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24 June 2015 – The Philippines won a seat in the Executive Council of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) for the period 2015 to 2017, at elections held during the 28th session of the IOC Assembly at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.

The IOC was established in 1960 as a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO and is the only competent organization for marine science within the UN system. Its purpose is to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programmes in research, services and capacity-building, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decision-making processes of its Member States. In addition, the IOC is recognized through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the competent international organization in the field of Marine Science.

The IOC Executive Council, composed of 40 Member States, exercises the responsibilities delegated to it by the Assembly, acting on its behalf in the implementation of the decisions. It holds two ordinary sessions during the two-year interval between ordinary sessions of the Assembly.

National Focal Point for IOC matters, Dr. Gil Jacinto, in his intervention stated that as an archipelagic state located in the center of the world’s marine biodiversity, the Philippines attaches great importance to the IOC. He reaffirmed the Philippines commitment to support IOC’s unique role in fostering international cooperation in ocean sciences and capacity-building. 

The Philippines last became a member of the IOC Executive Council during the period 2003-2005. Its re-engagement with IOC, after a decade, will further strengthen the Philippines’ capacity in ocean science, tsunami early warning, and disaster risk reduction and management.