Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. IOC is the focal point for ocean sciences and ocean services within the United Nations system, mandated to promote “international cooperation and 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”. The IOC assists governments to address their individual and collective ocean and coastal problems through the sharing of knowledge, information and technology and through the coordination of national programmes. (http://ioc-unesco.org/)