The Dominican Republic is one of 13 Caribbean nations in which IPO is facilitating watershed management to address land-based sources of marine pollution.
While NOS focuses efforts on the communities, economies, and ecosystems situated and dependent on America's 95,000 miles of shoreline and 3.5 million square miles of coastal, Great Lakes, and deep-ocean waters, the world ocean itself, of course, knows no human-made bounds. The President’s Ocean Policy Task Force calls for the United States to cooperate and provide leadership internationally in the protection, management, and sustainable use of the world’s ocean and coastal regions.
NOS’s International Program Office (IPO) coordinates NOS’s International Coordination Council, which promotes multidisciplinary and integrated engagement to foster economic prosperity, protect marine biodiversity, and safeguard food supplies, both at home and abroad.
IPO promotes multidisciplinary actions that protect marine biodiversity. Hardwood mangrove trees, which grow at the intersection of land and sea across the the Caribbean, support a great variety of animal and plant species.
IPO and NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program co-manage the NOAA International Coral Grant Program. This program supports the development of national marine protected area (MPA) networks, capacity building for MPA and watershed management, and socioeconomic assessments and monitoring in four main regions – the Wider Caribbean, Micronesia, Southwest Pacific, and the Coral Triangle (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste).
In recent years, the program supported socioeconomic monitoring in the Caribbean, studied the impacts of land-based pollution sources on coral reefs in Southern Belize, improved watershed management in Mexico and Brazil, and strengthened MPA networks in Colombia.
This aerial photograph of coastal Belize shows burgeoning development in the Caribbean -- the U.S.'s "third border."
NOS’s International Coordination Council developed a new regional strategy to lead its extensive Caribbean portfolio in the U.S.’s “third border.” As part of an ongoing partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, IPO is facilitating watershed management to address land-based sources of marine pollution in 13 countries throughout the region – at national, regional, and/or local scales. IPO and NOS’s Office of Coastal and Ocean Resource Management recently conducted a workshop on coastal management in Trinidad and Tobago, and IPO and other NOS offices periodically offer MPA training for resource managers across the region.
IPO, together with NOS’s Office of Coast Survey, National Geodetic Survey, and Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, are collaborating with other NOS offices and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center to establish an observation framework for the region. The Inter-American Development Bank is funding the project.
Chinese professionals learn more about marine protected areas and geographic information systems in a training coordinated by NOS's International Program Office. NOS and partners provide similar training across Asia.
NOS’s International Program Office (IPO) is leading NOAA’s collaborative effort with various governmental and nongovernmental partners in China to develop watershed management solutions. IPO assisted colleagues from the State Oceanic Administration of China, Xiamen University, and the Xiamen Ocean and Fisheries Bureau to develop a draft strategic action plan for watershed management in the Xiamen Bay-Jiulong River Basin. A regional committee led by the mayors of three key cities will soon meet to further discuss the plan.
In March 2010, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection and the State Oceanic Administration agreed to a national framework of collaboration to reduce land-based sources of pollution to the marine environment, with the Xiamen Basin as the demonstration area. The region faces many challenges in terms of reducing land-based sources of pollution to the marine environment and ensuring safe and reliable sources of fresh water for the growing population.
NOS helped establish a work plan to advance ecosystem management in Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin region, where many people depend on the water for their livelihoods.
IPO also has had a longstanding partnership with the Republic of Korea, and is developing an emerging relationship with Vietnam.
IPO administers an agreement between NOAA and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry for Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. The agreement makes it possible for NOAA and Korean scientists and managers to pursue joint research in areas of common concern, from harmful algal bloom forecasting and testing technologies for offshore aquaculture to building operational, technical, and management capacity for adopting an ecosystem approach to coastal and ocean management.
Through a partnership between NOS, Vietnam’s Administration of Seas and Islands, and IUCN-The World Conservation Union, the Vietnamese municipality of Haiphong and the province of Quang Ninh recently approved an action plan that aims to jointly address priorities for coastal development in the region while conserving natural resources. Together with local community groups, local and provincial authorities also established a work plan and committed funding to advance ecosystem management in the coastal Gulf of Tonkin region. The Vietnamese are now seeking collaboration with the provincial governments of China to promote a common Gulf-wide framework for conservation and development.
IPO discussed MPAs and marine conservation at a training on maritime security in Cartagena, Colombia. The participants are displaying a TED (turtle exclusion device), which prevents sea turtles from getting caught in fishing nets.
Back on the home front, IPO and other NOS offices represent NOS at major international conferences and events and partner with other U.S. federal and state agencies, international organizations, and academia. IPO also helps prepare personnel from other NOS offices when their jobs require them to travel abroad.
All of NOS’s work supports an informed community that understands the role of the ocean, coasts, and atmosphere in the global ecosystem – making it possible for people beyond our national borders to make the best decisions not only for “their” ocean, but for everyone else’s, too.