The IOC Assembly, at its 26th Session (June – July 2011, Paris, France) established the IOC Sub-Commission for Africa and the Adjacent Island States, as a framework to improve IOC visibility to facilitate coordination among Member States in the region, and to ensure the efficient implementation of IOC programme in Africa.

The establishment of the Sub-Commission is fully in line with the African Union’s regional integration principle, and will build on the strong marine and ocean networks, as well as the sub-regional programmes and organizations. It will strengthen IOC’s presence in Africa, increase the effectiveness of its actions, and give concrete effect to the priority accorded to Africa by UNESCO. It is an important milestone in the development of marine sciences in the region, and marks a significant transformation in the way that the Commission engages with Member States from the region. An IOC Regional Office for Africa has been established at the UNESCO Nairobi Office to act as the Technical Secretariat for the Sub-Commission.

The Vision of the IOCAFRICA is: to be the voice of Africa on matters related to ocean science and the science base for ocean management, providing a unique Africa-wide platform, bringing together Member States, UN agencies and other stakeholders, to drive research, observations, and disaster preparedness and mitigation for the sustainable management of the African oceans and coastal areas.

The Mission of IOCAFRICA is to promote regional and international cooperation for the understanding and management of the African oceans and coastal ecosystems, in order to ensure sustainable development and safety of the coastal populations, taking into account the priorities of Member States from Africa

The IOCAFRICA promotes scientific research and understanding of the ocean and coastal environment and resources, and provide the science-base necessary for the development of the Blue Economy in Africa as outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 (“The Africa We want”), and the 2050 African Integrated Marine Strategic Plan of Action (AIMS2050).

IOCAFRICA has held five sessions since its establishment as follows:

  1. The Fifth session of the IOC Sub Commission for Africa and the Adjacent Island States 25–27 March 2019, United Nations Offices at Nairobi, Kenya.