On 6 May 2022, the European Commission and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations at the headquarters of the European Union’s DG Mare.
The event was attended by the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius and representatives of the Directorates General of the European Union, whilst for the IHO, director Luigi Sinapi and representatives of 12 European hydrographic offices were present.
Coastal Protection and Spatial Planning
Commissioner Sinkevičius and director Sinapi underlined the results achieved in ten years of fruitful cooperation between the two organizations, thanks to the commitment of the European hydrographic offices (HOs) and the IHO-EU Network Working Group, as well as the impact of the EU initiatives in the field of hydrography. The IENWG, which was initiated for the implementation of the MoU, identifies EU activities and processes on matters of interest to HOs.
“The hydrography community has the ability and know-how to develop a coherent plan for ensuring safe navigation. However, if we want to use the data to inform and shape other policies, such as coastal protection or spatial planning, we need a conversation with those who need this information,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius.
Beneficial Reciprocity Between EU and IHO
“It is important to continue in the wake of the existing MoU, have a look to the future and work to update the MoU on the basis of global initiatives in favour of the ocean and a renovated beneficial reciprocity between the EU and the IHO, especially in the context of a renewed regional and global interest for the ocean,” stated Luigi Sinapi.
The initial part of the event concluded with the signing of a commemorative poster of the first ten years of the MoU between the European Commission and IHO, and the common intention to continue the activities of joint interest for a sustainable development of the seas.
The meeting continued with presentations from representatives of the European HOs and the various Directorates General of the European Union that focused on ongoing and future projects of the European Union on EMODNET bathymetry, coastal mapping and the EU Directives on Maritime Spatial Planning, Ocean Observation, Marine Strategy Framework and Sustainable Mobility. IHO initiatives on the new Universal Data Model S-100 and the increased use of data and products from hydrography from the HOs’ side were presented as well.