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UK ISP E-Bulletin

News and Updates on the UNESCO Intergovernmental/International Scientific Programmes (ISPs) in the UK
Dear Colleague,
Welcome to the February E-Bulletin on UNESCO's major Intergovernmental / International Scientific Programmes (ISPs) in the UK.

This e-bulletin is part of a regular biannual series aimed at providing updates on UNESCO's environmental programmes - the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), and the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP).
UK IOC National Committee
IOC 50th Anniversary Logo
2010: 50th Anniversary and a Change at the Top
2010 marks the 50th anniversary of IOC and Member States are being encouraged to create events as part of the celebration.  As part of its contribution the UK is hosting or organising the following:
9-11 March, Oceanology International, London

26-28 May, 3rd International Ocean Stewardship Forum "Taking stock - the state of the oceans", Southampton

26 May-3 July, research cruise on RRS James Cook (from St Johns Newfoundland to Vigo, Spain)

6-9 September, Challenger Conference for Marine Science "Ocean Challenges in the 21st century", Southampton

The startIOC Executive Secretary Wendy Watson-Wright with copy of the year also heralded another change. Dr Wendy Watson-Wright took over from Dr Patricio Bernal as the Executive Secretary of IOC.
Wendy has most recently been the Assistant Deputy Minister of Science for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada and her earlier career included shellfish toxin detection and running a 
biological station. She even worked for the Cana
dian Figure Skating Association! Visit the UNESCO website to read her first interview.

Trevor Guymer, chairman of the UK IOC Committee, took the opportunity to meet with the new Executive Secretary a few days into her new appointment. They discussed some of the decisions made by Member States at the IOC Executive Assembly in 2009 and how they were being followed up. Wendy was also interested in developments in the UK, notably the recent passage of the Marine and Coastal Access Act and the publication of the UK Marine Science Strategy.

The third session of the Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology(JCOMM) took place in Marrakech (Morocco) last November. Attending from the UK were Keith Groves, Jon Turton and Karen McCourt (Met Office) and David Meldrum and Trevor Guymer (NERC). 

Held every 4 yIOC Buoy odass 33ears, these meetings provide an opportunity for Member States to:
  • see what is being achieved by the various expert teams that make up the three programme areas;
  • make new appointments to these teams that ensure a balance of the necessary expertise;
  • advise on priorities for the future.
As a result the UK will continue to participate in all of the teams during the next intersessional period. David Meldrum was also elected as vice-chair of the Observations Coordination Group. Following lobbying by the UK, JCOMM-III agreed that a review of JCOMM was timely. Results should be available by the WMO and IOC governing body meetings in 2011. The JCOMM-III summary report can be viewed here.
In This Issue - February 2010, Issue Number 5
2010: IOC's 50th Anniversary and a Change at the Top
MAB Programme Grows Around the World
MAB Urban Issues
Latest Update on UK HELP Basins
IHP Region 1 Meeting
IGCP Selects New Projects
UKNC Launches New Website
External Weblinks
For Further Information:
Natasha Bevan
UK MAB National Committee
MAB Programme grows around the worldMAB Programme Logo

The MAB programme continues to grow. In the UK there is a programme of consultation being undertaken in South-west Scotland for the designation of two of the old style reserves (Cairnsmore of Fleet, Silver Flowe and Merrick Kells) to be merged into a large regional approach over large parts of Dumfries, Galloway and South Ayrshire.

Members of the UK MAB National Committee have also been supporting work on Biosphere Reserves in Tanzania to build capacity for management and monitoring through remote sensing. A visit to Bagamoyo was undertaken at the end of last year as part of pilot work focusing on East Usambara Biopshere Reserve.

Urban Issues

Urban street treesUrban systems is a key thematic focus for the MAB Programme as part of its Madrid Action Plan 2008-2013. The UK MAB National Committee has expertise in this area and has been involved in advising UNESCO on the establishment of an Urban Systems working group.

Within the UK, the MAB National Committee's Urban Forum meets four times a year. Much of the Forum's work is done through networking and by informal sub-groups of members dedicated to specific areas of development.  The current annual work programme has remained highly strategic, setting targets which are aimed at influencing policy towards the delivery of guiding principles for healthy urban green space.

Forthcoming UK MAB Urban Forum activities include:

  • Chapter contributions to new monograph "Handbook of Urban Ecology", emphasising cultural and ethical connections with ecology (forthcoming August 2010, Routledge).
  • Production of a policy-influencing publication "Discovering Yourself Outside", highlighting the benefits of developing uninteresting and abandoned patches of land into landscapes designed to promote outside leisure and well-being.
  • Annual public event "Do Street Trees Have a Future?" Symposium to be held at University College London on 12 May 2010. The conference will consider the case for and against street trees and will address issues such as health and well-being, economics, aesthetics, wind throw effects on trees, and insurance. For further information and to register click here.
IHP National Committee
UK HELP Basins - Latest UpdateIHP HELP logo

The HELP cross-cutting programme of IHP has entered its 3rd Phase beginning with a review of basins incorporated by the global evaluation committee which met in Ecuador early in 2009.

IHP HELP Basins map

In the UK, six active basins are identified: the Dee (Scotland), the Tweed, the Don (England), the Welland, the Eden and the Thames. Further information on these basins can be obtained on the UNESCO HELP web portal or by contacting Sarah Hendry at the UNESCO Centre for Water, Law, Policy and Science at the University of Dundee (

IHP Region 1 Meeting

A meeting of IHP Region 1 - Europe and North America - was held in Washington in September 2009, hosted by the US IHP National Committee. The meeting focused on the status and delivery of IHP Phase VII - IHP's strategic plan for 2008-2013 - and the role that Region 1 can play to facilitate the work of other regions. Outcomes from the meeting included the establishment of a new web site for Region 1 delegates, agreement by the secretariat to provide periodic update of  IHP-VII activities, an initiative to bring a more hydrological science focus back to the IHP, and an agreement to suggest a draft strategy for the future use of the Category II Centres as operational arms of UNESCO in implementing IHP-VII.

UK IGCP National Committee
IGCP logoIGCP Scientific Board Selects New Projects for 2010
IGCP Scientific Board with captionThe IGCP Scientific Board meets in Paris on 17-19 February to assess annual reports from current projects and consider new project proposals for 2010. In addition members will start preparations for the International Geological Congress 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. As part of its open session, the Board will review major geoscientific activities of UNESCO such as Geopark networking activities, the International Research Centre on Karst (China) research programmes, the International Year of Planet Earth research and outreach activities, the cooperation with the Commission for the Geologoical Map of the World (CGMW), and the Africa Earth Science Education initiative.
New Website Launch by UK National Commission for UNESCO
The UK National Commission for UNESCO has just launched its new website at, which includes information about UNESCO's Intergovernmental/International Scientific Programmes.
The new site is an engaging and interactive way of showcasing the work of the UK National Commission. It features entirely new content including video, podcasts, news feeds from UNESCO and an interactive map of UNESCO sites and programmes in the UK.
Please take a moment to browse the site. We would appreciate your feedback and comments as we continue to develop the site over the coming months.
The UNESCO Intergovernmental/International Scientific Programme (ISP) National Committees ensure the presence of UNESCO's Intergovernmental / International Scientific Programmes on a national level and promote awareness of programme activities within Government, governmental agencies and among researchers.

The UK ISP National Committee Chairs Working Group was set up by the UK National Commission for UNESCO in 2007 to help increase cooperation and coordination among the UNESCO ISP National Committees in the UK.

This e-bulletin is part of a biannual series aimed at providing updates on the UNESCO Intergovernmental /International Scientific Programmes (ISPs) in the UK.

The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) is the focal point in the UK for UNESCO-related policies and activities. As an independent body, the UK National Commission brings together a network of over 200 experts from across the UK in the fields of education, culture, sciences and communication. Working closely in partnership with HM Government and UK civil society, the UKNC aims to provide expert advice to the Government on UNESCO related matters, develop UK input into UNESCO policy-making and programme implementation, promote reforms within UNESCO, and encourage support in the UK for UNESCO's ideals and work.
To receive further information, or to comment, contact:
Natasha Bevan
UK National Commission for UNESCO / +44 (0)207 766 3468