Latest News and Upcoming Events



The 2nd IOI Training Programme on Ocean Governance, Ocean Sciences and Geoethics is scheduled to be held in Valparaiso, Chile from the 8th January to the 2nd February 2018.


Pre-registration is now open. The form may be obtained by clicking on the website here. The deadline for registration is the 15th November 2017.

L-R: Wayan Gendo Suardana (Indonesia), Werner Ekau (IOI Germany) and Silke Behl (MARE-Radio). Photo credit: W. Ekau
L-R: Wayan Gendo Suardana (Indonesia), Werner Ekau (IOI Germany) and Silke Behl (MARE-Radio). Photo credit: W. Ekau

 “Pasar” an Indonesian culture forum for Germany was designed not only to provide cultural demonstrations like music, arts, fashion and dance, but also was the venue for some interesting discussions and dialogues on current ecological, economic and cultural issues in Indonesia. Special attention was drawn to the tourism development plans in the Benoa Bay on Bali.



Under the moderation of Dr. Silke Behl, responsible for MARE-Radio in Germany, Dr. Werner Ekau in his function as marine scientist and Director of IOI Germany, and Wayan Gendo Suardana, activist from Bali, discussed on the ecological, economic and cultural impacts of the Benoa Bay reclamation plan. Besides the enormous loss in ecological functions (loss of fisheries catch, loss of nursery grounds for fish and shrimps, pollution of and loss of the function of mangroves as filters, buffers for river run-off and flood protection), the loss of cultural heritage is also significant with more than 40 cultural places around the bay facing destruction. Over the last five years local grassroots activists Gendo Suardana and his group are opposing this project planned in a former nature reserve over such issues as loss of habitat and environmental services and the 2013 suspension of the Indonesian 2005 Marine Spatial Planning Act. The presentation and subsequent moderated public discussion between Werner Ekau and Wayan Gendo Suardana, transmitted over MARE-Radio in Germany was one of the first actions on international ground and an attempt to seek for greater support.

Opening of the training in the presence of M. Atanajov, Chairman of the State Enterprise on Caspian Sea Issues at the President of Turkmenistan; A. Vassallo (IOI HQ)
Opening of the training in the presence of M. Atanajov, Chairman of the State Enterprise on Caspian Sea Issues at the President of Turkmenistan; A. Vassallo (IOI HQ)
  • TRAINING ON MARITIME SPATIAL PLANNING FOR THE  CASPIAN SEA ~ Blue Planning in Practice ~ Ecosystem-based Marine and Coastal Planning and Management (Organised jointly by the IOI, the state Enterprise on Caspian Sea Issues at the President of Turkmenistan, and the Blue Solutions Initiative), Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 17th to 21st July 2017

A specially commissioned course on Maritime Spatial Planning for the Caspian Sea was successfully offered over five days in July 2017 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The International Ocean Institute, on the invitation of the State Enterprise on Caspian Sea Issues at the President of Turkmenistan created, in partnership with the Blue Solutions Initiative, a specialised programme to provide practitioners in the field with knowledge and skills for implementing Maritime and Coastal Spatial Planning in the Caspian Sea.


The training programme was attended by 23 mid-career participants with diverse professional backgrounds, ranging from economics, legal affairs, engineering, hydrology, tourism, ecology, and logistics. The specially selected trainer team provided a good combination of ample experience and knowledge on Marine Spatial Planning as well as participatory training methods.


The programme was organised so that conceptual input and theory was first shared with the participants in the form of lectures and hands-on participatory exercises; the class then was guided to work through several exercises of the Blue Planning in Practice (BPiP) course using the fictitious case of Bakul country. Participants engaged in exercises focused on identifying needs, mapping stakeholders, mapping the seascape, identifying spatial incompatibilities, allocating sea use and also role-plays aimed at exploring positions and negotiating draft plans. The exercises were accompanied by introductory inputs on all BPiP elements and were followed by reflection sessions that aimed to link the lessons to the issues facing the Caspian Sea.


Throughout this course participants learned how to think in systems and understand the role of coastal and marine ecosystems for human well-being, how to be able to balance interests of different stakeholders on the basis of transparent criteria and how to develop strategies in order to overcome barriers and challenges that hinder the effective use and implementation of Blue Planning approaches. 


The 8th June has been designated as World Oceans Day (WOD) by the United Nations following paragraph 171 of its resolution 63/111 on Oceans and the Law of the Sea. The theme of World Oceans Day is selected on an annual basis to reflect an issue of importance. The theme of this year’s celebrations was “Our Oceans, Our Future”.


On the 8th June of each year, the IOI joins the rest of the maritime world in celebrating World Oceans Day. The global IOI network of Centres and Focal points respond enthusiastically each year to the invitation to commemorate this day by organising and celebrating a diverse range of scientific, social and cultural activities. 


As we individually or collectively celebrate World Oceans Day, all our activities are inspired by what Elisabeth Mann Borgese wrote: 


“The ocean is the real thing, covering almost three-quarters of the surface of our blue planet; the continents are islands floating on the world ocean; the ocean links and unites the continents, rather than separating them and isolating them. The world ocean is our common heritage”.

 (Mann Borgese, E: The Oceanic Circle: Governing the Seas as a Global Resource; United Nations University Press; pub 1998; 346pp; ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1028-8)


To see how World Oceans Day was celebrated by the IOI network worldwide kindly click on the IOInforma News Bulletin series (0417) in the Archives section (Documents & Publications); reports of the WOD events held each year are included.




The 2017-2018 Bursary will be awarded to one person/research team carrying out postgraduate studies/research in ocean/marine/maritime related studies at the University of Malta.  Staff or students are to be registered with the University of Malta where research in the relevant fields is carried out.


For more information as well as the application form/guidelines kindly click here.


The official application deadline is the 28th July 2017.



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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.



The 2017 Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas held in Malta will be held from the 5th November to the 8th December 2017.


In order to obtain an application form kindly click here.


The official application deadline is the 2nd September 2017.

“Healthy Oceans – Healthy Planet”

International Leadership Seminar towards achieving SDG 14

“Current challenges and opportunities in ocean and coastal sustainable development”

~ Celebrating 45 years of IOI and its work in Sustainable Ocean Governance ~

 25-26 April 2017, Hong Kong, CHINA


Following the recent Ocean Forum on trade-related aspects of Sustainable Development Goal 14 held at UNCTAD on 21-22 March 2017 in Geneva-Switzerland, the IOI is pleased to announce the organization of a Leadership Seminar in Hong Kong on the issues of Oceans and Ocean Health, and the sustainable Development Goals especially SDG 14 concerning the Oceans. The event will focus specially on the ocean-coast interaction with a view to achieving SDG 14.


This event builds upon earlier collaborations of the IOI in 2016 and 2017 with partners and supporters, such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the European Commission Representation in Malta, and an intended outcome of this Seminar is that results be expected to feed into the high-level Ocean Conference scheduled later this year for 5-9 June in New York (Our Oceans, Our Future: Partnering for the Implementation of SDG 14). Co-organizers with the IOI in this Leadership Seminar are UNCTAD (DITC) and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU).


Information about the event as well as conference presentations can be found here


Celebrating 45 Years of IOI and its work in Sustainable Ocean Governance (1972 -2017);

25 April; Hong Kong, China


This year 2017 also coincides with the forty fifth anniversary of the foundation of IOI by Professor Elisabeth Mann Borgese; and the occasion of the Seminar in Hong Kong shall also be an opportunity to mark this event in the ongoing development of the IOI as an institution focused on capacity development for the benefit of future generations and the sustainable use of our oceans.


Internal Meeting of IOI Experts Putting It All Together: Bringing the Message of the Leadership Seminar to Implementation through Outreach and Capacity Development

27 April; Hong Kong, China


This specially convened meeting held back-to-back with the Leadership Seminar provided an opportunity for the IOI network members to build upon the presentations and dynamic discussions of the previous days, and to identify ways to implement these outcomes and recommendations through the IOI programmes, outreach and capacity development actions and other actions. The meeting provided an opportunity to capture this feedback to use in several occasions and opportunities over the next months, not least the Oceans Conference in New York, and also for the growing set of topics for mainstreaming into IOI training course syllabi. The collection of initial ideas and vision for the IOI arising from this meeting were intended to inform further decision making by the IOI Governing Board.


A report on the outcome of the events is available for download from the Publications - IOInforma News Bulletin section (0217 issue).

Oceans Forum on Trade-Related Aspects of Sustainable Development Goal 14 Salle XXVI, Palais des Nations - Geneva, Switzerland 21 - 22 March 2017


The Oceans Forum on trade-related aspects of Sustainable Development Goal 14 was hosted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and partners in Geneva, Switzerland and took place in the Palais des Nations from 21 to 22 of March 2017. The multi-stakeholder event fostered debates and the development of specific policy options and novel ideas to feed into the processes of two upcoming intergovernmental conferences:

  • the High-level UN Ocean Conference (New York, June 2017), whose aim it is to identify ways and means to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14;
  • and the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (Buenos Aires, December 2017), which is the highest decision-making body of the WTO.

The forum specifically focused on advancing the implementation of trade in fish-related targets under SDG14 by drawing on global, regional and cross-country experiences, sharing lessons, sensitizing development partnerships and designing more effective support measures.


Ultimately, the forum also explored options to implement the UNCTAD-FAO-UNEP Statement on Fisheries Subsidies, which is supported by 91 countries, 4 IGOs (Intergovernmental Organizations) and more than 15 Global Civil Society Organisations.


The IOI (a partner of this forum) was represented in Geneva by Awni Behnam (Honorary President); Antonella Vassallo (Managing Director), Peter Leder (Treasurer, IOI Governing Board), Werner Ekau (Director, IOI Germany) and Behzad Alipour Tehrany. Dr Ekau presented, on behalf of the IOI, an intervention titled: “People, pollution and plastics: Modern anthropogenic factors affecting fisheries”.


Detailed information about the event can be found here.

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.