Industry Insights

Fugro partners with IOC-UNESCO

WGIC member Fugro has signed a partnership agreement with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (IOC-UNESCO) to improve the coordination of and access to global ocean science data.

WGIC Secretariat October 1, 2021
Fugro commits Geo-data expertise and experience to UN Ocean Decade under new partnership agreement

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences. It aims to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications. Key goals are to develop knowledge and capacity, paramount to economic and social progress. And this is the basis of peace and sustainable development.

The Ocean Decade

The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) was proclaimed in 2017 by the The United Nations General Assembly. It seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system, and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade.

Direct support

The partnership with the engineers of Fugro will directly support the Ocean Decade. The agreement calls for Fugro to provide the IOC-UNESCO Secretariat in Paris, France, with experts to help establish and administer two key ocean science data working groups. As one of the world’s leading geo‑data specialists and a participant in IOC‑UNESCO’s early planning activities for the Ocean Decade, Fugro is committed to addressing the data coordination and access needs of this landmark programme. Initially this work will focus on the development of an Ocean Decade Data Coordination Platform. This will provide a global, cross-sectoral convening framework for the creation of a ‘digital ecosystem’ to share, manage and distribute ocean data and interoperable marine science. Next, Fugro will help establish a working group of global private‑sector stakeholders who collect or own ocean science data, and are willing to make these data publicly accessible in support of the Ocean Decade. This group will provide a global, cross-discipline and cross-data type convening framework for the development of equitable mechanisms to accelerate public access to privately held ocean science data.

One intergovernmental, one commercial

IOC-UNESCO Executive Secretary Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin stated: “IOC and Fugro may be different kinds of organisations, one intergovernmental, one commercial, but we share the same ultimate goal, which is to bring ocean science and surveys to the service of the people. Not only does IOC appreciate the possibility to capitalise on Fugro’s technological leadership and expertise in ocean Geo-data; the most important element for IOC in working closely with Fugro on the Ocean Decade is their leadership in opening data to the world, offering an unprecedented example for the private sector. IOC is a standard-setting organisation in ocean science and data, and Fugro is setting a new golden standard in moving towards making ocean data a common good.” Fugro’s CEO Mark Heine stated, “Fugro is committed to bringing our global expertise, experience and relationships to this partnership and we are eager to help IOC-UNESCO build a truly global digital ecosystem that encompasses all sources and all types of ocean science data. The opportunity to help transform the way ocean science data is managed, distributed and accessed through direct participation in the Ocean Decade aligns perfectly with Fugro’s purpose to create a safe and liveable world.”