The very first round of discussions with National Delegations started in Lisbon during the UN Ocean Conference

At the One Ocean Summit organised by France in Brest, from the 9th to 11th of February 2022, six European States (France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the UK) showed their political commitment to developing European excellence in Digital Oceanography by transforming Mercator Ocean International into an intergovernmental organisation (IGO). This was solidified in the “Declaration of Brest” on 10th of February during the summit.

Four months later, on Wednesday 29 June, at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, the six national delegations got down to work for the very first technical meeting of the transformation process. They were welcomed at the magnificent French Embassy of Lisbon by the Chargé affaires a.i. Thomas Bertin, by French Ambassador Poivre d’Arvor and by Ms. Sophie-Dorothée Duron, Head of the Maritime, and Shoreline Planification (acting as “French Delegate” on behalf of Mr. Éric Banel, Director General for Maritime affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture).  The national delegates were accompanied by national experts and observers, mostly shareholders of Mercator Ocean International.

In a warm and collaborative spirit, the first discussions of the six founding states focused on the methodology and roadmap of the transformation. The Brest Declaration also provides for the governance of the organisation to be open soon to all interested European coastal states.

The next round of discussions of the National Delegates will continue in Paris in October 2022.

Also of note during the UN Ocean Conference 2022, the UN Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) announced that Mercator Ocean International will host the UN Decade Collaborative Center for Ocean Prediction (OceanPrediction DCC). This is an unprecedented commitment, and also for the future IGO, that will help to galvanise and coordinate efforts towards the co-development and integration of worldwide ocean prediction activities, serving the objectives of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

From left to right: Peter Haugan, Ministry Foreign Affairs (Norway), Nicola Todaro Marescotti, diplomatic advisor, Ministry of Universities and Research (Italy), Jorge Miguel Alberto de Miranda, President IPMA (Portugal), Maria Cristina Pedicchio, Member of the Board of the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (Italy) , Frederico Lyra, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Science & Innovation Network (UK) , Paul Riches, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Ministry (UK), Nuno Lourenço, President +Atlantic CoLAB (Portugal), Johnny Johannessen, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center Research Coordinator (Norway), Andre Oliveira, Chief Technology Officer +Atlantic CoLAB (Portugal), Pierre Bahurel, Director General (Mercator Ocean International), Nils Gunnar Kvamstø, CEO of the Institute of Marine Research (Norway), Sophie-Dorothée Duron, Head of the Maritime and Shoreline Planification – General Directorate for Maritimes affairs and Fisheries (France), Geir Lasse Taranger, IMR Research director (Norway), Anne-France Didier, SDG 14 Coordinator, General Directorate for Maritimes affairs and Fisheries (France), Tore Furevik, Director of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (Norway), Cécile Thomas-Courcoux, International Affairs Director ( Mercator Ocean International), Olivier Pringault, Research Director (IRD), Alain Lagrange, Ministry of Science, Research, and Innovation (France), Begoña Pérez Gómez (Puertos del Estado), Fabrizio D’Ortenzio, Research Director (CNRS), Manuel Arana, Director of Planning and Development Puertos del Estado (Spain), Emilio Ramos Jara, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (Spain),  Laurent Bertino, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center Research Director (Norway), Eivind Lorentzen, Senior Ocean Policy Adviser, Department for Research and Innovation, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. Missing on the picture: Ambassador Olivier Poivre d’Arvor (France) and François Houllier, President, and CEO (IFREMER).