UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) promotes international cooperation and coordinates programmes in marine research, services, observation systems, hazard mitigation, and capacity development in order to understand and effectively manage the resources of the ocean and coastal areas. By applying this knowledge, the Commission aims to improve the governance, management, institutional capacity, and decision-making processes of its Member States with respect to marine resources and climate variability and to foster sustainable development of the marine environment, in particular in developing countries.

POGO participates as an Observer at IOC Assemblies, and has collaborated with IOC on a number of programmes, including capacity development and the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. POGO works particularly closely with the International Ocean Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme of IOC, for example on the ocean data management module at the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence.