Retired Eckerd College professor Dr. David Hastings explores the work of the UNESCO oceanographic commission
Dr. David Hastings, retired Eckerd College professor, provides a closer look at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and its work.
First established almost 60 years ago, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO—the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization—exists to help governments address their individual and collective coastal and ocean management needs. A retired Florida-based college professor, previously of St. Petersburg’s private Presbyterian liberal arts institution Eckerd College, ocean advocate, and marine scientist Dr. David Hastings offers an expert look at the oceanographic commission’s efforts to protect the planet’s oceans.
“The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO first met in 1961 to discuss coastal and ocean research, observations, and services,” explains retired Eckerd College professor Dr. David Hastings, “and to establish a framework of knowledge, information, and technology sharing centered upon protecting the world’s precious ocean environments.”
At its inception, 40 member states joined UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission—better known simply as the IOC—including the United States of America, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Israel, and India.
“Sharing technology, knowledge, and other information via coordinated programs, the newly established oceanographic commission’s goal was ultimately to build capacity in terms of the ocean and coastal research, observations, and associated services,” reveals Dr. David Hastings. Today, a total of 147 member states are involved with the oceanographic commission and its work, Dr. Hastings reports.
Almost six decades since its inception, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission remains the only United Nations body specialized in ocean science and services.
The IOC also provides a point of focus for other United Nations agencies and organizations with regards to ocean science, observations, and data exchange, according to retired Eckerd College professor Dr. David Hastings. “UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission is further responsible for a number of crucial services,” adds the retired college professor, “such as global tsunami warning systems.”
Current high-level objectives of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO include supporting healthy ocean ecosystems and sustained ecosystem services, promoting increased resilience to climate change and ocean-based activities through scientifically-founded adaptation and mitigation strategies, spreading knowledge of emerging ocean science issues, and, as mentioned by retired Eckerd College professor Dr. David Hastings, establishing and maintaining effective early warning systems and preparedness for tsunamis and other ocean-related hazards.
Dr. David Hastings is a retired college professor, formerly of St. Petersburg’s Eckerd College, located in Pinellas County, Florida, and originally founded as Florida Presbyterian College in 1958. Dr. Hastings first arrived in the Tampa Bay Area’s second-largest city in 2000 to teach marine science and chemistry at the well respected liberal arts institution.
A lifelong advocate for the ocean retired Eckerd College professor Dr. David Hastings is passionate about protecting the planet and its oceans, with a particular focus on combating plastic pollution and ocean acidification caused by climate change. Currently, a resident of Gainesville, Florida, the retired Eckerd College professor’s hobbies includes hiking, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing.