About IOI

Founded by Professor Elisabeth Mann Borgese in 1972, the International Ocean Institute (IOI) is a world leading independent, non-governmental non-profit organisation conducting training and capacity building in Ocean Governance with the aim of creating knowledgeable future leaders.

IOI trains young and mid-career practitioners in contemporary approaches to coastal and ocean management, with an emphasis on the moral, ethical and legal values in Ocean Governance (equity and peaceful uses of the ocean).


In 1972, the IOI was founded by Professor Elisabeth Mann Borgese and its establishment was a milestone in the struggle to promote the concept of Pacem in Maribus (peace in the oceans) and the conservation of the ocean and its resources so that future generations can share in their benefits. The IOI enjoys special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and consultative status at some of UN’s Specialized Agencies, and works to uphold and expand the principle of the common heritage as defined in the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.


The mission of the IOI is to ensure the sustainability of the oceans as the “source of life”, and to uphold and expand the principle of the common heritage of mankind as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


As a knowledge-based institution the IOI offers a number of training courses on ocean governance and related issues at national, regional, and international levels. It also accesses and produces publications of current scientific, legal and policy developments and participates in the development of national and international ocean governance agendas. The IOI works through its Headquarters in Malta as well as through the IOI network of Centres and Focal Points.


The major financial support to the IOI and its global programmes comes from the Ocean Science and Research Foundation (OSRF) and, in addition to financial contributions from OSRF and other funders, IOI receives in-kind support from other partners. These contributions are substantial in terms of quality and quantity and complement the financial resources for IOI to deliver its programmes and fulfil its mission.


A summary of the core activities of IOI is presented in the diagram below*:

*OG: Ocean Governance; WOR: World Ocean Review publications; OYB: Ocean Yearbook Publication
*OG: Ocean Governance; WOR: World Ocean Review publications; OYB: Ocean Yearbook Publication


The three pillars supporting the IOI mission are Training and Capacity Building, International Relations, and Publications.


Training, Education and Capacity Building: Since 1980, IOI has trained more than 2,000 ocean practitioners - particularly from developing countries and countries in transition and contributed to a growing global network of trained and empowered leaders fully conversant with the latest developments in ocean governance; with the knowledge, skills and essential attitude required for effective ocean governance of the planet´s precious resources. 


Publications: in addition to its dedicated portfolio of annual or ad hoc training and capacity development programmes, the IOI also produces and disseminates  thematic  publications as a core activity of IOI. Regular publications of the IOI are the IOInforma: electronic bulletin, the IOI’s Annual Report, the World Ocean Review series,  and the Ocean Yearbook.


International Relations: The formation of lasting and effective partnerships through the fostering of international relations form one of the three pillars of IOI’s institutional architecture and underpins the delivery of  training and capacity development for the sustainable management of ocean resources and services. IOI is engaged in collaboration, cooperation and partnership with the international ocean community at several levels: through the international United Nations systems, regional groupings such as the European Union and other regional bodies, NGOs, IGOs, academia and institutions of learning; international organisations and many others across a broad spectrum of activities relating to ocean governance.


The IOI continues to implement its mission and objectives through fostering links of cooperation and establishing new partnerships, collaborative projects and programmes including exchange of knowledge, delivery of keynote papers to relevant fora. The IOI makes its publications of scientific and substantive content available freely to its partners and collaborators.   


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