Iranian National Institute for oceanography and Atmospheric Science (INIOAS) proposed the establishment of the “Regional Education and Research Center on Oceanography for West Asia” to the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO in 2010. The proposal was sent to Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) and a mission was undertaken by the representative of IOC to evaluate the feasibility of creating this centre.
The results of the feasibility study were presented to the IOC Assembly, which endorsed the proposal by adopting decision IOC-XXVII/Dec.18.104.22.168 at its 27th session (Paris, 26 June-5 July 2013).
Then, the Executive Board, at its 192nd session, welcomed the proposal of establishing this centre under the auspices of UNESCO and recommended (192 EX/Decision 15, Part IX) that the General Conference, at its 37th session, 5-20 November 2013, approve the proposal to grant to the said centre the status of a category 2 centre under the auspices of UNESCO.
The final approval was made by the 37th UNESCO General Conference in November 2013 (37 C/18 Part XVII).
The Agreement between the UNESCO and the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of IR. of Iran was signed in 2015.
The functions/objectives of the Centre shall be to:
(a) ensure the harmonious and mutually reinforcing involvement of the members of the region in Ocean studies by organizing joint projects, conferences and training/educational courses;
(b) define regional problems, the solution of which requires regional and international cooperation, assist in the identification of training, education, and mutual assistance needs, particularly those related to the Centre programs;
(c) assist in identification and meeting national and regional priorities by sharing knowledge and experience through organizing training courses and symposiums;
(d) engage the academic and research community, experts from governmental and non-governmental organizations, industry, and decision-makers from the region and abroad in finding ways to solve the challenging economic and social problems facing the region by organizing exchange visits, consultations, etc. This objective will be achieved through the organization of regional forum/network to address the challenges, explore scientific understanding of the impacts and to discuss policies on the use and protection of the sea and coasts in supporting economic development of each country of the region, and the region as the whole;
(e) supervise and coordinate the implementation of joint projects in consultation with national and international institutions of the Member States concerned in order to avoid duplication and overlap of efforts by organizing regular meetings with regional partners;
(f) promote the standardization of data collection and data analysis methods based on existing protocols and agreements. Advocate open access and free exchange of oceanographic data along the guidelines specified in the IOC/IODE data exchange policy to facilitate scientific progress and improve education and training results. Reanimate IOC/IODE ODIN type program for the region;
(g) advice on the application of new knowledge on science and technology to various priority areas at the local/national/regional levels by organizing workshops and briefings;
(h) provide general guidance and recommendations, as well as serve as a mechanism for Member States, to formulate, evaluate, and follow-up on proposals for projects aimed at strengthening national and regional capabilities in marine scientific research, education and the establishment of common services and facilities;
(i) make the operations of the Centre open and transparent by producing regular newsletters/bulletins to describe the progress of the Canter’s operations, developing the Centre’s web-site and increasing communication flow/exchange of information on activities, in order to discuss common issues and explore opportunities for further collaboration;
(j) promote activities of the Centre and UNESCO as well as UNESCO/IOC role in marine and coastal matters; raise public awareness concerning the need for the sustainable management of the sea and coastal areas; and introduce the benefits of national and regional cooperation approach and of the importance of the operation of the sea and coasts by supporting establishment of Marine Protected Areas, through active participation in World Ocean Day and other awareness raising efforts;
(k) collect information on the state of the art technology required for the implementation of the maritime program activities, develop an inventory of regional institutions and experts working on marine related issues, as well as catalogues of regional oceanographic data and make this information available to decision-makers and regional/international partners;
(l) organize assistance in mobilizing human, financial, and material resources to respond to the needs of the coastal countries of the region in dealing with emergency situations triggered by marine natural disasters; and,
(m) make recommendations to the governing bodies of the region on policy matters, and submit proposals on the budgetary and other forms of support required for the successful work of the Centre.