International Oceanographic Commission

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (which stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) provides the member states of the United Nations with an essential mechanism for global cooperation in the study of the ocean. The IOC assists governments to address their individual and collective ocean and coastal problems through the sharing of knowledge, information and technology and through the coordination of national programs.

The IOC of UNESCO was founded in 1960 on basis of the recognition that "the oceans, covering some seventy percent of the earth's surface, exert a profound influence on mankind and even on all forms of life on Earth... In order to properly interpret the full value of the oceans to mankind, they must be studied from many points of view. While pioneering research and new ideas usually come from individuals and small groups, many aspects of oceanic investigations present far too formidable a task to be undertaken by any one nation or even a few nations."

The IOC site is intended to serve policy makers and government agencies, however it nonetheless contains comprehensive information concerning international cooperation, global monitoring systems and studies, ocean research organizations and professional careers, and educational services. The site has also served as a focus for information and action regarding international response to the tsunami event in the Indian Ocean.


Ocean Portal is a high-level directory of Ocean Data and Information related web sites. Its objective is to help scientists and other ocean experts in locating such data and information. These links are also invaluable for educators and students alike.
Ocean Portal is a project the IOC's International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE).


UN Oceans is an interagency coordination mechanism on ocean and coastal issues within the UN System.