IORP-16 organised virtually on 24 March 2020

Due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic, the 16th Session of CLIVAR/IOC-GOOS Indian Ocean Region Panel Meeting (IORP-16), which was originally planned in Goa, India, was organised online on 24 March 2020 (same day as the original plan).

The meeting began with reviewing the progress of IORP-15 action items, and majority of which were completed or being in progress. Roxy Mathew Koll and Lisa Beal, co-chairs of IORP, then introduced the IORP-16 annual report to CLIVAR Scientific Steering Group (SSG), by highlighting the cumulative efforts made by the whole panel on advocating the IndOOS-2 roadmap and implementing the actionable recommendations. The panel then had a joint discussion on the following issues: 1) prioritised actionable recommendations for IndOOS Resource Forum (IRF); 2) establishment of a Task Team to record new contributions to IndOOS-2; 3) ideas to develop transformational projects in Indian Ocean for the UN Ocean Decade; 4) strengthened the linkage with CLIVAR panels/RFs and WCRP Grand Challenges; and 5) membership recommendations. Key outcomes of the discussions include:

  • The Panel recognised the importance to bring more Indian Ocean rim countries into IndOOS-2, including EEZ agreements; to build strategies for interacting with stakeholders to provide more fit-to-purpose observations for products and services and to strengthen the regional cooperation in particular during the COVID-19 period to sustain the deployment and maintenance of RAMA buoys and reduce the vandalism;
  • A new Task Team consists of four IORP members has been established to track the achievements and new contributions to IndOOS-2 through periodically maintaining a spreadsheet for IndOOS-2 recommendations;
  • Panel members are encouraged to provide collaborated comments on the zero draft of Implementation Plan of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Meanwhile, the Panel agreed on a couple of priorities to further contribute to the UN Ocean Decade, with an overarching focus on the western Indian Ocean and its coastal states. Specific ideas include: 1) Supporting South Africa (consultation, capacity building, best practices) in their leadership to develop a sustained Agulhas array as part of IndOOS and GOOS; and 2) New tide gauge and land motion sites in small island states of SW Indian Ocean;
  • Possible cooperation could be developed through linking with WCRP Grand Challenge on Regional Sea Level Rise and Coastal Impacts (e.g. on development of new sustained  absolute sea level sites on small islands in Western and Southwestern Indian Ocean) and WCRP Grand Challenge on Weather and Climate Extremes (e.g. on Marine Heat Waves); the CLIVAR/GEWEX Monsoons Panel and CLIVAR new Research Foci on Tropical Basins Interaction (TBI);
  • Members are encouraged to recommend candidates from Africa and Indian Ocean regional representation.