Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report
International Program Office

Bilateral Agreement with Canada Encourages Arctic Collaboration

The National Ocean Service plays a key role in the NOAA-Environment Canada bilateral agreement whose purpose is to focus on emerging areas for collaboration where work is not already ongoing. The goals for this partnership include hydrology, collaboration in the Arctic region including oil spill preparedness, marine weather forecasting, and climate. NOS Assistant Administrator Dr. Holly Bamford led the NOAA bilateral strategic planning process which will result in a new biennial program to be implemented in 2014. This new program will identify strategic priorities for NOAA and address activities of mutual benefit to both countries. All programs are unfunded, developed only with the contribution of staff time, and provide added value to NOAA’s strategic goals.

Working to Address Marine Debris, Nutrients, and Wastewater Issues in Caribbean

In 2013, NOAA NOS continued efforts with national and regional partners to address an ongoing process in the Caribbean in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA). The GPA helps government agencies manage the impact of land-based sources of pollution, such as urban and agricultural runoff, on coastal and marine ecosystems. Recently the GPA refocused its work on three global partnership processes—nutrient management, marine litter, and wastewater. NOAA and NOS continue to be a key GPA partner. NOS has strong interests in marine litter and is developing a proposal for funding with federal partners to support nutrient management.

Collaborating with Korea on Coastal and Ocean Management

Since 2001, the National Ocean Service provided oversight for a cooperative program involving four of NOAA's line offices and two Korean federal agencies. In 2013, NOAA received $815,000 for 36 joint activities from the Korean Government for short-term exchange and research in such areas as NOAA Sea Grant, harmful algal blooms, marine protected area management, climate and ocean acidification, fisheries, ocean and coastal observations and data exchange, and aquaculture.

The newly reorganized Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and NOAA jointly address promoting effective stewardship for ecosystem approaches to coastal and ocean management. The program provides NOAA scientists and managers a venue to pursue joint research with the international scientific community and advances knowledge of important ocean and coastal issues. The current agreement is active through 2016.

NOS Leads U.S. on the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

In 2013, the U.S. continued to serve on the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Executive Council and provide leadership for ocean observations and science. A National Ocean Service scientific leader was re-elected to chair the IOC Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) Regional Alliance and Intergovernmental Panel on Harmful Algal Blooms. The NOS International Program Office (IPO) organized an interagency working group policy review process with intensive preparations on governance of ocean observations. This process resulted in new guidance to the U.S. delegation.

IPO staff served as the U.S. representative to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions, playing a key role to support the U.S. chair of the meeting to aid the development of a fund-raising approach for the Caribbean. Over this past year, NOS completed the transfer of the interim tsunami/IOC role from the National Ocean Service to the National Weather Service.

Partnering with Chile to Protect Marine Areas

NOAA NOS, the National Park Service (NPS), and three Chilean agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) effective on January 31, 2013, for "Cooperation in the Conservation and Management of Terrestrial and Marine Protected Areas." The joint activities include capacity building such as a protected area management course, staff exchange between parks, development of partnerships and sister sites among protected areas with common conservation and management objectives, and a new Chile-U.S. MOU Coordinating Council.

Five priority areas were established including two national marine sanctuaries, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and Chile's Motu Motiro Hiva and Rapa Nui National Park. To build capacity and develop the partnerships, six protected area managers from three agencies in Chile participated in a California Protected Area Study Tour in October 2012, with presentations, field trips, and information exchange with national marine sanctuaries and national parks from San Francisco to Ventura, California.

NOS also led a U.S. delegation to Chile in December 2012, to establish a cooperative sister site agreement between Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Motu Motiro Hiva and Rapa Nui National Park. Both sites protect cultural and natural resources where local stakeholders are active in managing their own resources. U.S. and Chile's cooperation on protected areas is a priority issue for both nations as highlighted in a joint statement from both countries.