Professor Yutaka Michida elected as Chairperson of IOC/UNESCO
The election of Officers of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) took place at the 32nd Session of the IOC/UNESCO Assembly at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris from June 21 (Wed) to June 30 (Fri) 2023. Professor Yutaka Michida from the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, was elected as the Chair-designate for the next term of office. This is the first time a Japanese person has been elected as Chairperson since the inception of the IOC in 1960.
The IOC was established in 1960 as an organization with functional autonomy within UNESCO, and is the only organization in the United Nations that carries out intergovernmental cooperation, planning, and coordination of research, observation, data exchange, and programs to support developing states relating to the world’s oceans. There are currently 150 member states.
Professor Michida’s term of office will be approximately two years, from June 30, 2023 to the end of the next ordinary session of the Assembly held in late June 2025.
About the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO
- Year of establishment: 1960
- Member States: 150 countries
- Executive Council: 40 countries (as of June 2023)
- Decision-making bodies: Assembly (held biannually), Executive Council (held annually)
- Executive Secretary: Vladimir Ryabinin (Russia, as of June 2023)
- Features: Established to promote scientific investigation that contributes to enhancing knowledge and understanding of oceans, to improve management of oceans, coastal areas, and marine resources through international cooperation. The IOC is a comprehensive intergovernmental commission on marine science operating under the umbrella of UNESCO. The IOC has been granted certain autonomous mandates as the only United Nations organization conducting ocean science investigations and research activities.
- Main projects: Promoting ocean observation and research, promoting regional cooperation, promoting construction of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), operating an international ocean data and information exchange system, constructing tsunami early warning systems, promoting education, training, capacity development, and technology transfer, etc. The IOC also formulated the action plan: The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030), and is leading the implementation of this plan.
2. IOC officers
- Chairperson: One person is elected from the member states. Their term of office is approximately two years. The chairperson can serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms.
- Vice-chairpersons: One person is elected from each of the five regional groups*. Their term of office is approximately two years. IOC Officers can serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms.
* Regional groups: Group I, Europe and North America; Group II, Russia and Eastern Europe; Group III, Latin America and the Caribbean; Group IV, Asia and the Pacific; Group V, Africa and Arab States. Japan belongs to Group IV
3. Relationship between the IOC and Japan
- Japan has been on the Executive Council since the establishment of the IOC. The term of office of the Executive Council is two years. Elections are determined by the Assembly.
- As a maritime nation, Japan contributes personnel and provides financial support through trust funds, especially in the fields of ocean observation, data exchange, tsunami early warning systems, human resource development, and regional activities.
- The IOC Working Group was established under the Scientific Sub-Commission of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO. (Chief Examiner: Professor Yutaka Michida at the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo)
- Related Organizations: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Cabinet Office Marine Affairs Bureau; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Fisheries Agency); Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (Japan Meteorological Agency, Japan Coast Guard); Ministry of the Environment; Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC); and the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo
Yutaka Michida’s background
- (1981) Graduated from the Department of Earth Science, The University of Tokyo
- (1983) Completed a Master’s Degree at The University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science
- (1999) Obtained a Doctorate (Science) from The University of Tokyo
- Fields of expertise: physical oceanography, marine information management, ocean policy
- (1984) Hydrographic Department, Japan Coast Guard (now known as the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department)
- (1986 to 1987) Member of the 28th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition
- (1989) Concurrent appointment at the Science and Technology Agency (until 1991)
- (1999) Assistant Counselor for Planning Division, Hydrographic Department, Japan Coast Guard
- (2000) Assistant Professor at The University of Tokyo, Ocean Research Institute
- (2007) Professor at The University of Tokyo, Ocean Research Institute
- (2010) Professor at The University of Tokyo, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute
- (2015) Deputy Director of The University of Tokyo, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (until 2019)
- (2001) Investigation Commissioner, Natural Science Sub-Commission of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
- (2018) Committee Member of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO / Chief Examiner for the Sub-Commission of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Natural Science Sub-Commission of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
- (2015) 8th National Maritime Award (Japan Prime Minister’s Prize)
- (2016) Certificate of Appreciation from the Director General of the Japan Coast Guard
- (2019) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO IODE Award
Experience within the IOC:
- (2011 to 2015) IOC Vice-Chairperson
- (2019) and (2021) Chairperson of the Resolution Committee at the 30th and 31st IOC Assembly
- (2018) and (2022) Chairperson of the Resolution Committee at the 51st and 55th Session of the Executive Council of IOC