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NOS International Policy

NOAA’s collaboration and partnerships extend to the ocean, ecosystems, and the atmosphere throughout the world.

The UNESCO building in Paris, France.

The UNESCO building in Paris, France.

NOAA’s mission extends beyond the political boundaries of the United States to the ocean, ecosystems, and the atmosphere throughout the world. NOS HQ and NOS Programs collaborate with partners from around the world in protecting and restoring our natural resources, coastal communities, and economy.

NOS HQ engages in various multilateral and bilateral meetings and organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, High Level Ocean Panel, Our Ocean Conference, International Maritime Organization, United Nations Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, US-Canada-Mexico Commission for Environmental Cooperation, and NOAA-Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries Joint Project Agreement all in support of NOAA’s mission.

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

The United States is a founding Member State of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. The NOS Assistant Administrator, Nicole LeBoeuf, serves as the U.S. Representative to the IOC and NOS acts as the Administrative Secretariat, coordinating the U.S. interagency working group on IOC matters. Programs and bodies under the IOC align well with NOS priorities and NOS scientists engage in several priority areas including: Harmful Algal Blooms, sea-level monitoring, seabed mapping and bathymetry, ocean and coastal observations, and ocean governance. Robust coordination both within the U.S federal government and with relevant U.S. industries and academic communities helps NOAA represent the United States as a UNESCO Member State.

NOAA participates in the IOC Assembly and the IOC Executive Council and will continue to lead U.S engagement in IOC subsidiary bodies, in bilateral engagement with IOC Member States and international organizations, and IOC-related intersessional efforts. The IOC Assembly meets every other year with the purpose to review the work of the commission, including the work of the Member States and the Secretariat, make major science policy decisions, and formulate a common work plan and budget for the coming two years.

International Hydrographic Organization (IHO)

The International Hydrographic Organization is an intergovernmental consultative and technical organization established in 1921 to support safe and environmentally-sound navigation through the provision of accurate and timely hydrographic information. The director of Coast Survey is the U.S. national hydrographer and a principal U.S. representative to the IHO. The IHO functions through a series of regional coordination committees and technical working groups to support nations in collectively joining together to chart the world's oceans and protect the marine environment.

Our Ocean Conference (OOC)

OOC is a high-level, multi-stakeholder, invite-only meeting geared towards identifying solutions to improve ocean productivity, prosperity, and security. The primary focus of the OOC is for invitees to announce significant, new, measurable, and time-bound voluntary actions/commitments to ensure protection of the ocean, responsible management of marine resources, and sustainable future economic growth. The priority areas for action of the OOC match well with NOS interests including Marine Protected Areas, marine pollution, Sustainable Blue Economies, and Climate Change.

U.S.-Canada-Mexico Council for Environmental Cooperation (USMCA)

As part of our work under the USMCA free trade agreement, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico maintain ongoing CEC projects to support sharing of knowledge on environmental issues. NOS is currently leading a 2021-2025 project on Nature Based Solutions (NBS) for flooding in coastal cities. The project will result in a review of the available science, overview of successful NBS projects, and trainings and guidance for coastal decision makers.

NOAA-Korea Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries Joint Project Agreement

NOAA collaborates with Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) through a formal Joint Project Agreement to conduct projects in fields of research, policy and management of coastal and ocean resources. NOS's Policy and Constituent Affairs Division (PCAD) co-chairs the Integrated Coastal Management panel and supports the Korean liaison Fellows program.

International Agreements

NOS Policy International Affairs coordinates and monitors bilateral agreements for cooperation between the United States and other countries on issues relevant to NOS Program Offices.