Paul Holthus has been advancing ocean business, investment and sustainable development since the 1990’s and launched the World Ocean Council (WOC) in 2009. As the global Blue Economy Business and Investment Organization, the WOC brings together shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, offshore energy, investors and others in the international business alliance to create leadership, collaboration and action on “Corporate Ocean Responsibility”.
The WOC includes a global network of 35,000+ ocean industry stakeholders, the Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) - the only annual gathering of the global ocean business community on sustainability and the Global Blue Finance Summit (BlueFIN). The WOC work program advances action on the key global ocean sustainable development and ocean, climate and biodiversity challenges and opportunities facing business. In 2011, he launched the WOC SMART Ocean-SMART Industries program, which is expanding ocean industry efforts to host or deploy instruments that collect ocean and climate data from commercial vessels, platforms and cables.
Paul is a frequent speaker at international ocean, industry, sustainability and investment events. He was one of 5 people invited to be a member of the UN Secretary General’s Expert Group on Oceans for the 2012 Rio+20 conference. He is the first international ocean industry organization representative invited to address the UN General Assembly.
Mr Holthus has worked on ocean, coastal and island sustainable development for over 40 years and in over 30 countries - working with UN agencies, companies, communities, industry associations, international non-governmental organisations and foundations. He has held senior positions with UNEP, IUCN, The Nature Conservancy and other international environmental organisations.
Paul is a graduate of the University of California and University of Hawaii, was a Fulbright scholar in Australia and is an East-West Center alum.
IONA Athanasia (Sissy), Physical Oceanographer, PhD in Physical Oceanography, M.Sc. in Physical Oceanography, and B.Sc. in Physics. Since 2008, Head of the Hellenic National Oceanographic Data Centre (HNODC) of the Institute of Oceanography, HCMR. More than 25 years of experience in marine data management. Participation in a numerous of National, EU and International Projects (as scientific coordinator in EMODnet Data Ingestion 2016-2019 and 2019-2021, 2022-2024, EMODnet Chemistry as Mediterranean eutrophication products leader, EMODnet Bathymetry as regional leader for the Eastern Mediterranean bathymetry generation, Blue-Cloud 2026, SeaDataCloud, SeaDataNet I and II, ODIP 1 and 2, BlackSeaSCENE Upgrade, CaspInfo) - with more than 100 publications in international scientific journals (20 peer-reviewed articles), conferences, and editions. From 2009-2017, Coordinator of the Data Management Programme Area of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)-IOC Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) and Chair of the JCOMM Data Management Coordination Group. From 2011-2015, Co-Chair of the UNESCO/IOC Programme on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE). Since 2008, National Coordinator for Oceanographic Data Management in the IOC's IODE Committee.
Dr. Gerben J. de Boer has over 20 years of experience in marine and coastal information systems. After graduating as a hydraulic engineer, he obtained his PhD in coastal oceanography from Delft University of Technology. For 12 years, he worked at research institute Deltares as an expert consultant on remote sensing, 3D numerical modelling and data management. Funded by the Dutch Building with Nature consortium, he co-founded the OpenEarth community to spread the use of open standards, open source tools to enable multidisciplinary data sharing. 2010-2015 he was a member of the MODEG marine data export group to the European Commission that advised on EMODnet; currently he is member of the successor expert group MKEG from an industry perspective. In 2014, Gerben joined Van Oord, a marine contractor for offshore energy, dredging and coastal climate adaptation. At Van Oord he established the Datalab, which he grew to an internal department of 20 FTE that develops innovative apps to turn data into value. Since 2023 he is R&D and innovation manager at Van Oord.