Indian Ocean Principal's Meeting, New- Delhi, November 8-9, 2001

The world has become aware of the fragility of its living environment and its sensitivity to climatic change, natural disaster and human impact. Until now we have been unwilling spectators to the changes to our oceans and coastal seas. However, new tools are now available which give us an unprecedented ability to detect these changes and use observations to make informed decisions that save lives and protect our living habitats resources. These tools include sensors on satellites, automated instruments that probe the depths of the ocean, powerful computers that enable the ocean state to be described and forecast and the electronic distribution of data and information worldwide. This makes possible a global coordination of ocean and coastal observing systems and the formation of alliances between nations to focus effort on the most pressing regional environmental dangers.

Recognising that the lives of at least 1.5 Billion people are profoundly influenced by the Indian Ocean, a meeting was conveyed at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, India on November 8 and 9, 2001, to take a proactive role in defining major initiatives need to be taken to improve their quality of life. Principal representatives from 11 agencies attended. The focus of the meeting was the Global Ocean Observing System [GOOS] with emphasis on an Indian Ocean Global Regional Alliance [IOGOOS].

The Inter-governmental Oceanographic Commission's Office in Perth, Australia was the sponsor with logistical support from the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, along with the Department of Ocean Development, Government of India.

The Principals recognised that problems of common concern of the Indian Ocean region could be addressed effectively through an umbrella organisation that would take initiatives to encourage the development of appropriate regional and sub-regional ocean and coastal observing systems and services. These initiatives would link, where appropriate, with other GOOS initiatives including global GOOS. The organisation would seek to ensure adherence to the GOOS principles and regional strategy guidelines. It would encourage standardisation of observing techniques, the exchange of data and data management, cooperation in modeling and the sharing of responsibilities for observing platforms and communications.

A priority goal would be to create a system where all participants could contribute and utilise the data and products to their best advantage. Raising national capacity and promoting concrete mutual assistance initiatives would be a central focus of IOGOOS.

To lead the process forward the Principles agreed to establish the Indian Ocean GOOS Development Committee [IOGOOS-DC]. Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, the Director of the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services [INCOIS] at Hyderabad, will serve as Chairman of the DC and provide a secretariat until such time as the IOGOOS is officially sanctioned by the governments. Mr. Rondolph Payet [Seychelles Fishing Authority] will serve as Vice-Chairman.

The initial secretariat will be located at INCOIS. This secretariat will be listed by the GOOS Project Office as the contact point for matters pertaining to the Indian Ocean GOOS development process.

The immediate tasks of the DC include finalising the Indian Ocean Observing Strategy, and drafting an MOU to consolidate membership and basic goals. It would also coordinate and be a communicating mechanism for region to plan conferences, meetings and workshops that support development of IOGOOS. The DC will also further strengthen various bilateral S&T agreements existing among Indian Ocean Rim countries.

The Principals agreed to further IOGOOS objectives and to broaden the initiative in their respective countries. This will include encouraging the formation of National GOOS Coordinating Committees. The Principals will be the leaders of the initiative and will be the members of the Development Committee.

The creation of the IOGOOS is a major milestone towards the access and application of oceanic knowledge to benefit all people of the Indian Ocean region.


The following members participated in the meeting and unanimously agreed to establish the IOGOOS - Development Committee.

Angus McEwan

Bureau of Meteorology


Ehrlich Desa

National Institute of Oceanography


G Narayana Swamy

National Institute of Oceanography


Harsh K Gupta

Department of Ocean Development


JMM Kazungu

Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute


K Radhakrishnan

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services


Vishnu Soondron

Mauritius Oceanography Institute


Yacob Bin Ismail

Hydrographic Department, RMN


William Alfred Erb

Perth Regional Programme Office


S. Ragoonaden

Meteorological Services


Mark R. Jury

University of Zululand

South Africa

Rondolph J. Payet

Seychelles Fishing Authority