Established in 1960, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO promotes international cooperation to building knowledge and capacity for sustainable ocean management. It will do this by strengthening scientific knowledge of the ocean and human impact on it, applying that knowledge for societal benefit, and building institutional capacities for sound management and governance. IOC coordinates programmes in marine scientific research and transfer of marine technology, including observing systems and data management, early warning and ocean services, assessments and information for policy and sustainable management and ocean governance. Through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)—the ocean component of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)—the IOC helps improve operational oceanography, weather and climate forecasts and monitoring and support the sustained observing needs of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Through the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) world’s largest open-access, global databases on the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine species—the IOC assists decision makers to sustainably manage our Ocean’s living resources. IOC-UNESCO is also involved GEO’s Blue Planet and coordinates the ocean component of EC FP7 funded GEO-WOW project.


Principal Investigator:

Ward Appeltans is a IOC programme Specialist, manages the Ocean Biogeographic Information System and is involved in EU FP7 iMarine, the GEO BON marine and data working groups, the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI), and is linked with several United Nations initiatives. Mr Appeltans was a project leader of VLIZ for nearly ten years and has several years of experience working in EU projects such as MarBEF, EMODnet, PESI, 4D4Life, MarBENA, LifeWatch, KNEU etc.
His role in Ecopotential is essentially in the marine component of this project, in particular in WP2, 5 10, 11 and 12.