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. To this end, NOS promotes multidisciplinary and integrated engagement to foster economic prosperity, protect marine biodiversity, and safeguard food supplies, both at home and abroad.
NOAA also administers the 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.
NOS has developed a 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, NOS 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.
NOS is also coordinating with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center to establish an observation framework for the region. The Inter-American Development Bank is funding the project.
NOAA is also involved with collaborative efforts with various governmental and nongovernmental partners in China to develop watershed management solutions. For instance, NOAA 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.
NOS also has had a longstanding partnership with the Republic of Korea, and is developing an emerging relationship with Vietnam. Through an agreement with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry for Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, U.S. and Korean scientists and managers 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.
Back on the home front, NOS experts participate at major international conferences and events and partner with other U.S. federal and state agencies, international organizations, and academia.
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.