The NOS International Program Office (IPO) is the focal point for NOS's international activities to enhance U.S. and international capabilities for ocean and coastal management. Specifically, IPO facilitates international partnerships, capacity building, scientific and technical exchanges, and access to NOS products and services.
In February, NOAA signed a memorandum of agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA). The agreement continues an ongoing program to provide direct technical assistance and advice to governments in the Wider Caribbean in the development of their National Programmes of Action (NPA) to prevent, reduce, control, and/or eliminate marine degradation from land-based activities. Additionally, the GPA will provide help with the implementation of pilot activities.
NOAA and the Secretariat of the UNEP/GPA originally entered into an MOA in March 2004 at the White Water to Blue Water Conference in Miami, establishing a framework for collaboration on activities related to coastal and marine pollution originating from land and coastal degradation.
In fiscal year 2011, NOS provided program oversight for a cooperative program involving five of NOAA’s line offices and two Korean agencies for joint research and training to support exchanges in such areas as oil spill modeling, NOAA Sea Grant, harmful algal bloom research, marine protected area management, integrated coastal/watershed management, fisheries research, ocean and coastal observations and data exchange, and aquaculture. The Korean Ministry of Land Transport and Maritime Affairs and the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry jointly provided NOAA with funding to promote effective stewardship for ecosystem approaches to coastal and ocean management.
A marine protected area cooperation agreement between Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and Chile’s Francisco Coloane Coastal and Marine Protected Area (MPA) was signed in March by Chile’s Minister of Environment and the U.S. Ambassador to Chile. This agreement on MPA cooperation is a result of the activities that, since 2004, NOS IPO and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have developed with agencies in Chile on coastal resource conservation and management. IPO, in cooperation with the National Parks Service (NPS), organized a Chilean delegation visit to Glacier Bay in 2009 and obtained funds from the U.S. Department of State to support a US delegation visit to Francisco Coloane in 2010. In 2011, NOS IPO and the NPS have continued working with the State Department support to develop a more comprehensive agreement on MPA cooperation between the two countries and develop a capacity-building workshop for MPA managers Chile and the South-east pacific. During September 2011, NOS IPO led a multiagency delegation to the First U.S.-Chile Bilateral Workshop on Management of Land and Marine Protected Areas. About 200 participants from Chile and other countries in Latin America attended the workshop and the results are being used to draft a more broad agreement between the U.S. and Chile on land and marine protected areas.
NOAA Office of Ocean and Atmospheric Research Acting Assistant Administrator, Craig McLean, led the U.S. delegation to the 26th session of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Assembly in Paris, France. The NOS International Program Office provided key staff support to Mr. McLean prior to and during the Assembly. The U.S. played a key role in negotiations of 10 of 12 IOC resolutions. Major U.S. achievements included IOC consensus on reorganization of the global ocean observing system; enhanced global and regional coordination on tsunamis issues including creation of a hazard assessment task team; IOC and World Meteorological Organization adoption of a resolution calling for new coordinated action to stop data buoy vandalism; adoption of an IOC statement for Rio+20 preparations in 2012; and new transparency for IOC’s biennial budget.
NOS IPO provided ongoing support to the Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA) for the implementation of the Research/Training Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Marine Sustainable Development Center (MSDC), located at the 3rd Institute of Oceanography in Xiamen. NOS IPO coordinated and organized with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the U.S. National Park Service, and SOA to develop the inaugural training on marine protected areas at the APEC MSDC. The training was addressed to marine protected area practitioners and coastal managers, supporting all 21 APEC economies. NOS IPO also coordinated with the APEC Center for the participation of NOAA in the APEC Blue Economy Forum, in November 2011.