Elisabeth Mann Borgese (April 24, 1918 - February 8, 2002) founded the IOI in 1972 as a knowledge-based non-governmental, non-profit international organization devoted to the sustainable development of the oceans. The IOI works to uphold and expand the principles enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for the benefit of humankind as a whole, with particular consideration of the poor. The mission of the IOI is to promote education, training and publications to enhance the peaceful uses of ocean space and its resources, their management and regulation as well as the protection and conservation of the marine environment, guided by the principle of the Common Heritage of Mankind.
Elisabeth Mann Borgese was instrumental in encouraging world leaders to rethink our relationship with the oceans and our management of marine resources. She became known to the ocean community, the underprivileged and marginalized coastal communities as the Mother of the Oceans.
In her memory the Board of Governance of IOI awards the Elisabeth Mann Borgese medal to recognise outstanding actions in favour of our global oceans. Notable recipients of the EMB medal have been:
Recent awards to H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary General and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand are reported in the IOInformas 0915 and 0714 respectively; copies of these newsletters may be requested from IOI HQ.