Wendy Watson-Wright – Executive Secretary and Assistant Director General, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO




Wendy Watson-Wright has been Assistant Director General and Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) since January 2010. Headquartered in Paris, IOC-UNESCO is the focal point within the United Nations system for ocean science, ocean observations, ocean data and information exchange and ocean services, including global tsunami warning systems.  It is also considered the competent international organization for marine science under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


From 2001 to 2009, she was Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Science, in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in Ottawa where she was responsible for providing the leadership, and policy and scientific direction for all science activities in the department’s fifteen science institutes throughout Canada, including oceanography, hydrography, and fisheries, aquaculture, habitat, climate and aquatic ecosystem science.


She has been a member of several boards including the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science, ArcticNet and Ocean Networks Canada, and was a Canadian commissioner on the US-Canada Great Lakes Fishery Commission.


A Killam scholar, Dr. Watson-Wright holds a Ph.D. in Physiology from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


“The ocean is an integral part of our Blue planet, and an essential component of life, livelihoods and the environments that sustain us.  As such,  the concept of sustainable development makes sense only if the ocean is fully incorporated into our thinking.  I applaud the International Green Awards™ for rewarding creativity in sustainability, and encourage us all to remember that to have the green, we need the blue.”

About Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), established in 1960, promotes international cooperation and coordinates programmes in marine research, services, observation systems, hazard mitigation (notably tsunami warning systems), and capacity development in order to generate knowledge for effective management of ocean and coastal resources.  By applying this knowledge, the Commission aims to improve the governance, management, institutional capacity, and decision-making processes of its 144 Member States with respect to sustainable development of the marine environment, in particular in developing countries. Within the UN system, IOC-UNESCO is the focal point for ocean observations, science, services and data exchange, and is considered the competent international organization for marine science under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).