POGO External Review

In 2023, an External Review Panel has been appointed by the POGO Board of Trustees to conduct the first formal review of POGO’s performance, with support from the POGO Secretariat, Board of Trustees and wider membership. The Terms of Reference and other relevant documentation can be downloaded here, and the findings will be made available in due course.

The Review Panel will consist of the following experts, who were selected to represent a range of POGO stakeholders including the marine science community (POGO members and non-members), representatives of other international or regional organisations, and other stakeholders from outside the scientific community. Care was also taken to select members from a broad geographical range, reflecting the global scope of POGO.

The panel members are:


Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright (Canada)

Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright is Vice Chair of the United Nations Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a science-policy body established in 1969 to advise the UN system on marine environmental issues.  She was the first and to date only woman to serve as Executive Secretary and Assistant Director General of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) in Paris from 2010 to 2015. Prior to retiring in 2019, she was the inaugural CEO of the Atlantic Canadian-led Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), during which time she was also a trustee of POGO.  She is an invited member of the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action and an honorary lifetime member of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (Canada). For most of her career, Dr. Watson-Wright held various senior positions within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, including eight years as Assistant Deputy Minister, Science.  She sits on several boards including those of the International Ocean Institute and World Ocean Observatory and has been a member or chair of numerous review panels.  A Killam scholar, she holds a PhD in Physiology from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.  

Panel Members

Dr. Elva Escobar Briones (Mexico)

Dr Elva Escobar is a senior full-time professor in oceanography at UNAM’s Institute for Marine Sciences and Limnology. She is a specialist in Mexican deep-sea ecosystems and its biodiversity, information that is used to support the design of areas for conservation. She conducts her research onboard UNAM’s research vessels where she contributes with capacity development, collects data on the structure and function of the deep seafloor ecosystems, information that is available in open access format at the institutional database and specimens accessible in the scientific reference collection. She co-leads the IOCARIBE Western Tropical Atlantic Regional Capacity Development Working Group and directs the Capacity building and Ocean Literacy projects endorsed by the UN Ocean Decade.

Dr. Grinson George (India)

Dr. Grinson George is Principal Scientist at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi since 2018 and presently serving as Head of Marine Biodiversity and Environment Management Division.

Previously, he worked as Senior Programme Specialist (Fisheries), SAARC Agriculture Centre, Dhaka on deputation during 2020-2023 and also worked as Scientist for seven years at Central Island Agricultural Research Institute, Port Blair with additional responsibilities as honorary coordinator CPR Environmental foundation and Julliete Massey Honorary fellow of World Aquaculture Society. Dr. Grinson taught fisheries science for one academic year (2003) in the Republic of Maldives.

Dr. Grinson was a recipient of the Dr. Rajendra Prasad Puraskar national award in 2010 for the best book in agriculture and allied sectors by ICAR. He was awarded the Dr. Hiralal Chaudhury prize and the Dr. Kulkarni award at CIFE, Mumbai for his research accomplishments. He is the recipient of merit fellowships for graduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes. There are fifteen best paper/poster awards to his credit in various conferences and symposiums. He received academic grants of more than ₹100 million as research grants from all major national funding agencies. He served as the member of board of studies in environmental sciences of KUFOS, Kerala. On his expertise and global appreciation of works, he was provided six foreign travel grants by various global funding agencies to visit United Kingdom, China, Thailand, Italy, France and Australia. He has published more than 130 articles with 80 peer reviewed high impact research papers, 6 books, 10 edited books, 22 book chapters and more than 100 conference abstracts.

Steve Hall (UK)

Steve Hall is an independent consultant working in ocean science, technology, defence and policy.  He is a Chartered Marine Scientist & Fellow of IMarEST, a Fellow of the Society for Underwater Technology, and an elected Member of the Board of the Marine Technology Society, as well as a member of SAMS & the Challenger Society. Steve has over three decades experience including being former leader of the UK delegation to UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, & being elected as vice-chair of IOC 2015-17.

He worked 27 years for the Natural Environment Research Council, where his roles included seagoing tracer chemistry analysis, managing AUV science missions, enhancing tsunami warning systems, leading the NOC international office, and writing policy responses, position papers & drafting minister’s responses on a wide range of ocean subjects.

Steve left the public sector in 2017 to become CEO of the Society for Underwater Technology, later CEO at Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum & Marine Energy Wales, before moving into freelance consultancy. His main client is the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 project where he leads on partnerships with industry, he also works on UN Ocean Decade-related projects, advice to industry clients, and support for ocean Learned Societies, Charities and Professional Bodies.

Dr. Juliet Hermes (South Africa)

Dr Juliet Hermes leads a team focusing on observations, modelling and research of the marine environment around southern Africa as part of the National Research Foundation’s South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON). In addition Juliet manages the South African Polar Research Infrastructure and is a Professor at the University of Cape Town and the Nelson Mandela University. She has significant experience with developing and managing national, regional and international multidisciplinary, ocean observations. Her passion is in fostering regional and international collaborations as well as capacity development. Juliet focuses attention on development through ensuring knowledge generation and sharing, as well as growing a diverse cohort of marine scientists. 

Juliet is currently part of the African Task Force for implementing the Ocean Decade and chairs the CLIVAR Indian Ocean Regional Panel, and the Indian Ocean Rim Association Academic Group. Her work through these and her involvement in GEO Blue Planet, GCOS and the African Group Negotiators Experts Support she has gained experience in working with policy. She supports global ocean observing systems through the GOOS Observation Coordination Group, as well as their standards and best practices through the IOC/GOOS Ocean Best Practices Group.   

Prof. Howard Roe (UK)

Professor Emeritus Howard Stanley James Roe BSc, DSc, was Director of Southampton Oceanography Centre 1999-2005 (now the National Oceanography Centre), and Professor at Southampton University 2000-2005 (now Professor Emeritus). He has over 50 years’ research experience in marine science with particular interest in whales, biological oceanography; integrating biological distributions and physical oceanography and developing sampling methods. He has participated in 27 research cruises and is author of >100 papers, reports, books.

Prof Roe has been a participant in many international and national committees and boards including coordinating the development of SOC, chairing the build of RRS James Cook and co-founder and chair of POGO.

In retirement, he chaired a science audit of CEFAS; served as a non-executive member on the UK Marine Science Coordination Committee; was a research assessor for several international Universities and programmes; and was a delegate for the UKOT’s at ICCAT Commission meetings.

He has been involved in conservation of the Sargasso Sea since 2010; as chair of the science advisory committee for the Sargasso Sea Alliance Executive, as first chair of the Sargasso Sea Commission, and a Commissioner from 2015 to 2022.

Background documents

The reports and other resources used by the review panel are available here (password protected):


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