GRA Governance Types

There can be a variety of reasons to form a consortium of countries or institutions to collaborate on building an ocean observing system. Curiously, of the GRAs, only three are easily defined just by the water body they serve (Indian Ocean GOOS; Black Sea GOOS and; MONGOOS). Most are based on shared issues and needs. Political consortiums and National Systems are used to gain political support and argue for sustainability of the OOS (EuroGOOS; GRASP; GOOS-Africa; SEA-GOOS; USA-IOOS and IMOS). Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have their own needs (PI-GOOS and IOCARIBE GOOS), while several other GRAs define themselves through shared programmes for Buoy arrays (OCEATLAN), or database integration (NEARGOOS).
GRAs are formed by agreement between participating countries, national organizations, and/or international bodies (e.g., regional monitoring networks). Membership is chosen to best serve the data and information needs of the organizations that use, depend on, or are responsible for the management of the marine environment and its resources in the region..

Table 1 summarizes the various structures of the GRAs, along with the types of entities each GRA represents.

 Table 1. GRA Structures and Entities

StructureInter-governmentalGovernment, Non-Governmental Organizations, InstitutionsIOC Sub-commissionsNational Marine Agencies
Political ConsortiumGRASPEuroGOOSGOOS AfricaSEAGOOS 
Basins and RegionsBlack Sea GOOSIOGOOSMONGOOS  
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) PI-GOOSIOCARIBE-GOOS 
National Systems   U.S. IOOSIMOS

GRA Success Story: Ocean Science & Small Island Developing States

Small Island Developing States (August 2014) as designated by UNESCO and UN-OHRLLS. Click image to enlarge.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have vulnerable “blue economies,” where most livelihoods rely directly on ocean resources. An article published on SciDevNet – written by Sarah Grimes with contributions from several GRAs – explores how cooperative ocean monitoring can help SIDS to manage their marine environments based on the best science available.

How GOOS is contributing:

  • SIDS are rich in marine resources but lack oceanographic data
  • Better ocean data management can help protect livelihoods and benefit economies
  • Monitoring is expensive – SIDS need help with finance and capacity building
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