most of which remain largely unsurveyed and therefore poorly mapped. 85 member governments are represented in the IHO.

IHO Secretary-General, Robert Ward, stated that, “We have better maps of the Moon and Mars than of most of our seas and oceans. The IHO is therefore most pleased to welcome the World Ocean Council on board as an Observer organization.

The WOC is uniquely positioned to help us improve the situation by engaging the diverse global ocean business community in collecting and sharing the vital hydrographic data that is essential to safe and sustainable ocean industry operations, and to coordinate this with the IHO via the WOC ‘Smart Ocean-Smart Industries’ program.”

The WOC “Smart Ocean-Smart Industries” (SO-SI) program is working to expand the role of ocean industries in collecting and sharing of oceanographic information - including hydrographic data.

The SO-SI is developing coordinated program to systematically engage the use of industry vessels, platforms, and other infrastructure (e.g. wind farms, aquaculture facilities) in hosting or deploying scientific instrumentation to gather data. Participation in the program enables companies to demonstrate their contribution to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14a which calls for “increasing scientific knowledge” of the ocean.

Advancing the development of the WOC “Smart Ocean-Smart Industries” program will be the focus of a session at the WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS), Rotterdam, 30 Nov-2 Dec 2016.

The SOS 2016 will again bring together CEOs and senior executives from a wide range of ocean industries, including: shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, offshore renewable energy, marine mining, ports, dredging, submarine cables, marine science/technology, the maritime legal, financial and insurance communities, and others.

To register for the World Ocean Council’s Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) and see the SOS 2016 program, visit

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