#02 2024

Towards the sustainable management of the Indian Ocean and its resources

By Prof Juliet Hermes, Manager, Egagasini Node, NRF-SAEON

The integrated meetings that took place at the International Indian Ocean Science Conference (IIOSC) in March this year, reviewed the action plans and scientific knowledge gained through the concerted efforts of the regional bodies to address the issues leading up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021­–2030).

The conference brought together members and secretariats of IIOE-2, IOGOOS, IORP, IRF and SIBER in Lombok, Indonesia in the Kawasan Sains Kurnaen Sumadiharga National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN).

Workshop participants at the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) in Lombok, Indonesia.


A conference is held annually to bring together the lead groups in Indian Ocean observations and research. The aims of such annual meetings are to share research and plan for the future, in particular around the Second International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE-2), a major global scientific programme executed with the engagement of the international scientific community in collaborative oceanographic and atmospheric research focused on the Indian Ocean.

With participation from numerous countries and scientific institutions, IIOE-2 strives to advance knowledge on climate change, marine ecosystems, ocean circulation and biodiversity in the Indian Ocean, ultimately contributing to the sustainable management of this critical region and its resources. The programme was initially formulated for a period of five years (2015–2020), but was subsequently extended for another five years until 2025.


The objectives of the annual meeting were to review progress from 2023 and to plan activities for 2024. These include a task team on using models to understand the impacts of gaps in the observing system, as well as a task team around monitoring the Indian Ocean observing system (IndOOS).

In November 2023 a meeting was held in Hyderabad with key scientific leaders to discuss the extension of the IIOE2. The meeting was attended by Prof Juliet Hermes, manager of SAEON’s Egagasini Node. Prof Hermes gave a plenary presentation on the outcomes of the Hyderabad meeting at the IIOSC, with the objective to plan an extension through to 2030. Further discussions were held about the gaps that needed to be filled, which included coastal observations as well as communication and the impact of science on society.

An additional objective of this meeting was country report backs as well as work package report backs. Finally, this meeting also served as a launch of the newly established Central Indian Ocean Subcommision, IOCINDIO. During the proceedings new members were welcomed and the contributions of those rotating off were acknowledged. This was the last IORP meeting Prof Hermes attended as co-chair.  

Highlights from the visit  

  • The IORP meet virtually throughout the year, but meeting in person allows for greater, more free-flowing discussions and planning for the year ahead. It was an opportunity to engage further with SCOR.
  • Based on the plenary presentation Prof Hermes gave on the outcomes of the Hyderabad meeting, plans were made to extend the IIOE2 for another five years.
  • It was a great opportunity to visit the BRIN institute and understand the infrastructure and structure of the institute. This will assist with the IORAG work being proposed for the Indo-Pacific.
  • As always, the ability to physically meet with colleagues grew and solidified collaborations.
  • Snorkelling with marine biologists was a wonderful experience.  

Key outcomes  

  • The IIOE2 science plan for 2025 will focus on key gaps and on science impacts on society, and a timeline was created.
  • COLaB will be a key next phase of IIOE2 2025–2030.
  • The IORP technical team on ocean simulation experiments will consider submitting a SCOR proposal.
  • The IRF needs a new chair and INCOIS have offered to be the secretariat.
  • An IOCINDIO meeting will be held at the end of May.


Prof Hermes would like to acknowledge the travel support provided by CLIVAR.