Latest News and Upcoming Events

The IOI’s Ocean Yearbook publication is published by Brill Nijhoff in cooperation with the Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada. Articles on issues and prospects, ocean governance, living resources of the ocean, non-living ocean resources, transportation and communications, environment and coastal management, maritime security, military activities, regional developments, training and education, and ocean polar issues will be considered for Volume 33. Submission deadline is 31st March 2018.

The Ocean Yearbook Student Prize is an annual competition open to students writing research papers on marine affairs subjects at any university or other tertiary education institution. The paper of the 2018 Ocean Yearbook Student Prize winner will be offered publication acceptance in Volume 33, to be published in 2019. Deadline for submissions is the end of the business day on 13 May 2018, with results being announced by 16 July 2018.



The Course Brochure and application form for IOI-South Africa's 2018 training programme can be downloaded from the Training section of the website: Any queries and expressions of interest may be addressed to: Mr. Adnan Awad, Director, IOI South Africa on e-mail: awad.adnan(at)


The official application deadline is the 13th April 2018.

The IOI hereby invites applications/nominations for the 2018 Danielle de St. Jorre Scholarship. Further information on the Scholarship as well as the application form and explanatory notes may be either requested/obtained by sending an email to: Madeleine Coffen-Smout, Programme Officer, IOI Canada on e-mail: ioi(at)


The deadline for receipt of applications is 9th February 2018.

BERLIN, November, 16th, 2017: "World Ocean Review 5" has been launched. The fifth World Ocean Review (WOR 5) explores the coastal habitat and the diverse expectations upon this habitat. It provides a glimpse into millions of years of history, elucidates the theory of continental drift and discusses the many ways in which coasts have changed. It also illustrates how the diverse ecosystem services rendered by the coasts are being subjected to increasing pressure, and profiles measures that will be necessary in the future to respond effectively to the threats from both climate change and natural disasters.


More information can be found under the Publications section.





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On Friday 1st of December, the Special seminar on Ocean Diplomacy: “fostering a cadre of ocean literate policy and decision-makers in ocean governance to achieve the SDGs and sustainable ocean governance globally” was held at Dar l-Ewropa in Valletta, under the auspices of the European Commission representation in Malta.


Dr Awni Behnam and Dr Elena Grech (Head; European Commission Representation in Malta) delivered the opening remarks and set the stage for the speakers that followed: Ambassador K.G. Anthony Hill (Former Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations and Specialized Agencies, Geneva, Rome and Vienna), Mr John Brincat (International Relations Officer, European Commission DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries; B-1 International Affairs, Law of the Sea and Regional Fisheries Organisations, Brussels), Prof Simone Borg (Ambassador for Malta on Climate Action and Ocean Governance),  Mr David Vivas-Eugui (Legal Officer, at the Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Branch, DITC at UNCTAD, Geneva) and Mr Ranier Fsadni (Assistant Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Malta, Advisor, and former director at the European Commission-League of Arab States Liaison Office).


The seminar drew to a close with the presentation of a statement from Egle Baltranaite, representative of the class of 2017 of the IOI Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic & Caspian Seas; Malta:


Egle Baltranaite. Photo credit: F. Trinquand
Egle Baltranaite. Photo credit: F. Trinquand

“It is our honour and a privilege to take part in the 13th annual Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic and Caspian seas and today's special seminar on Ocean Diplomacy in particular.

Ocean Governance, Diplomacy and Literacy are essential in reaching the sustainable development goals, especially the 14th goal that is a number one to the most of us in this room. Ocean governance is the process led by humans with an aim to establish our legal and moral relationship with the wellbeing of the ocean, its services and its resources.


Just yesterday we emphasized in our class that every single species are essential to maintaining of biodiversity, so are our individual choices – they shape the ocean‘s tomorrow.

Today we can all agree with the Elisabeth Mann-Borgese, the Mother of the Ocean and founder of IOI “A glass is half full” and we are here to keep filling it and do our part to reach “The Ocean we need for the future we want” (IOC).

As her Excellency Ambassador Borg emphasized, “it takes time to make history” – we are grateful to be with the people that are making it.”


Message of Class of 2017, presented by E. Baltranaite



The 2018 training programme on Ocean Governance: Policy, Law and Management is scheduled to be held from the 23rd May to 20th July 2018 (subject to final confirmation).


In order to obtain an application form kindly click here.


The official application deadline is the 5th January 2018.

The International Ocean Institute (IOI), established in 1972 and head-quartered in the premises of the University of Malta, decided, through unanimous decision of the Board of Governors, to confer on Professor Alfred J. Vella - Rector, University of Malta - the IOI’s Elisabeth Mann Borgese Medal in recognition of his invaluable support of the IOI and its capacity development, education and training programmes offered in Malta.


The award ceremony was held at the Valletta Campus of the University of Malta on Friday 10th November at 17.00hrs for a maximum duration of an hour. Present at the ceremony were Dr Awni Behnam, Honorary President of the IOI; the Registrar, and the Pro-Rectors of the University of Malta; Ambassador Simone Borg and Professor Louis F. Cassar, IOI Governors; Ms Antonella Vassallo, Managing Director of IOI HQ; and Professor Alan Deidun, Director of the IOI-Malta Training Centre. The celebration was also attended by current beneficiaries of ocean governance training in Malta following the IOI Training Programme on Regional Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas, and the students following the M.A. Degree in Ocean Governance offered jointly by the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta and the IOI.


More information can be seen on the University of Malta website here.

The 2017 EMB Bursary is awarded to Ms. Therese Ellul to carry out research titled "The ecology of potentially invasive alien macroalgae in Maltese waters” The award ceremony for this year’s Bursary was held on 18 October at the offices of the IOI Headquarters on Campus. Present at the Ceremony were Pro-Rector Professor Joseph Cacciattolo, Professor Louis Cassar, Professor Joseph Borg, Professor Patrick J Schembri, Dr Julian Evans, Ms Antonella Vassallo (IOI Managing Director), Ms Therese Ellul, current EMB Bursary award winner, and Dr Stefano Moncada.


Information about the 2017/2018 EMB Bursary awardee is available on the University of Malta website.



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.