The IHO Assembly meets every three years gathering Member States of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to discuss new developments in technical standards and agree on resolutions to guide activities. The 3rd Session of the Assembly was held in Monaco from 1 to 5 May 2023 to gather representatives of 98 Member States.
The IHO Assembly was opened by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. Keynote speakers included: Dr Heike Deggim, Director of Maritime Safety Division of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Dr Kerri-Ann Jones, Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, and Dr Vladimir Ryabinin from the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC).
Key topic of the Assembly was implementation of the new standard S-100 Universal Hydrographic Data Model, which will be the basis for development of the IMO e-navigation concept.
In this respect, implementation of the S-100 model not only obliges hydrographic offices to produce new generation of electronic navigational charts from S-57 to S-101 format, but concerns transformation ad digitalization of entire maritime sector, including the production of other S-100 models. Implementation of the S-100 model will start as of 1 January 2026, to become fully applicable as of 1 January 2030.
The Assembly also discussed the future of paper nautical charts as well as the roadmap for the S-100 implementation, which would ensure a transition to digital data systems. Member States took many decisions relevant to the work of the IHO, adopted the activity plan and the financial plan for a period of three years (2024–2026), as well as the activity report and the financial statement for the preceding period.
On the last day of Assembly, Member States elected the next Secretary-General and a Director, two key positions which guide the direction and activities of the Organization. German candidate Dr Mathias Jonas, who currently occupies the position of Secretary-General, was elected to the position of Secretary-General for the next three-year period. Candidate of the USA Dr John Nyberg was elected to the position of one of IHO Directors for the next six-year period.
The Republic of Croatia, as a full member, actively participated in the work of the 3rd Session of the Assembly. Croatia was represented by the HHI Director Vinka Kolić, who is also Chair of the IHO regional Mediterranean and Black Seas Hydrographic Commission (MBSHC). In this capacity, the HHI Director presented the work of the MBSHC in the period 2020–-2023.
The 3rd Session also included an event under the project “Empowering Women in Hydrography (EWH)”. This project is a global effort led by the IHO and Canada that seeks to initiate, organize and track a series of activities and initiatives which will enable more women to participate equitably in the field of hydrography and to assume leadership roles within the hydrographic community.
Member State and Industry Exhibitions were held during the Assembly. The theme of the Member State Exhibition was "Mapping the marine environment in the Ocean Decade", which highlighted how mapping the ocean can contribute to its sustainable use. The Industry Exhibition showcased technology and expertise from around the world.
The next Session of the IHO Assembly is scheduled for 2026. During the inter-Assembly period, activities will be coordinated by the IHO Council, with Croatia for the first time in history taking a seat as permanent member, as confirmed at the Session by the decision agreed between Member States.
Read more about topics of the 3rd Session of the IHO Assembly on the following link: https://iho.int/en/iho-assembly