Looking into the Future of Ocean Sciences: an IOC Perspective


As the only United Nations organization specializing in ocean sciences, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) has the responsibility to promote basic marine scientific investigations globally. IOC has always given special attention to planning and forecasting new developments in ocean sciences, taking into account both the steady evolution of knowledge and fundamental changes leading to major scientific breakthroughs. Following that tradition, and in honor of IOC's fiftieth anniversary, we focus on two distinct objectives in this article. First, we provide a glimpse of past IOC scientific achievements. Second, we share IOC's vision for a marine science strategy for the next 15 years. For that purpose, IOC has identified three critical elements that will likely provide the scientific and technical means to redefine the future of ocean sciences: (1) science drivers, (2) ocean instrumentation and technological developments, and (3) strategic frameworks for cooperation. The third element is of particular importance because research at unprecedented geographic scales is required to improve our understanding of climate change and ecosystem functioning, including biodiversity conservation and management options. Because this effort calls for extensive national and international efforts, we also discuss the role of comprehensive international core projects.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Oceanography Magazine


23, Number 3




Oceanography Society

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article