About POGO

What is POGO?


Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean, POGO, is a forum created in 1999 by directors and leaders of major oceanographic institutions around the world to promote global ocean observing. Of particular focus is the implementation of an international and integrated global ocean observing system. POGO is a partnership of institutions involved in oceanographic observations, scientific research, operational services, education and training. POGO has 48 member institutes, including two consortia, from 28 different countries, and  works closely with other international and regional programmes and organisations.

As the scale of these activities becomes global, there is an increasing value in coordination among the institutions involved. Through joint planning and exchange of information, the community can make better use of the limited resources available. POGO does not set scientific goals, but focuses attention on implementation issues such as technical compatibility among observing networks; shared use of infrastructure; and on public outreach and capacity building.


Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean is a charitable incorporated organisation registered and regulated by the Charity Commission of England and Wales, No 1171692


POGO's Mission

POGO’s Mission is to:
1. Lead innovation and development of the crucial components of the ocean observing system.
2. Identify and contribute to the development of the key skills, capabilities and capacities needed to achieve the vision.
3. Work with Governments, Foundations and Industry, to articulate the benefits to society and required funding to build and sustain the system.
Our vision is to have by 2030, world-wide cooperation for a sustainable, state-of-the-art global ocean observing system that serves the needs of science and society.

Who is POGO?


Click on the links below to read about the institutions and people that are involved in POGO:


Board of Trustees


- News & Information Group 

- POGO Secretariat



What has POGO achieved?


POGO's successes have been several and far-reaching. A few of these are highlighted below. A comprehensive list of programmes that POGO has helped to establish can be accessed here.


In its Sao Paulo declaration of 2001, POGO drew attention to the world imbalance between Northern and Southern Hemispheres in the capacity to observe the ocean, recommending immediate action to enhance such capacity in developing countries. The result was establishment by POGO of a capacity-building programme. In the Sao Paulo declaration, POGO also underlined the relative paucity of ocean observations in the Southern Hemisphere compared with the Northern Hemisphere and called for intensification of observing in the Southern Hemisphere. A direct response was made by POGO member JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology), which organised, at quite short notice, a circumnavigation of the Southern Hemisphere, the BEAGLE Expedition. It was an excellent example of a direct and significant action resulting from a public statement of POGO.


Around the time POGO was being started, the Argo programme was also beginning. One of the first crusades of POGO was to throw the collective weight of its members behind the world expansion of Argo. A collaboration among 50 research and operational agencies from 26 countries, Argo now has charge of more than 3,000 floats around the world’s ocean. Because the members of POGO are directors with the power to commit resources and influence decision makers, a resolution to accord full support to Argo had immediate effect, and the distribution of floats around the world ocean improved rapidly. This was an instance in which direct action by POGO had a profound effect on enhancing the ocean observing system.


POGO member institutions have been driving the establishment of OceanSITES, a network of deep-ocean, multi-disciplinary time-series reference sites, measuring many variables and monitoring the full depth of the ocean from the surface down to 5,000 metres. This network comprises about 30 surface and 30 sub-surface arrays. At its 2011 meeting in Seoul, POGO’s directors decided to give immediate priority to increasing support for OceanSITES. They also agreed to encourage all OceanSITES parties to maintain a minimum set of common measurements. OceanSITES moorings are integral to the Global Ocean Observing System, as they complement satellite imagery and Argo float data by adding time and depth, and by expanding what is observed.


The POGO Secretariat and POGO member institutions contributed significantly to OceanObs'09 in Venice in 2009, and POGO was able to lobby successfully to open up sustained ocean observations to a broader community, including chemical, biological and biogeochemical observations. POGO also contributed in an important manner to the post-Venice Framework for Ocean Observations.


POGO has been a participating organisation in the Group on Earth Observations since its inception in 2005. GEO is an intergovernmental body concerned with the societal benefits of observing the Earth, either in situ or through remote sensing. POGO has lobbied strenuously to stimulate greater prominence for oceans within GEO, first as founding member of Oceans United, which brings together many of the international organisations concerned with oceans to speak with a common voice, and more recently through the creation of the GEO Task “Oceans and Society: Blue Planet”.





A comprehensive list of programmes that POGO has helped to establish can be accessed here.



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Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean is a charitable incorporated organisation registered and regulated by the Charity Commission of England and Wales, No 1171692