Latest News and Upcoming Events

15th Annual Session Global Forum on Human Settlements


The IOI is a collaborating partner with the Global Forum on Human Settlements in the organisation of the online 15th Annual Session Global Forum on Human Settlements, this 15th – 16th October. The 15th GFHS will address the theme of Post-Pandemic Recovery and Transformation: Resilient Cities, Healthy Planet.


Within the Forum, the IOI, through HQ, is responsible for coordinating and moderating Thematic Forum 1b “Blue Economy and a Healthy Ocean” on the 15th October. Partners and speakers in this session hail from the IOI, the World Ocean Council (WOC), UNCTAD, UNEP FI Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative, and the Ministry for Fisheries, Agriculture and Animal Rights, Malta.


You are cordially invited to register to the GFHS online Forum and to also join IOI and the distinguished speakers of Forum 1b “Blue Economy and a Healthy Ocean” on the 15th from 13.30hr to 15hrs (CET).


Register to the event:


For more information:

GFHS Forum


New President of IOI Governing Board and Composition of IOI Governing Board in 2020 

Dr Mahin Faghfouri is the new President of the IOI Governing Board, chosen by the Board members in unanimity during their meeting in December 2019. She succeeds Nikolaus Gelpke, who is now the IOI’s Patron, following his previous role as President. The IOI family acknowledges with gratitude his support of the IOI throughout his tenure. The position of Vice President vacated by Dr Faghfouri is now occupied by Dr Chua Thia-Eng. The IOI continues to benefit immensely from the combined expertise and guidance of its members:


         Dr Awni BEHNAM, Honorary President

         Mr Nikolaus GELPKE, Patron of IOI

         Dr Mahin FAGHFOURI, President

         Dr Chua THIA-ENG, Vice-President

         Dr Lamiaa MOHAMEDEIN, Chair of IOI Directors

         Mr Peter W. LEDER, Treasurer

         Professor Simone BORG, Representative of the Government of Malta to the IOI Governing Board

         Dr Lawrence HILDEBRAND, Member 

         Ms Anita COADY, Member 

         Professor Louis F CASSAR, Member

         Dr Wendy WATSON-WRIGHT, Member 

         Dr Shi SUIXIANG, Member


IOI panel on Human Health and the Health of the Ocean organised during the 2nd Xiong'an International Health Forum in Langfang, PR China (17th - 18th October 2019)

The 2nd Xiong’an International Health Forum (XIHF), co-founded by the Shenzhen World Health Foundation, aimed to provide a platform for government officials, business managers, researchers and practitioners where ideas and good practices could be exchanged in order to predict development trends, discuss policy recommendations, build cross-sector bridges and promote the comprehensive implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, with a special focus on human health issues.


During the forum the IOI was invited to organise a panel on “Human Health and the Health of the Ocean: Linking SDG3 and SDG14 for Human Health & Wellbeing”. The panel was moderated by Antonella Vassallo and contained interventions from Chad Blackman (Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Barbados to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva); Poh Poh Wong (Visiting Associate Professor, School of Social Science, University of Adelaide, Australia); Mao Bin (Course Director, IOI China Training Programme); Hajo Zeeb (Professor of Epidemiology, Leibniz-Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology-BIPS, Bremen, Germany); Lu Haifeng (Secretary General, Global Forum on Human Settlements); Cherdsak Virapat (Executive Director, International Institute for Trade and Development, Thailand) and Peter Leder (Member, IOI Governing Board).


The speakers made their presentations with the intent of developing and emphasising the linkages between SDG3, SDG14 and also SDG13 under the broad thematic of human health as it relates to ocean and climate issues, Small Island Developing States, the interdependence of cities and oceans, ocean governance, capacity development and education, institutional arrangements and ocean policy, aquaculture and food security and socio-cultural issues.


Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Awni Behnam (photos available in the GALLERY section)

During the opening ceremony of the Forum, Awni Behnam (Honorary President, IOI) received the XIHF Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his contribution to promoting the sustainable use of the ocean and also for his role in raising awareness on the importance of using its resources rationally and sustainably. The award was collected on his behalf by Antonella Vassallo.

The World Maritime University and the IOI partner on ocean sustainability and capacity development

The President of WMU, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, and the President of the International Ocean Institute, Mr Nikolaus Gelpke, signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in January 2019. The MoU builds on the shared commitment of the IOI and WMU in supporting the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 focused on sustainable oceans as well as the vital role of education and capacity building in support of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The MoU fosters the development of collaborative and reciprocal activities in the fields of ocean sustainability, ocean governance, the implementation of the sustainable development goal for the oceans, and the science-law-policy interface. Collaboration in research, training opportunities and capacity-building initiatives and in the delivery of conferences, seminars, workshops and joint publications on matters of common interest will contribute to the achievement of these objectives.


In this era of globalization and sectoral integration, capacity building in ocean governance plays a pivotal role in ensuring safe and healthy oceans for the benefit of humankind and the planet. Additionally, obligations towards achieving the SDGs, notably SDG14 and its targets, and other intersecting SDGs, place a burden of responsibility on States and institutions which may benefit from targeted capacity development and training opportunities for their staff.


IOI SA cares about empowering all sectors of the population with knowledge about the marine environment including the young ocean ambassadors. They have developed a (digital) booklet of games that are available as PDFs on the IOI SA Kids website.