In March 1999, the Directors of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Southampton Oceanography Centre in the U.K., convened a planning meeting in the headquarters of the United Nations Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). This meeting confirmed the value of creating a new partnership and defined the initial mission statement and terms of reference.
Participants at the first POGO annual meeting hosted by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego
Scripps hosted the first formal meeting of POGO in early December 1999. This inaugural meeting included senior officials from 17 institutions in 12 countries (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia, UK, and US), as well as representatives of the IOC, the Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research (SCOR) of the International Council for Science (ICSU), the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and several international scientific programs. At this meeting, there was agreement on an initial work plan, including development of an advocacy plan for observing systems; participation in processes to secure governmental commitments to fund ocean observing systems; a data interchange demonstration pilot project; and establishment of a clearinghouse for information exchange among POGO members, as well as the broader community.
POGO has grown over the years, such that it now includes 37 members in 21 countries. The scope of POGO activities has also broadened, although it has maintained its original focus on ocean observations. POGO continues to work closely with its partner organisations (IOC, SCOR, GEO) and foundations (Sloan, Nippon).
At POGO-9 (Jan 2008), special awards were presented to the founders of POGO (Jesse Ausubel, Charles Kennel and Howard Roe, front row right to left)