The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Information, Communications and Transport (MICT) for the Republic of Kiribati.
The new partnership will see the two parties work together as part of the global effort to advance the field of ocean science, and obtain a complete map of the entire ocean floor.
The Republic of Kiribati’s MICT ensures maritime safety as well as promoting economic prosperity through the development of sustainable infrastructure. The agency has several divisions, including a Marine Division which regulates procedures for Kiribati’s seafarers and fishers through training schemes offered at the Marine Training Centre. As an island country located in Oceania, the department also works to maintain the country’s position in the global maritime market.
Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and GEBCO to inspire the complete mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030, and to compile all bathymetric data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map. GEBCO is a joint programme of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and is the only organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor. Seabed 2030 is formally endorsed as a Decade Action of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
Commenting on Seabed 2030’s first official partnership of the year, Project Director Jamie McMichael-Phillips said: “Our mission is ambitious, but one that can be achieved through collaborative working.
“To this end, we’re delighted to share the news of our partnership with the Republic of Kiribati. It’s greatly encouraging to welcome Kiribati – home to the South Pacific’s largest marine reserve – on board this journey of ocean discovery.”
Captain Ruoikabuti Tioon, Director of the Marine Division at MICT, commented: “The health of the ocean is of paramount importance to I-Kiribati. As a country comprising 33 islands – only 20 of which are inhabited – we are committed to safeguarding the future of the ocean, and ensuring its sustainable use.
“A complete map of the ocean floor is a necessity which will enable us to better manage the ocean, and to protect marine life. We look forward to working with the Seabed 2030 project in support of this notable endeavour.”
All data collected and shared with the Seabed 2030 Project is included in the GEBCO global grid. The gridded bathymetric data set is free and publicly available.