Jacques Cousteau coastal and marine observatory

Two marine observatories bearing the name of Jacques Cousteau have been established in Mexico in 2009 :

The first branch opened in June 2009 in La Paz (Baja California), at the Center for Scientific Research from the north-east Mexico (CIBNOR)

• The second branch opened in November 2009, in Merida (Yucatán), located in the Research and Advanced Studies Center of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV)

These observatories aim to become a key element in coastal management in Mexico by monitoring the changes of the local ecosystems with particular attention to climate change impacts.

Conceived by Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, and by France, in the framework of Franco-Mexican agreement of cooperation signed during the visit of President Sarkozy, the project is actively supported by the Embassy of France in Mexico and the association of Mexican entrepreneurs Mares de Mexico under the leadership of Nobel laureate Mario Molina.

The observatories will unite work of French and Mexican prestigious scientific institutions :

• In Mexico : The CIBNOR (Center for Scientific Research from the north-east Mexico), the CINVESTAV (Research and Advanced Studies Center of the National Polytechnic Institute), the CIIEMAD (Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Studies on Environment and Development) and the UABC (Autonomous University of Baja California).

• In France : IRD (Institute for Research and Development), IFREMER (French Institute for Research and Exploitation of the Sea) and UBO (University of Bretagne Occidentale).

The Jacques Cousteau observatories’ objective is to follow changes in the coastal and marine environment by defining biological, physico-chemical and socio-economical indicators. The observatories’ mission is also to inform and educate.
With the establishment of these two branches, the observatory takes on a national scale and will help define environmental public policies. The two branches signal a global “first” in bilateral cooperation aimed at monitoring the changes in marine environment that are true world heritages and very much exposed to threats of climate change.