New chairman at the helm of MedGOOS
The 7th Assembly of the Mediterranean Global Ocean Observing System (MedGOOS) brought together representatives of member institutions to elect a new chairman and discuss the future of this network to promote operational oceanography in the region.

The meeting was held on the 12th January 2007 in Blanes (Spain) at the Centre d’Estudis Avançants de Blanes (CSIC). The main outcome of the meeting was the election of the new chairman, Dr Kostas Nittis from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, who accepted to lead MedGOOS for the forthcoming exciting and challenging moments that operational oceanography will plunge into the coming year.

The outgoing chairperson, Dr. Silvana Vallerga outlined the successful activities in the nine years since MedGOOS was first established in Malta, November 1998. She was presented with a token gift as a sign of deep appreciation for giving her heart and mind to MedGOOS. With her endeavour, the MedGOOS network has grown to 19 institutions from 16 countries, building north and south riparian in one determined venture to promote ocean observations and forecasts in the region.

During the meeting, the members outlined the more recent developments. In particular, a draft memorandum of understanding between MedGOOS and EuroGOOS was proposed and the link to MOON, the Mediterranean Operational Oceanography Network, was rubber-stamped. In the short term the members identified the following most prominent targets:

• To strengthen the capacity in operational oceanography and increase the involvement of the South and Eastern Mediterranean countries in the regional implementation.
• To seek more active links within regional organisations and stakeholders.
• To nurture the regional dimension in EU initiatives related to operational oceanography (such as GMES).
• To give more support to the MedGOOS Secretariat in Malta to enable its important role in binding the network, promote the voice of MedGOOS internationally, giving a wider service to the network, and favouring stronger visibility of operational oceanography.

Dr. Aldo Drago, the MedGOOS Executive Secretary launched the debate on the Green Paper on Maritime Policy, which is currently in its consultation phase. While it is necessary to spell out the strong role of operational oceanography in the practise of the Policy, it is clear that the Green Paper fails to bring out the much needed Mediterranean dimension in this most important European regional sea.
A drafting group was formed to prepare a position on the EU Maritime Policy that deals with the specificity of the region, and brings out the regional perspective that draws upon the reality of a conglomeration of countries that are not all EU member states.