Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships (IWG-OP)

The Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships (IWG-OP) advises and assists the Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST) on matters related to ocean partnership programs, a continuation and expansion of the partnership efforts begun under NOPP. IWG-OP membership reflects that of the SOST and meetings are monthly.

The IWG-OP focuses on those objectives felt to be too big for any single agency, which cut across multiple missions, or require government-private-academic partnerships for success.

The topic of biodiversity has many applications for U.S. agencies but biodiversity is a topic too large for any one U.S. agency to take on itself. The Biodiversity Ad Hoc Group was formed as a sub-group of the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships in 2008. The Biodiversity Ad Hoc Group meets quarterly and is composed of federal agency representatives that strive to identify common ground, plan future steps and initiate partnership activities. Current topics of interest include biodiversity technology and science, biodiversity metrics, indices and proxies, applications and data sharing, and international conventions and frameworks.

The Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships formed a second Ad Hoc Group in 2010 to address renewable ocean energy issues within the Federal community. The Federal Renewable Ocean Energy Working Group meets quarterly to discuss ways to advance science and policy in support of environmentally responsible development of ocean renewable energy resources. Examples of topics of interest include developing polices and guidance for coordinated, responsible and efficient review of permits, licenses and leases; in addition, data sharing coordination between agencies and outreach to stakeholders are top priorities.

Additionally, in 2012, according to the directives of Public Law 111-11, the Task Force on Ocean Exploration and Undersea Research Technology (TFORT) was established under the IWG-OP framework.  The purpose of the TFORT is to advise, assist, and make recommendations to the IWG-OP on policies, procedures, plans, and activities related to ocean exploration and undersea research technology and infrastructure.

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