On the sidelines of the 32nd General Assembly of the Oceanographic Commission UNESCO Intergovernmental Conference in Paris, 120 years of the GEBCO project were celebrated. This project aims to map the entire seabed. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission – IOC – and the International Hydrographic Survey – IHO – are responsible for its implementation.

The Executive Secretary of the IOC, Mr Vladimir Ryabinin and the Director of the IHO, Mr Luigi Sinapi spoke of the imperative need for this mapping for the development of fundamental and applied knowledge, in particular within the framework of the Decade of Ocean Sciences (2021-2030) adopted by the UN.

HE Ms Anne-Marie Boisbouvier, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Monaco to UNESCO, spoke of the pioneering role of Prince Albert I in this enterprise. His commitment to the study of the oceans has contributed to the understanding of the topography in marine and seabed mapping, laying the groundwork for later work such as that of GEBCO.

The Ambassador also specified the actions taken by Monaco internationally to increase scientific data of the oceans. Saluting the funding by the Nippon Foundation for this global mapping project, with a target of 2030, the Ambassador pointed out that 20 percent of the seabed is now mapped, whereas only six percent was mapped in 2017.

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) identified this global mapping project as a flagship program, under the title Seabed 2030. The objective is to achieve 100-percent mapping by 2030.

The Principality was invited as a “guest of honour” because of its many commitments to the scheme and its welcoming of the IHO headquarters in 1921.

The Prince’s Government continues to contribute to the IOC by supporting its program for the System Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) – tsunami warning – as well as the Decade of United Nations Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021- 2030) of which the SeaBed 2030 program is a flagship project.

PHOTO: HE Ms Anne-Marie Boisbouvier