IOI-Malta Course Trains New Advocates for Sustainable Ocean Governance

Fifteen mid-career professionals, including scientists, researchers and experts, working in the fields of oceanography and coastal management participated in the 3 rd IOI-Malta Training Course on Ocean Governance for the Mediterranean and Eastern European Countries Towards a holistic maritime policy . This annual 5-week intensive international course was held in Malta for the third year running from the 12 th November to the 14 th December and had participants from a number of countries bordering the Mediterranean, Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas, namely, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Turkey, Astrakhan, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Malta.

These seas are all geographically enclosed or semi-enclosed and potentially subject to national maritime zones in their entirety. Their fragile ecosystems and biodiversity are put under individual and cumulative pressure by their coastal states. As a result, the activities and maritime policies of one state are bound to affect the quality of the marine environment and use enjoyed by neighbouring states.

In this relationship, the EU maritime policy and the coherence of policies of neighbouring states with it are seen as a basis for regional cooperation, a main focus of this year's course. Also, these seas have different levels of experience in regional environmental cooperation and maritime use and the diversity of experience provides an opportunity for comparative learning.

The course also included a 2-day Seminar on the Evolving EU Maritime Policy and the Proposed Action Plan A vision for an integrated Maritime Policy for the EU and Neighbouring States .

(from front left) Dr. Aldo Drago (Course Manager), Dr. Awni Behnam (Course Director), Ms. Antonella Vassallo (Course Coordinator), Mr. Aref Fakhry and Ms. Lilia Khodjet (lecturers) and course participants. (Click on image to enlarge)

Seminar on the Evolving EU Maritime Policy and the Proposed Action Plan. (Click on image to enlarge)

The seminar, which was open to the public, reviewed the aims, objectives and underlying principles of the policy together with the EU Green Paper consultation process.It tackled the institutional mechanisms and sectoral responses necessary to achieve the policy, which ideally would not only tackle the European framework, but also point to a mechanism for greater coherence with neighouring countries. The regional and international impacts of the evolving policy together with the implications of the policy for EU Small Island jurisdictions were also addressed.

Drawing upon the 30 years of experience of the International Ocean Institute in conducting training and capacity building programmes in ocean governance, the course also emphasized upon the conduct of maritime affairs in line with the Lisbon Strategy, targeting the Millennium Development Goals and building upon a holistic and integrated maritime policy following the principles enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The course focused on the linkages between the natural, social and economic sciences to the development of sustainable ocean governance, and on the research-management interface that can render governance operable. It highlighted the inter-linkages of multi-disciplinary inputs, and the support of technology to enable the effective achievement of ocean management and sustainable development.

The course was run by the IOI -Malta Operational Centre under the aegis of the International Ocean Institute and was accredited by the University of Malta . It was sponsored by the Lighthouse Foundation, the United Nations University/EHS, the International Maritime Organisation and the European Commission.

Further information on this course may be found on http://capemalta.net/ioimoc/course2007 . Queries about future courses should be directed to Dr. Aldo Drago, Director of IOI-Malta on aldo.drago@um.edu.mt .

The IOI-Malta Operational Centre carries out research and provides services in physical oceanography. It aims to promote education and training in the sustainable use of ocean resources. For more information on the activities of IOI-Malta, please refer to the Centre's website on www.capemalta.net