The 20th regular MBSHC Conference was held in Bijela, Montenegro from 4 to 6 July 2017. Conference was organized by the Institute of Hydrometeorology and Seismology of Montenegro, Sector of Hydrography and Oceanography. It was attended by about 40 delegates from 18 full members of the MBSHC, some 15 representatives of several associated members, as well as director and assistant director of the International Hydrographic Organization. Representatives of other related organizations participated as observers, as well as representatives of hydrographic equipment manufacturers. The Republic of Croatia participated as a full member, represented by delegates from the Hydrographic Institute: head of delegation Vinka Kolić, acting director, and delegation member Željko Bradarić, assistant director for international cooperation.
MBSHC is the largest regional hydrographic commission, out of 16 ones established worldwide on a regional basis, for the purposes of cooperation and coordinated action of member states in common issues of hydrographic and cartographic activities in the region. Regional commissions act in accordance with the rules of the International Hydrographic Organization through their statute, and their programme is based on IHO work programmes. Realization of this programme at regional level contributes towards realization of IHO objectives at world level.
In a three-day conference work, according to a pre-defined programme and agenda, topical issues were discussed relating to three programme packages of the IHO: administrative issues, issues relating to the work and programme of working groups for technical standards, and issues of cooperation in different projects and hydrographic capacity building of members in the MBSHC region.
Each member presented its work in between two conferences (2015 - 2017) in the form of national report in a standardised format, circulated to all members 30 days before the beginning of the conference in accordance with the MBSHC Statute.
Besides active participation in the conference, Croatian delegation organized and took part in several additional meetings, which dealt with different organizational-technical and administrative-financial issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. An important meeting was held with representatives of the Italian hydrographic office to discuss new proposals for solving the problem of ENC overlap, as well as the final version of draft bilateral agreement between the two hydrographic offices. Another important meeting took place with representatives of the British hydrographic office on current issues arising from the applicable bilateral agreement. With representatives of Montenegro opinions were exchanged and progress estimated on the joint project “CORE”, funded from the EU/IPA programme, Component II, Measure 1.1. Joint measures for the protection of environment, nature and cultural heritage. Further planning activities were agreed in the potential joint project of hydrographic survey to be financed from the donation given by the Kingdom of Norway.
On the last conference day, a number of MBSHC activities and decisions were drafted, to be implemented by its members under the guidance of Italy, which has assumed the MBSHC presidency in the next two-year period. Croatia, besides Spain, Slovenia and Tunisia, has offered to host the 21st MBSHC Conference, scheduled for 18 - 20 June 2019.