The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project is pleased to announce its newest partnership with the Nordic Hydrographic Commission (NHC). This significant memorandum of understanding (MOU), entered into at the NHC’s annual meeting in Sweden, marks the first time a Regional Hydrographic Commission has formally aligned with Seabed 2030, heralding a significant boost in the project’s mission of delivering a definitive map of the ocean floor by the end of the decade.

Established in 1929 in Stockholm, Sweden, the NHC comprises the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, with its overarching aim being the harmonisation of Nordic practices with regard to hydrographic issues. One of 15 Regional Hydrographic Commissions – all of which contribute to the International Hydrographic Organization’s (IHO) work – the NHC has become the first ever to sign up to the Seabed 2030 project.

Seabed 2030 is a collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), which seeks to inspire the complete mapping of the world’s ocean by 2030, and to compile all the data into the freely available GEBCO Ocean Map. The Project is formally endorsed as a Decade Action of the UN Ocean Decade. GEBCO is a joint programme of the IHO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and is the only organisation with a mandate to map the entire ocean floor.

The MOU represents a strengthened collaboration between the NHC and Seabed 2030. It builds on the foundations of support already established through data contributions from respective Commission Member States via EMODNet, which itself is an official Seabed 2030 partner.

The signing ceremony was attended by Seabed 2030 Project Director Jamie McMichael-Phillips, who travelled from Barcelona – where he was attending the UN Ocean Decade conference – to participate in the momentous occasion. McMichael-Phillips said: “This collaboration with the Nordic Hydrographic Commission is a monumental step forward in our collective journey towards understanding and ensuring the sustainable use of the ocean.

“We are delighted to welcome NHC as an official partner, and hope this partnership paves the way for more Regional Hydrographic Commissions to join.”

Magnus Walhagen, chair of the Nordic Hydrographic Commission, said: “This partnership is a testament to the Nordic Hydrographic Commission’s commitment to collaborative working in support of global oceanic exploration and conservation. Our united efforts will undoubtedly accelerate progress towards achieving a fully mapped ocean floor.”

All data collected and shared with the Seabed 2030 project is included in the free and publicly available GEBCO global grid.