Promote and Facilitate the Conduct of Marine Scientific Research (MSR) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
Status of initiative: On track
Description/achievement of initiative

The overall objective of the partnership is to promote and facilitate the development and conduct of marine scientific research (MSR) in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). More specifically, marine science and MSR play a critical role in sustainable development as consistently recognized by the General Assembly in its annual resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea as well as, recently, by the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 Conference). Research, and the tools required to conduct it, are essential in the sustainable development of the oceans and seas and their resources, including by supporting informed decision on the conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment and its resources, and by helping to understand, predict and respond to natural events and climate change. At the Rio+20 Conference, States recognized the importance of building the capacity of developing countries to be able to benefit from the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and their resources, and in this regard emphasized the need for cooperation in MSR to implement the provisions of UNCLOS and the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, as well as for the transfer of technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine TechnologyPractice has shown that the awareness of the rights and obligations set out in UNCLOS may be limited among government entities in charge of ocean affairs as well as among marine scientists, thereby hampering the full realization of the benefits that can be derived by all from MSR, and, in some cases, creating obstacles to MSR itself. Practice has also shown that where awareness exists, the capacity to implement the regime may be hampered by limited knowledge of the specific steps, rights and obligations as well as the role of various actors in the consent procedure.The present partnership was developed by DOALOS and IOC in response to the above.

Implementation methodologies

The Partnership activities will include:1. Customized and demand-driven (Sub)Regional training courses (multiple, 3-5 days)2. Internet Portal for MSR Professionals (ongoing) The Target Audience of the activities are:1. Government officials (policy makers, administrators) 2. Scientists (technical staff)

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

The two categories of project activities (outputs) focus on the building of capacity, both directly through customized and demand-driven (Sub)Regional training courses (multiple); and indirectly by providing an ongoing opportunity for MSR Professionals to reinforce their knowledge and share experiences within a community of practice which will be networked through an Internet Portal (ongoing).

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

The partnership is coordinated through a steering group which is composed of representatives of DOALOS and IOC. Delivery partners will be invited to participate as appropriate.


Global level delivery partners: International Seabed Authority and other inter-Governmental Organizations. Regional level delivery partners: IOC's Regional Subsidiary Bodies, and other Regional entities. Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations / Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Multiple sub(Regional) Training Courses
Establishment of MSR Internet Portal
Resources devoted to implementation
In-kind contribution
DOALOS and IOC, partnership development
Financing (in USD)
Financing (in USD)
Financing (in USD)
Financing (in USD)
Progress reports
Cut off date each year: 1 July
This initiative fulfils the SMART criteria.
Date of completion: 2019
Operating in countries
Contact information/focal point(s)
G. Goettsche-Wanli (DOALOS) and W. Watson-Wright (IOC), goettsche-wanli@un.org, w.watson-wright@unesco.org

Copyright 2017 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs